Western & English Today

Spring 2016

W&E Today provides retailers and manufacturers with education and ideas that provoke innovation in the Western and English markets.

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SPRING 2016 Western & English Today 19 RIDING THE WEB WAVE I f there's a top trend in the Western boot industry— other than crossover fashion and a more conservative price point— it might be an increased market for Internet sales. "Our customers have lots of websites, and that business was huge for Christmas," Smoky Mountain Boots president Bob T orp says. "We probably did about four times as much Internet business through our customers as we did the year before." So much that T orp plans to rearrange his warehouse shipping area and put in an aisle that will handle only Internet sales to ship to a store's customer (at a service charge) or directly to the store for pickup. T e bad news for the increase of online sales? "It was at the expense of the retail stores," T orp says. "We found that business of . T e Internet business has really changed." Rod's True Western president Scott Hartle points out that men's and women's boot sales are evenly divided for store pur- chases. "It's about 50-50, but for Internet sales, that goes up to 85 percent women and 15 percent men." T e other downside of Internet boot sales is the number of returns, T orp says. "Returns for goods sold on the Internet is like 20 percent. Returns we have for a regular customer is 1 percent." But, T orp adds, website sales are the wave of the future, so he recommends stores begin an Internet presence. "You want the business," he says. "It's just coming at you from a dif erent way." — J.D.B. liberty boot macie bean nocona old gringo rocky durango sonora

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