8 replies
This morning I learned that a nice person is about to go out of business.

She runs a horse tack shop in the middle of the countryside. There's quite a large horsey community in the area.

The trouble is that she can't compete with online prices. She has even had people haggle with her over items that only are £3-£4.

This morning I went in and her daughter was behind the counter. Apparently, the owner is in hospital. The things I needed were not there and when I asked the daughter about them, she told me that they did not have the money to restock.

I'm actually feeling quite sick about it.

I asked the daughter if I could build them a website and try to help them in that way. At the moment they have nothing on the internet at all.

I don't do offline and I don't have many ideas. Whatever I implement has got to be simple enough for them to carry on with after I have finished. I will obviously support them afterwards but I have my own business to run. They aren't technically minded at all. The owner struggles to use an iphone.

I was thinking of a simple wordpress site for now, with a page about the shop, opening hours etc, and posting about the shop on horsey fb pages.

Whatever I do needs to be cheap and simple. I won't be making any money out of this at all but I don't mind spending a few quid to help them out.

Have any of you lovely people got any better ideas?
  • Profile picture of the author Mohsin Rasool
    So nice of you my friend!

    Technology and skill have made us to be able to impact so many lives!

    Well done! You plan is simple and awesome.

    Simple clean WP site, own FB page with updates.... good start.

    Also do a Google local listing for the business

    If you need any help with the site, let me know, we will be happy to assist.
    We can make it on Genesis framework, with simple theme. So site is speedy
    and secure and easy to manage onward.

    Wishing you best of luck,
    You make us proud being Warriors
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    • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
      Whereabouts are you and this shop? Do they do any marketing at all or have they just been reliant upon locals always needing a physical location which unfortunately is no longer the case.

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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Honestly, ebay could be a great answer for them and its simple.

    In the wallpaper industry a few years back, the trend went toward people buying out of catalogs instead of off the shelf, and wallpaper retail stores who stocked product were going out of biz left and right. People were going to lowes and home depot, ordering out of catalogs, or online.

    I built my friend an ebay site and taught his staff how to run it, so he could capitalize on the "online" market...and now it makes ten grand per month on average, and has done up to 16 grand on some months.

    This may work for your friend and also allow them to drop ship when they cant afford to pay for products in advance. May even position them to be able to stock again after a few months.

    Would DEFINITELY expand their market beyond just the country side.

    Sorry to hear of their troubles. Ebay can be a reliable, workable, simple , effective solution.


    Ps. Also a mailing list could help, of their existing customers and also the ones they get off ebay. This way they can stay in front of them, and always be putting deals out to their customers, making suggestions before the customers even have a chance to LOOK anywhere else.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jacer
      If they don't have money to restock, they have more problems than any website would be able to solve. Sounds like a major cash flow issue. They are either taking out too much cash or sales are so low that they can't even cover overhead.

      I have seen some businesses pull out of a tailspin like this, but not many. I would suggest immediately leveraging the customer list for traffic/sales. If you care this much about the business, hopefully the rest of the customers do to.

      Also, pick up a copy of Magnetic Marketing by Dan Kennedy. If they are serious and take his training to heart, this will solve the price haggling issues. Things like price and loyalty will never be an issue for them again.
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    • Profile picture of the author Face Cap
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      Honestly, ebay could be a great answer for them and its simple.

      I think you are absolutely right
      $100 Premium Course Leaked: The smartest strategy to get consistent job offers as a Freelance Web Developers
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  • There has been online shopping for over 15 years. Have they built a customer list, partnered with other local businesses, offered educational seminars, offered unique products, used all their co-op dollars, etc.? I know local tack shops (even in the middle of urban areas) that are thriving. I don't know your friend, but there is a good chance they haven't done enough to change and grow for years before this happened.

    A good way to improve profit is to offer extra services like tack repair, fitting saddles, farrier supply and blanket washing.
    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    Not affiliate link.

    I checked this out for you, and here is just ONE example... these guys have only been on ebay for 3 years... and they are only ONE tack supply seller on ebay, out of many.

    They have over 3,000 feedback... which means they probably have thousands of customers, which is more than your friend probably ever had in their stores best days...

    I would bet many are repeat customers too. If they had all their ebay customers on a mailing list, do you know how powerful that would be? These arent just impulse buyers- they NEED this stuff, and they need to replace supplies frequently, which is probably how your friend was able to stay in business in such a small local market.

    An ebay site is NOTHING to start. A twelve year old could do it!

    CURB CHAINS STRAPS, REINS items in stockyardsaddlery store on eBay!

    You dont have to stock products to be on ebay, you can drop ship. It literally saved my friends store, or else I wouldnt be so passionate about telling you.

    Hope it helps. It's good advice if they apply it. If you offer physical products then ebay will work. If there is a market for your product, then you can make sales on ebay without a degree in marketing.

    Even the listing fees themselves can be covered by your shipping charges.

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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Solem
    Looks like eBay might be the best possibility for trying to keep the business alive, but as others mentioned if they've done nothing to stand out from the competition until this point, it's going to be an uphill battle to start now.

    I never did read the book, but you really do need to "Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty"

    Good luck though and I hope you find some way to help them out!
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