Houseware, Cutlery, Glassware and Silverware
In the wrong hands, the internet can be the victim of its own success. No single innovation has created for the consumer such immediacy, choice, variety or expectation.
Our expectations were once simple. If it wasn't on the shelf, then it wasn't available. We'd go back the next week to see if stock had arrived, or we'd order one and wait patiently for the letter or call from the shop to say it had arrived.
Then catalogues and mail order—and telephone ordering—moved our expectations on to a different plane, and also brought convenience into the equation. There was a time when we'd wait all year for a catalogue to arrive—then it was seasonal, then monthly. Now, a massively demanding consumer audience expects to see something new every day, sometimes every hour, often every minute. And they want to buy it.
There's no doubt online retail initially stuttered in the pioneering years of the internet, but there's now no doubt whatsoever that online retail has more recently exploded in its impact and influence.
The internet is our default research mechanism; we buy online, we check availability of products in stores we plan to visit. We compare and we choose. In fact, we choose and then we expect delivery within 24 hours. We can be in the West End, the Highlands, a shopping mall 500 miles away—all without moving away from our PCs.
So when the picture on the screen is exactly the product we've been looking for, exactly what we want to buy and to pay for there and then—the frustration generated by the receipt of a manually generated email two days later apologising for it being out of stock or out of production is tantamount to having driven half the length of the country to discover that, contrary to what the sales staff said on the phone, it isn't actually available. Up to the second information, then, is key.
Retail is a race: as fast as new products are introduced, they must be on the shelves—whether physical or virtual.
The Robert Welch Company has been established for more than 40 years as a family run concern, but it has its sights set firmly on the future. The company ethos is to design products that have personality, with functionality and affordability as important characteristics of any new product. New designs are continually introduced.
Robert Welch has two shops—in Chipping Campden and Warwick—with more than twenty ranges of cutlery and an extensive selection of cookware, kitchen accessories, lighting and glassware.
Robert Welch realised there was an opportunity to trade online and wanted an attractive e-commerce website where customers could view their products, and then purchase them quickly and easily. Having high quality photography was an absolute must.
The Robert Welch team was keen to get the most out of the internet in terms of increasing business. In addition to their requirements for an online catalogue and e-commerce site, they wanted to launch a wedding list service that would enable wedding lists to be created on their website, and allow guests to purchase gifts online.
Robert Welch wanted all website transactions to be fully integrated with Sage Line 100, therefore ensuring that the accounts and reporting methods were accurate and informative in addition to saving valuable man hours.
We provided consultancy services to the Robert Welch team in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace they were entering, then we created and developed conceptual website designs, all of which were sympathetic to the branding of the company.
We then added the content and ensured that the website was implemented in a way which made it highly functional and rich in content. Content Fusion, our flagship content management system, was integrated with the web site ensuring that Robert Welch would display products, prices and information that were relevant and correct.
The site has enabled customers to place orders for themselves as well as being able to place orders that will be given as gifts via the wedding list function.
But, crucially, Robert Welch can ensure that the website accurately reflects various issues that arise within their industry. For example they can ensure that any out of stock products are not advertised on the site and they can also let users know exact pricing information which takes into account different VAT rates depending on geographic location.
"Robert Welch Designs is extremely pleased with the final product, and feedback from visitors to our site has been extremely complimentary. In addition to the very flexible and manageable package offered by Enable, a major factor in the successful development of our new website was that the level of service and support offered by Enable has been first rate. At all times they have responded to our queries and requests speedily and positively.
"Based upon our own experience, we would have no hesitation in recommending others to work with Enable International in developing their website facilities."
Rupert Welch, Managing Director, Robert Welch