With basic, custom and mobile options, dealers can have it all
By Matthew Spieler
Volume 26/Number 26; May 13/20, 2013
Dalton—With 97% of consumers going online to research local products or services, Inter-net presence is more important than ever. Unfortunately, the web is still a scary place for many businesses, especially smaller operations.
But for any dealer doing business with Shaw, using the Internet does not have to be a daunting experience. In 2010, the company introduced its Shaw Web Studio (SWS) package of web products and has continually expanded and improved upon the system to keep up with technological advances and retailer needs. The most recent edition was launched May 15.
SWS offers dealers of all sizes the opportunity to have a consumer-friendly website that also includes a free mobile-friendly site. Furthermore, Shaw guarantees the site will have a high search engine ranking.
Misty Hodge, Shaw’s digital marketing manager, said SWS now offers 28 website templates as well as complete custom solutions for more advanced retailers. (Shaw aligned dealers have access to additional templates.) For those who already have a site and are happy with it, Shaw can still integrate its electronic product catalog, for example, which is regularly updated with all Shaw’s products. The catalog is maintenance free yet customizable so each dealer can include specific products carried.
“We have dealers across the spectrum—some have no presence, some already have very sophisticated websites and many are in between. SWS comes out of the box ready to go for any Shaw retailer, no matter his level of web experience.”
What makes SWS different from other company-run websites, she noted, is it is not exclusive to Shaw products. “A dealer can showcase all his products and brands with unlimited SKUs. We know retailers carry multiple brands so we partnered with Creating Your Space, a neutral third party that controls the various product catalogs. Shaw doesn’t see any competitors’ info. We knew this would be a concern so we took it off the table by having someone else manage it.”
Hodge said Shaw continues to expand SWS because of the success from those who have already taken it on.
For example, one Northeast dealer recently promoted his President’s Day sale strictly through his SWS website. Where he normally saw eight to 10 first-time customers, this year 35 new potential buyers walked into his store. Sixty-one percent of dealers who have taken on SWS report increased business, with 45% saying they have seen greater than 25% growth in net sales.
“We always ask anyone who comes in how they found us, and the website has really paid off,” said Doug Stone of Carpet Gallery in Hagerstown, Md. “Many people like how we have all the products online.”
He added SWS is very user friendly. “We can add or modify if and when we want.” And because Shaw is constantly updating features to make it easier for people to find his store, “it is very convenient for those not focusing on web design but on selling floor covering.”
Shannon Potter of Sterling Carpet Shops in Sterling, Va., agreed, saying Shaw made her transition from the store’s old site to its new one simple. “Shaw took the info we had and presented it in a more elegant manner and also made us easier to find.”
Stone said one more thing he appreciates about SWS is that Shaw “continues to expand the program and it’s very affordable. The online world is not fully tapped and this has allowed us to better educate our customers and gives us more qualified leads.”
To learn more about SWS, call 888.742.9932 or visit shawwebstudio.com