When Dan King and his girlfriend set up a street and urban clothing shop in sleepy Eastbourne, an online business was just an afterthought. They were following their dream of having their own shop. However, as Dan had experience in web design, it seemed logical to develop an online presence too.
Within 18 months of launch, they moved into a new, larger store but what had really taken off was their online business. With a loyal following and quality product, Urban Industry was developing into a strong business with a sustainable revenue stream. However, to take the next step, a change of approach was required. Growth and reach into Europe was only going to take place by developing the online business as the infrastructure investment required for an offline presence would have been prohibitive. PayPoint.net was brought in to provide a secure, robust and effective payment solution. In time, they would provide further innovation with PayCash which has allowed consumers to pay for products online with cash - no need for a credit card.
Initially, the challenge was storage and fulfilment. Urban Industry had outgrown the basement at the shop and had a warehouse seven miles away. This created numerous logistical problems with endless travel between the two sites and struggles to keep tabs on operations.
The decision was made to move to a warehouse that would act as the distribution hub for Urban Industry while providing the retail destination that the major brands demand. Customers can now come to the warehouse to view and buy a specific item or browse online with ease. With the vast majority of revenues coming through the website, having the distribution centre and the IT back-end in one location allows considerable time and cost efficiencies.
Urban Industrys multi channel strategy has enabled them to react to a recent consumer trend of 80% of consumers visiting a website before going to a shop (Source: Yahoo! consumer survey, 2009). This has resulted in those who visit the bricks and mortar site travelling considerable distances and coming for a specific item. Even though the purchase is not taking place online, the sophisticated web presence is driving the purchase decision.
The business has gone from strength to strength, with revenues breaking through 1m annually and a genuinely international customer base. By providing a distinctive customer offer, driving sales through direct marketing and social media engagement and lowering the cost base without a pure-play bricks and mortar presence, Urban Industry has developed a successful and sustainable business.