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The ProStores eCommerce Blog

Marketing Through Shopper-Created Content

A few years ago ProStores web store Funky Toys opened a sister store Brick Republic, which exclusively sells BrickArms and other custom-made Lego accessories. Brick Republic has since become a highly profitable spinoff, which only came about because Funky Toys staff were always keeping their eyes open for new trends.

"We sold Legos, and someone came in and asked us if we had heard of BrickArms," recalls owner Sarados Matzouranis. "I had never heard of them, but soon more and more kids were coming in and asking for them. One told me that a guy in the US made and distributed them, so I contacted BrickArms and became their official reseller in Canada." Sarados then opened Brick Republic; BrickArms linked its web site to his new store; and the accessories got so popular internationally that sales on Brick Republic soared.

Soon the Lego accessories grew such a fervent following that afficianados started making YouTube videos of products they had purchased from Brick Republic, offering the new web store some free and easy publicity:

 

To attain even more free marketing, the Brick Republic staff also started sending products to professional reviewers to get blog and YouTube coverage, like this video: 

  

The videos not only brought more visitors to the web store, but also helped Brick Republic rise in Google search rankings.

It just goes to show you that if you stay on top of your industry and hit a product that's growing in popularity, you can cash in on the phenomenon and get some free publicity to boot.

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Make Your Web Store Work for Your Brick & Mortar

 

Funky Toys About UsSarados Matzouranis has an unusual eCommerce story in that he opened his two brick-and-mortar stores after he already established his web store Funky Toys. Now all his stores work together in tandem. “If not for our web store, things would have been harder for our brick-and-mortar," he says. "The kids first get to know us online, and then they beg their parents to take them to Funky Toys when they’re in Montreal."


Sarados loves meeting his regular web customers in person. He often recognizes their names and for a personal touch, gives them free gifts as a thank you for coming by.

Sarados encourages other online merchants to make their web stores work for their brick-and-mortar. "To compete, we make sure that shoppers can clearly see what we carry when they go online," he explains. "Other retail merchants make it hard for customers to see what they have without driving to the store. If you Google us and go to our web store, you’ll easily find us, all our products and our prices."

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