Western & English Today
RIDING THE WEB WAVE
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
"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
"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."