Brick and Mortar to Online: Does it work? | Anne-Michelle Frances
Her store doors were forced to shut. All her employees quit for the unemployment ‘bonus’, AND she was not sure when she could open again. She was left with two choices. Shut down everything she’s worked for OR open her laptop and start to transition to the online world! This week I had a chance to talk to Anne-Michelle Frances, co-owner of Ohana Board Shop and this was her story. She and her husband fulfilled one of their dreams by opening a surf and skate brick-and mortar-shop, but found herself having to make a choice on what to do with her business.
Anne-Michelle Frances on Her Brick-and Mortar Store
For so many years her business was doing VERY well and they were such an asset in their local community and had built such a loyal following. And then COVID hit. With no end date in sight and no employees left, Anne-Michelle and her husband decided to transition to an online business model. They kept their brick and mortar closed and started to completely focus on online sales. And let me tell you. It was probably one of the BEST decisions they ever made!
Listen in to hear :
- What she turned into her top selling product
- How she used the tiniest of followers on IG (who had private accounts) to launch their online presence (this little one gave MASSIVE results).
- How she got REAL reviews vs just 5 star ratings that pulled her up in search engine
- PLUSSSSS how she sold everything, moved her family of 6 into a van and is now exploring the country!
OH and there is even more goodness in this episode. Stay tuned to the end where I pull out my top 10 takeaways. Let me know if yours are the same or if you have others!
Her story is such a light in some pretty dark times and I want you to be able to soak in their message and walk away feeling affirmed that you too can have amazing wins in your business even in the most uncertain of times.
Check out this week's episode below, or keep reading to find out exactly how they could pull off this significant change in their business and where they are now!
The Shift to an Online Business
Anne-Michelle and her husband are entrepreneurs through and through. Owning a business seemed like a no-brainer when compared to the 9-5 world. And even when COVID hit, their stance on that didn't change. While many other entrepreneurs decided to take a sit and wait approach, Anne-Michelle realized that if their business was going to continue to do well, they would have to keep moving forward.
And for them, it meant pivoting to an online business model. They didn't have the resources to just wait out the storm. With payroll and plenty of bills to pay, the two of them hit the ground running and immediately poured their energy into outfitting an online store. They already had a bit of a web presence and had the experience of some small online product launches, but it didn't compare to the pivot they would soon be making.
I love this story because they just embody the entrepreneurial spirit so perfectly. Not only did Anne-Michelle Frances and her husband not hesitate to act, but they also continued to keep their customer-centric philosophy at the center of it all!
Fill A Need In Your Market
They knew that with everything being canceled and families being forced to adjust to a new normal, it would mean skateboarding would have a chance in the spotlight, so they went all in! They started marketing to new skateboarders, parents, and those returning to the sport, hoping that the lack of team sports and just more time in the fresh air would pique people's interest. And it did!
Suddenly, Anne-Michelle had moms looking to buy boards for their kid AND themselves! They saw a need in the market and totally succeeded in filling it. She outfitted the whole shop with beginner-friendly equipment and kept the stock uniform to simplify her own inventory needs. The beginner kits were such a hit and such a good way to attract new customers.
Talk about niching your niche!
How to Drive Traffic to Your Online Store
Anne-Michelle's skate shop did not have a substantial online presence when they made that significant shift. So you're probably wondering how exactly they were able to drive enough traffic to keep sales flowing!
Okay, so this might just be one of my favorite parts of their story because it was just so impressively organic. Like I mentioned before, they had a pretty loyal customer base. They were in business for a long time and had cultivated a strong relationship with the local skate community. Anne-Michelle Frances knew she would have to transfer that sense of hospitality and vulnerability to the online world, so she just started writing about her daily struggles and triumphs.
Every week, she would sit down and document how quarantine was going and how her family was doing, and her audience loved it. Not only could their brick-and-mortar customers keep a sense of familiarity, but new customers were getting an inside look into what the business was all about.
She was creating a community in a time that we needed it most. And isn't that a part of what business is all about? Anne-Michelle Frances saw that the value of her business wasn't just in the inventory they kept stocked, but it was also in the spirit of family they cultivated all of those years.
Her honesty and raw openness is the best marketing tactic out there. Because as humans, we are all looking to connect and relate and the best business foster that kind of relationship-building
The theme of family and closeness continued with her use of influencer marketing. Anne-Michelle and her husband only used super micro-influencers to market their products. And honestly, it was all they needed.
How Leaps of Faith Opened New Doors For Anne-Michelle Frances
Okay, maybe I lied. This part might just be my favorite part of Anne-Michelle's story. Because Anne-Michelle Frances and her husband were able to almost totally run their business remotely (they do still have their brick and mortar), they could start envisioning completely new dreams and goals for their family.
And one of them includes moving into a van full-time and traveling the country!
I'm totally swooning. As you all probably know by now, adventure is so close to my heart, and I think the best people to do it with are the ones you love most.
(I'm daydreaming of traveling through Puerto Rico in a van with my fam right now.)
This dream of theirs wouldn't have ever been possible had they not stepped up and faced the new and uncertain challenge of opening an online business. But because they did, their family gets to experience the adventure of a lifetime.
And isn't that truly the goal for each and every one of us?
This interview was so fun to do and such a sweet reminder of what Because I Can is all about. If you're looking to finally take that plunge and open your online shop, I hope this episode has given you the motivation you need. And if you need a little help along the way, be sure to join the $1-100k Program!
Check out Anne-Michelle's shop here!
- If you start a business, you actually can create options
- Consider creating some type of a kit in your business for beginners
- We don't have to wait for things to happen, we can actually get out there and make things happen for us.
- Real and raw is what helps you connect to your customers
- Micro micro micro influencers helped open up the door to more customers
- Urgency and scarcity are key to selling
- Encourage your customers to write reviews! They make all the difference
- Maybe one of the plus sides of COVID can be a renewed focus on living life. Anne-Michelle Frances and her family are living and traveling in a van. How cool is that?
- Customer service means really loving your customer and always keeping them first in mind
- Oh, and if you're thinking about skateboarding start with a longboard. Trust me!