Build your virtual storefront #LikeABoss

Phillip Ashley Chocolates owner Phillip Ashley Rix offers insights and tips to improve ROI

by AT&T Business Editorial Team

Agility Challenge runner-up winner Phillip Ashley Rix wanted to open a chocolate shop – but not just any sort of mom ‘n’ pop corner store. He wanted to start strong, and build an empire of luxury chocolate with a boutique feel; one that could be profitable around the clock.

“We were online from the very beginning. That was something that I always saw being necessary,” Rix said. “Going online was always the focus because I always said I wanted to create 365 days of revenue. Online you’re open every single day, 24 hours.”

There’s no better time than now to either revamp or simply build the virtual storefront for your business. There’s also no better way to learn it than from a success story like Rix’s. And you don’t need a “big idea” of the future in mind, just a little virtual elbow grease.

For Rix, he applies the same philosophies from his storefront to his website. One example is how he wanted to make it as easy as possible for customers to focus on the chocolates, so he made the decision to remove the distracting retail from inside the store and online. He also narrowed down the buying options on his website.“

We wanted to convert sales, we wanted you to get to the site and get to what you need and get off,” Rix said.

What makes a good storefront (physically or digitally) is constantly testing of your customer base. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a great website. With that in mind, Rix has been able to lower his operating costs from in the store and focus more on delivering to customers, versus forcing them to visit the shop.

“We’re solely focusing on, okay, how do we amplify and grow our presence digitally? How do we build our website?” he said. “So our website has evolved over time, and now we focus our marketing efforts digitally.”

One issue many businesses struggle with, especially food-oriented businesses, is figuring out how to make the virtual customer feel as if they’re in the store without actually being there. So when Rix recently had the Phillip Ashley Chocolates website remodeled, he found ways to emulate that special in-store experience.

“We just had too much stuff on the page, even on the first page,” he said. “The flow wasn’t like I’d like it. I’ve always been a ‘less is more.’ It’s a digital representation of what our storefront would be. In this way we can be at LA and New York at the same time, versus having to have stores there, or not at all.”

If you’re hungry for more insights, keep reading. As a confident virtual storefront-eur, Rix has three pieces of advice for business owners who want a successful venture into the digital world.        

  1. Have a well-functioning website that’s aesthetically pleasing and secure. And make sure the design fits your brand.        
  2. Communication is even more important online. Actively communicate with your online customers about orders and shipping.        
  3. Have a quick turnaround – make sure your product or service is readily available so you can deliver it as fast as possible.  

Ready to get your website running #LikeABoss? Look here to read about some solutions that could help you get going.