Thoughts on starting and running a small business

Bricks-and-Mortar

Bricks-and-mortar versus online sales is a hot topic for so many businesses right now. It’s funny to think that both Andrew at a bank and me at a cupcake store can be thinking about the same question:  what is the balance between having a presence that customers can walk into versus the ability to complete a sale completely online and have  it delivered? We’re at a point in retail businesses where it’s hard to know. Maybe that will be the case for years to come.

We recently renewed our lease at FCP, our busiest store, because a good percentage of our sales are made on impulse by customers who see the store and are reminded that they want to take cupcakes to work or back home.

But the most recent innovations at PGB have definitely been with the online customer in mind: the really detailed Cakes website allowing brides and any other party host to design and buy their special cake online, and the Last Minute Menu.

Even though Cakes by Prairie Girl has been up and running for months now, I still get excited to see the fancy cake orders, setting out the details of a fairly major purchase – a fondant covered cake over $200! –  selected entirely online without the in-person meeting that’s usually required for this type of special event cake.

The Last Minute menu is doing well too. As mentioned in my last post we did a “soft” launch without a lot of fanfare because we were still recruiting a last minute catering coordinator to help Ailish and another delivery person to work with Brandon. The good news is that just this week Ailish started training Krystle for the ACC role and her enthusiasm and excitement is fantastic. I think once we are fully equipped to have all time slots open for delivery we will begin to see the full impact of letting our customers make online purchases right up until noon of the day of delivery or pick up.

On a personal note, Andrew and I are taking a break to go to Mexico on Sunday!  I am really looking forward to it, as is he. Andrew has been traveling a lot and I’ve been so focused on projects at PGB and elsewhere that I can feel myself getting irritable! It will be great to kick back.

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