Shop Name: Fluid Lines
Location: Colchester, UK
Fluid Lines are a snow and watersports shop who stay in tune with thier local customers and offer a wide selection of products for a variety of sports.
When did Fluid Lines open and what was the reason for starting the store?
The shop opened in 2009. I was working for another store (Skisurf) in the same building and the guy running it decided to stop the business so I decided to open up in the same unit but as a new shop. Having always worked in this industry it was exciting to be calling the shots and owning my own shop, instead of working for someone else!
What do you think are the benefits of having a physical shop over an online store?
I think having a physical shop is so important, It also gives you a lot of credibility that you can’t get from being purely online. Being online plays its part and can boost sales however we are much more focussed on serving the customers of the local area. It is great to meet and talk to all the local people doing the sports we sell. We find that customers use our online store to find and research products being coming into the shop to look at and try products on.
Hows the local market in Colchester at the moment?
The local market is good at the moment, the summer has been busy so far! This has a lot to do with the good weather, customers are getting out on the water so are always looking for new products. We had a recent Windsurfing and SUP demo which went down well, but we could do with a bit more wind!
What has sold well over the past few months?
We have found that SUP has gone from strength to strength especially in the inflatable market with brands like RED Paddle. It is an area that we have been pushing since we opened but really this year we have seen SUP really taking off. Also, wetsuits (O’Neill) and sunglasses (Oakley) having been selling well.
What percentage of sales are from online business compared to your in store sales?
90% in store and 10% online. We are yet to really focus on pushing our website but that is something that we would like to improve in the future. However getting the physical store right is the most important thing to us!
What do you do differently to stay ahead of the competition?
By trying to offer the best service and the widest range of products. Stay in tune with what our customers want and if there is a demand for a certain product or brand we will try to get it in store.
How do you use social media to pull people into the store?
We use social media as much as possible, especially Facebook and Instagram. It is such a good way of keeping the customers informed of what is going on and what new products we have in the shop. We find people see things we posted and this encourages them to visit us and check out the latest kit.
Outlook for the rest of 2014?
I think the outlook is positive, hopefully we will continue to have a good end to the summer and the start of the new winter season will kick of well too! We always try and get in our snowboard hardware in September as we find our customers start looking for the new kit early season.