Earlier this year, The Natural Store, which has three stores in Cornwall, launched a new website to expand its online presence and market itself more effectively.
To upgrade from its old holding page, the store employed a marketing professional to set up the website which provides information about its stores – located in Falmouth, Helston and St Austell.
Rob Kneebone, manager of the Falmouth store, explains the reason behind the move: “We felt we needed an online presence as it seemed we were lagging behind a bit when we looked at other health stores around the country and what they were doing.
“The site offers general information about the brands we sell, about our ethos, our history, details of the stores, what we do and what we think is important in terms of health foods. We also have a regular blog which features interviews with staff members.”
The blog also offers recipes and articles on various areas of health and nutrition such as natural remedies for lowering blood pressure, the effects of sugar and how to reduce it, and superfoods.
The site was designed to reflect the stores themselves – “a bit oldy worldy but also bright and exciting” – and features links to the shops’ Facebook and Twitter pages which are updated on a daily basis. “We’ve had Facebook for about two years,” says Kneebone, “but there wasn’t much going on. However, since we’ve had the website there is a lot more interplay between the two, so we can share blogs from our website on Facebook and vice versa.”
“It’s like free advertising. The more people like our page and notice things we’re putting up, the more it might encourage them to come into the shop; then friends of friends see things – they may share an article or a blog – and might think ‘I didn’t know there was a health food shop in Falmouth’. But it’s intangible because it’s hard to know what you’re getting in terms of people are coming into the shop as a result of it.”
The site isn’t set up for online selling, but this is something that may well happen in future. “It’s a huge undertaking but it’s on our mind. It’s something we’ll have to do eventually because of the way the market is going with a lot of sales being made from people buying off the Internet because it’s convenient, and we will need to join that.”