“Modernising how consumers shop for their home”
For our next edition, we’re excited to feature Escapology – evangelists of an unconventional mindset and believers that good taste does not change! Escapology is not your usual sofas and arm-chairs’ store. Their journey started with a belief that you shouldn’t have to settle for second best, in both quality and service when you furnish your home. So they set out to create a better way: great style, great quality, great service; combined with a commitment to treat customers the way the team would want to be treated – exceptionally well. Escapology’s goal is to create an instantly recognisable lifestyle brand, disrupting an industry that has had little innovation in the process. Their take on modern furniture, quality products, customer service and keeping things simple in general is a perfect take-away for anyone set on their e-commerce journey.
An Interview with Matthew Lincoln : Co-Founder Escapology
Tell us about your business – your mission and what made you start this e-commerce website?
As a company that takes pride in throwing away the ‘rule book’, we are modernising how consumers shop for the items for their home. As with so many entrepreneurs, we embarked on this path as a result of a personal problem. We’d personally experienced not being able to buy the things we wanted for our home, in a way that we wanted to buy them.
Escapology’s aim is to inspire, so we see ourselves as a lifestyle brand, not as another home furnishings retailer. That mind-set allows us to operate in a very different way to the rest of our industry. As a start-up, we don’t have the constraints of other companies in our space, and we can act differently without any restraint. We want our customers to say “wow, I could live here” when they visit our physical store. That’s our measure of success, not sales per square foot. So we don’t simply cram lots of things on a shelf, we curate our product ranges and then set them up like a home would be. In the process we help simplify the customer’s choice by inspiring them with some top notch home decor ideas, hence allowing them to achieve a stunning look for their home.
We started our e-commerce site to work hand-in-hand with a physical store. We recognised that in our industry both channels are important. The combination allows us to offer a wider range than we could fit into a physical outlet while allowing customers to ‘touch & feel’ similar products and furniture to enable them to inform themselves about design and quality before making a purchase of an item seen online. The e-commerce site is also important in providing us with national distribution while we build our retail footprint – we felt it was important to accommodate the shopper who couldn’t come to a store.
Which channels are bringing most traffic to your store? Which channels do you wish to use to reach more customers this year?
We find that social media, particularly Facebook, combined with traditional print advertising, drives traffic to our site. We have a particular strategy around content that we publish. So many companies use social as just another ad platform. By not doing that and acting natively on the platform we stand out. People like that, so they trust and engage with us – they know we value the relationship and are not always chasing the next sale like so many others do on social media.
In 2017 we plan to develop our Instagram and Pinterest presence. The UK is a little behind the US in social media habits so we will test how best to engage with customers on these two platforms. We will also expand our Facebook activities to increase the use of video and potentially commence using Facebook Live.
What made you choose Shopify for Escapology? How is it helping you accomplish your business goals?
We chose Shopify as it allowed us to be up and running quickly without the need for skilled resource or technical knowledge. Shopify provided us with a mature platform, that is mobile responsive, and could support both e-commerce and point-of-sale in our home interiors retail store. Using Shopify allowed us to launch quickly, focus on our customer offer, and importantly, start without significant capital expenditure. Shopify also gives us the ability to provide a great customer experience from day 1.
Related Article : How to create a Social Media content calendar in 4 simple steps by Shopify blogs
What is it that Escapology (as a business) wants to accomplish in 2017?
We have three goals for 2017. The first being, to achieve major brand awareness through PR activities and press exposure. The second being, to optimise our customer referral scheme – we want our customers to be strong and active brand advocates, and we need to give them the tools to do this. Lastly, but most importantly, we want to become recognised as the destination for people who want to buy something new for their home. Delivering on these three goals will achieve our growth aspiration for 2017.
What tools, apps, key metrics do you track and use to understand your business’ health? What apps do you use to help you with your backend?
The management team at Escapology are great believers in keeping things as simple as possible. In fact, we are zealots about it, so it extends throughout every aspect of the business. As a result, we look at a small number of metrics that are critical to understanding our business. These focus on store traffic, conversion rates, customer satisfaction, customer value, and profitability.
For our e-commerce site, we rely heavily on Google Analytics and Crazy Egg. These two tools give us a brilliant insight into customer behaviour while on our site. In-store we use our eyes and ears to achieve the same level of understanding. Shopify’s feed into Xero for our accounting is immensely useful and helps us deliver an efficient process.
We love sharing more information about e-commerce best practices that we come across, with our customers. Would you have any cool trick or best practice that you recommend?
The thing that has helped us most is remembering that 90% of stuff doesn’t matter – particularly when you are a young growing company. So figure out the 10% that does matter, then focus all your attention on that. As in life in general, focus on what you can control and avoid wasting time and effort on things you can’t control.
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