Thursday, August 26, 2010

Planning for Winter

As Tango Zulu Imports' first summer draws to a close, we're largely focused on how to thrive over the winter in a town that depends largely on summer traffic.

We continue to grow our online business. As in our storefront, Bolga baskets have turned into a major attraction on our online store as well. Our e-commerce sales have increased by double digits every month since we've been open. Most of our energy for the past four months has been directed toward the storefront, but now that it's sailing along we're beginning to spend more time on improving our web presence. We're making a concerted effort to get more of our products on the website, improve its aesthetics and performance, and increase our brand name awareness. We also just instituted free shipping for orders over $100, good throughout the U.S., and will be running various specials in the coming months.

We need to reach more local people. We made a decision early on to keep prices at North Kitsap levels, as opposed to tourist levels. This has paid off with both repeat local customers and happy tourists who have sometimes turned into internet customers. It also allows me to continually freshen inventory because it's priced to move quickly. There is still much to be done with marketing. I'm aware that A LOT of locals don't know we're here. Just about every day someone who lives nearby will come in who had no idea we existed until they walked by. I can't wait for the whole county to walk in through the door and discover all the things we have! We've selectively run print and web ads with Sound Publishing (our marketing dollars are scarce), and will hold some special events in the coming months. Word of mouth is helping as well, as is old-fashioned networking on top of the Facebook type, and we're a member of the very active Kingston Chamber of Commerce. The real test of how well we've done with building a local base will come in those cold, dreary months after the holidays.

The summer has been good, but it'll be interesting to see where we are in another four months!