Case Study: Mack’s Prairie Wings Hunts Down Increased Online Sales
PROBLEM: Mack's Prairie Wings (MPW), a cross-channel retailer of waterfowl gear and accessories for duck hunters, needed to upgrade its e-commerce website in order to grow its business.
SOLUTION: Hired an e-commerce website development firm.
RESULTS: Since relaunching its site on a new e-commerce platform in June 2006, MPW's sales have increased five straight years. The percentage of sales coming online has likewise increased each year, now accounting for 42 percent of total sales vs. 5 percent five years ago.
Already a successful brick-and-mortar retailer for over 66 years, with a profitable catalog business for the past 17 years-plus, MPW faced a decision: continue on with its comfortable existence, or evolve with the times and grow to new heights. It chose the latter — although it wasn't without its struggles. Specifically, that evolution involved launching an e-commerce website, which MPW did in June 2003 to decidedly dreadful reviews.
Trying to manage and maintain its website in-house with the help of an outside contractor, MPW wasn't successful. The retailer's website encountered problems with missing images, product descriptions displaying incorrectly, inventory not being updated efficiently, among other issues.
MPW's customers were ready to make the shift online, but the retailer clearly wasn't. "Customers were saying, 'I want to buy from you, but I can't. You won't let me,'" recalls Cheryl Raney, MPW's chief financial officer, of the brand's initial foray into e-commerce. "We were losing customers to our competitors. With the dominant shift to online sales, we had to change with the times to remain a successful retailer."
Recognizing the negative effect its shortcomings were having, MPW hired e-commerce website development firm Ability Commerce to help it deliver the online shopping experiencing its customers were clamoring for.
"The software alone has made Mack's site so much more robust than what it had before," says Kate Tucker, Ability Commerce's client coordinator for MPW, noting the addition of multiple product shots, a more efficient checkout page, and audio and video capabilities as key upgrades.