FISH307 opened in 1992 as Peace Pipe Bait & Tackle, a small fishing tackle shop in Bolton Landing, New York. The offering at the time was an array of lures, bait, rods, reels and free advice to the fishing enthusiasts who passed through. The friendly atmosphere and high quality gear helped the business establish a solid customer base. The need for a toll-free phone number (1-800-FISH307) was apparent as the customers wanted to purchase product when they were out of town. As the internet began to grow FISH307.com was added in the mid 1990s.
Lee Miller, the marketing director, who has been with FISH307 for just over a year now, says that in the last few years the store’s online traffic “had flattened out a little bit…I was brought in to update our site and systems to be more user friendly in the online market because we felt that is where our growth was going to come from. The storefront was doing great, but there’s limitations to it.”
The expansion of online sales, in today’s market, is challenging because retailers have to integrate a shopping cart, payment processor and other apps to their operations, it adds complexity to financial and inventory management systems.
“Quick growth created some of the problems that come along with expansion. There were a handful of things that we realized that we had to do. We realized that we had to integrate some of the current processes in order to actually keep up so we weren’t overwhelmed, so we began to update and integrate.”
FISH307’s updating included signing up with Webgility to streamline that overwhelming uptick in business that was happening.
“We were literally manually processing orders between our storefront and our QuickBooks point of sale, but we were outgrowing the ability of the manual systems we had in place. It was okay if you only had 10 or 15 orders a day, but when you start doing 40 or 50 orders a day, like they were before I got here, it created some challenges. We had three or four people doing nothing all day except manually processing up to several hundred orders a day. Now we are able to process between 200 and 400 orders in less time, usually by early afternoon. That, in great part, was due directly to the Webgility integration. We now have those people working on generating content to further increase sales.”
The FISH307 team were relieved and have re-focused on their next goal: becoming a leader in the space in the next 5 years. Their conversion rate sits at around 5%, double the industry average, so they are well on their way.
“We have a niche because we’re one of the largest part suppliers in the country, so that core business was in good shape and that was okay, but the growth was being able to leverage those customers [who are] purchasing for additional products within their sport.”
But beyond the revenue, Miller is excited to bring the friendly atmosphere of the brick-and-mortar FISH307 shop to its online marketplace.
“We have a great local following, a great customer base, that actually enjoys working with us and it’s not always about price,(Although FISH307 is very competitive) it’s about the value that we bring as opposed to big box or Amazon. It’s the experience that people have with us and with this group of people. I just enjoy trying to get the personality of the storefront digitized and get it online.”