On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. As a result, Amazing Stories owner Jeff Kocur and his team close the doors within two weeks. Other than a few curbside sales each day, painstakingly managed manually over the phone and through their Facebook page, the retail store had no way to make its thousands of in-store products available to customers.
Discover how they leaped to digitally transform their brick-and-mortar businesses with the help of a trusted local expert using our platform.
The Journey to eCommerce
Jeff Kocur’s love of pop culture began early on in his life. Comics were always a considerable interest and taught him how to read. In addition, he formed connections with the characters within the illustrated pages. In August of 1993, Kocur turned his passion into a way of earning a living and supporting his family.
He opened Amazing Stories and has served the community in Saskatoon, Canada, for nearly three decades since. The filled store’s shelves with comics, action figures, games, and sought-after pop culture memorabilia. Over the years, the team at Amazing Stories has built personal relationships with customers; those strong connections often become exciting and honest conversations.
“People are passionate about their hobbies, the comics, the toys, and all that. So they’ll tell you all about the websites they go to and shop at, so you’re aware. Even the people that shop with us today are all shopping online as well,” Kocur says.
“Getting an eCommerce website set up was always in the back of our brains,” says Amazing Stories Media Expert Jody Cason. She explains that the team always said, “‘one of these days we need to get off our butts and do this, but it never happened … and then it HAD to happen.”
Turning to a Trusted Expert
With the challenge of figuring out how to launch an online store and no idea where to begin, Jeff turned to digital marketing experts in their area for answers.
“We got a local agency to help us, and basically, they held our hand and showed us everything. There was a lot to do – from entering inventory to social media,” Kocur says.
Working closely with Jeff and his team to identify areas that immediately get Amazing Stories selling online. Using our Marketing Report Card will kick off the process with an in-depth review and an analysis of the business’s digital footprint.
Once the assessment was complete, a digital strategy created helps this small business client:
- Give customers the ability to shop and complete transactions securely online
- Arm staff with the tools to track and fulfill online orders
- Control the accuracy and location of where the business is listed online
- View and respond to customer reviews coming in from multiple sources
- Track and assess the success of all new eCommerce and digital marketing efforts
What Services Deployed
A fast, secure, and beautiful WordPress website: Our Express version comes with e-commerce templates and integration with WooCommerce.
A social media marketing tool that made it easier to create posts grow their audience, and measure efforts.
To get found on local search and listing information with our Listing Builder. With a few clicks, they can instantly update their business information across multiple sources.
They are taking control of their online reputation, quickly responding to reviews, and gaining access to customer insights.
Our WKGBA Business App provided a single-sign-on dashboard connecting all of the eCommerce and digital marketing solutions in a one-stop shop with proof of performance reporting.
Coaching sessions helped Amazing Stories get off the ground. Then, through monthly check-ins to review how everything was performing, they were on the way to success with a new revenue stream.
Holy Inventory, Batman!
With a brand-new website up and ready to go, Kocur now faced the challenge of loading thousands of product inventory items on the website.
They began by focusing on items they knew would sell quickly and continued to increase the number of items listed online daily. The eCommerce store also added a secure payment feature for pre-ordered items.
“We used to write down pre-order requests on paper, and Jeff physically would make a significant investment to bring in new release products, never knowing what the true demand was going to be,” Cason says. “Having the website for pre-orders has changed how we order inventory. We know exactly what to get and what the actual demand is going to be. That’s huge for us.”
Online Sales Save the Day
“There are days when we come to work, and there are a bunch of sold items we must pull from shelves and prepare for pickup or shipping. It is keeping our staff very busy. We’re going to be hiring another person to start doing orders,” Kocur says.
Amazing Stories grossed more than $135,000 in online sales revenue in less than a year. “That $135,000 brings us up to about 15 percent of our total sales, which is amazing. I mean, we’ve gone from zero to this,” Kocur says.
Amazing Stories has a clear business strategy to guide them through this next phase of eCommerce. But, first, they believe eCommerce sales will continue to climb.
“It’s possible as a small business to compete against the big box stores. If you have the right marriage of technology and expertise, I believe you can compete,” Kocur says.
If you are looking for a concrete business and marketing strategy, contact us today for a marketing consultation.