With the current coronavirus pandemic forcing people to think about ways they can conduct business from home, e-commerce has never been more important to the survival of the economy. Having a strong digital presence is important for any business in the 21st century, however, regardless of whether or not we are all being instructed to practice social distancing techniques.
Lee Bryant of W.D. Bryant & Son in Corbin and Williamsburg knows this, which is why he and his team have been focusing a great deal of their energy into upping their e-commerce game for the past several months.
“We have the analytics right now to show how many people are searching for things through our store,” Bryant explained. “There are about 1,700 people who are hitting our store online, searching for something.”
Obviously, this information excites Bryant very much. “I’d love to have 1,700 more transaction per month,” he said, but the store is not quite ready to handle that amount of online business just yet.
“I wish we had the full e-commerce site up and going right now,” Bryant said. “The analytics prove that people are searching every day, hoping that we have something they want in stock. Our goal right now is to go live in January of next year, though.”
“It takes a tremendous amount of work to get ready for it,” Bryant said of the process to becoming fully operational online, mentioning ease of access, proper categorization and inventory control as just a few of the main concerns when designing a website that will allow customers to search for, and hopefully purchase, merchandise.
So far, W.D. Bryant has only been able to offer customers a minimal amount of online shopping opportunities, but Bryant is happy to report that those “test runs” have gone smoothly with very encouraging results.
“We wanted to have an online sales trial,” Bryant said of a recent promotion. “We had some discontinued collector’s series knives, so we put them up on our existing website at www.wdbryant.com. We just wanted to make sure that we understood the mechanics of it more than anything. We wanted to know if we could manage these 60-70 items with receiving the order, processing payment, including freight, and then shipping the product out that same day. It went beautifully.”
Bryant said customers can expect more online sales promotions in the coming months. As he put it, “We’re going to keep on testing, and try to get all the bugs out before we finally flip the switch.”
Bryant is optimistic about the many ways that e-commerce should help W.D. Bryant continue to grow into the future as they approach their 100th year of existence later this decade. He said the convenience factor associated with online shopping should benefit customers greatly, and being able to utilize True Value’s complete catalog will increase the store’s offerings many times over.
Once Bryant is finally able to “flip the switch” on this new website early next year, he said that the store should be able to easily accept orders, and then ship those items to pretty much anywhere. Customers will have the ability to track their merchandise while it is in transit, or if they happen to need something that is currently out of stock, they can receive an estimated wait time in order to help them make a decision. Of course, in-store pickup of online purchases will be an option as well, and delivery service will be available locally.
In the meantime, Bryant encourages the community to stay in the know about happenings at the store by regularly checking in at their current website, and by following them on social media. Of course, the News Journal typically features many W.D. Bryant ads throughout the year, so readers can stay up-to-date that way as well.
In the immediate future, Bryant is planning some special promotions that he hopes will give families something to do together with spring and summer approaching. He was also excited to mention the fact that the store is once again an official distributor of Kraftmaid cabinets, and they have a kitchen designer who can help customers make plans to suit whatever needs they might have.
Bryant also commented that the store is planning on having some cookouts this summer featuring the full line of Weber grilling products, and for anyone looking to get into the yard mowing/landscaping business, W.D. Bryant is currently offering package deals on outdoor equipment from brands such as Stihl, Scag and Masport. Financing is available. Stop in at either store location for more details.