Women's footwear retailer Peter Sheppard has witnessed the power of digital during the pandemic, seeing sales increase by 300%. 

Recognising the need to provide its customers with a seamless online shopping experience during the pandemic, the business switched website platforms and rolled out a range of new initiatives to get customers shopping online. 

The business, which serves an older female demographic, found that its customers wanted to shop online, but needed some guidance on how to do so. 

"We have learned that many of our older customers want to shop online but it was educating them how to and building trust between our customers and customer service team," Peter Sheppard head of eCommerce Chloe Bailey said. 

In response, Peter Sheppard inserted a flysheet in its bi-annual catalogue with step-by-step instructions of how to shop online and launched an online 'how-to' video to assist those who were already on the website. 

The business also rolled out video appointments to give customers the opportunity to speak to a store expert to complete their purchase. 

Bailey added that the investment in its eCommerce site has benefitted all customers, not just those who experienced lockdowns. 

"We wanted to create more opportunities for our customers to shop, and blur the lines between our online and offline shopping experience.

"Our online store is particularly important because we have many customers in regional areas and interstate, without the access to a store that our metro customers have in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

"They love to get the full experience when they come into one of our flagship stores and get properly fitted.

"Many customers come in prepared with the styles they want to try, having seen them online.

"It's great that they also then go home and still find the brands, fittings and sizes that they want online when shopping in the future.

"They can always call or chat with our customer care team for extra help through this process," she said. 

During the year, the business has also found that displaying all colours in a style on a page helps to increase conversion rate, Bailey adds. 

"We have split our colours out from variants to products and this has increased our conversion rate.

"Collection pages are like looking at a shelf, and a customer can now see all the colours without having to click through on a particular style," she said. 

Going forward, Peter Sheppard will continue to invest in its eCommerce capabilities, Bailey concluded. 

"Our online store has been our fastest growing store every year since it opened. 

"Into 2021 we will continue to invest more time and resources into shaping our omni-channel shopping experience and building on our digital marketing efforts," she said. 

Peter Sheppard was established in 1973 and operates three stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. 

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