Ruby Friel always knew she wanted to start her own shop. Her entrepreneurial journey began as a teenager working as a florist for small business owners and began to take shape as a product designer, where she traveled the world to research trends, and drew inspiration from small boutiques and stores she found. But it wasn’t until 2020, when a friend offered her an affordable space above their business in Stockport, UK that she decided to take the leap. In March 2020, with all £3,000 of her personal savings, Ruby opened Still Life Story, one week before the first UK lockdown.
In the early days of Still Life Story, Ruby was a one-woman show, managing every aspect of the business and performing about 20 different roles all while juggling the demands of motherhood with a newborn baby. And while the store proved to be an instant hit and was already making a profit, every month Ruby had to make a choice between paying herself a salary or investing in her new brand, and every month, Ruby chose to reinvest all of her profits to grow her business.
Building strong relationships by talking directly to customers and offering personalized service has always been part of their growth strategy but, once the business reached a certain point, conversations alone weren’t enough. Ruby knew she needed data to guide buying decisions to ensure she was reinvesting strategically.
Using Shopify’s analytics dashboard, she monitored the store’s total sales and number of transactions every day of the week, and reviewed the store’s growth monthly.
As a result of getting more familiar with her data, Ruby noticed one of the store’s most important metrics was sales by product type. Ruby recognized that while one ring might have sold poorly, jewelry as a collection was actually one of the best-selling categories among her customers. This was the insight Ruby needed to massively expand her best selling product categories and increase profits from her best performers.
Ruby also identified which specific products within each category were the most in-demand by looking at the Sales by product variant report. This allowed her to understand which products to reinvest in, and feature on social media to drive more in-store traffic, it also informed a more competitive pricing strategy.
Using her best-selling products as a starting point, Ruby was able to create an effective cart-building strategy by choosing to stock complimentary items to cross-promote alongside customer favorites.
Data also influences her merchandising, sales, and marketing strategies. Ruby uses the ABC analysis report which ranks her inventory into a grading system of A, B, and C products. The ABC analysis report makes it easy to identify which products account for the majority of profits and which are rarely ordered, and could be incurring unnecessary warehousing and maintenance. Ruby relies on this information to determine daily decisions from in-store product placement, to online promotion, and marketing efforts where she collaborates with micro influencers to help move C products to a higher grade. And when a products’ position does not improve, data informs which Ruby chooses not to restock or discount in her upcoming campaigns.
Still Life Story has maintained their mass appeal among a wide demographic while strategically evolving their product line with a deep understanding of what their customers want. And by using data to identify best sellers and sales trends their revenue grew 50% year over year during the winter holiday season as a result.
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