bdaily speaks to Ben Dale, founder of online rug emporium Modern Rugs
“A lot of people think that setting up an online business is easy and people will just go on your site – but that really isn’t the case,” says Ben Dale, founder of online rug emporium Modern Rugs.
Modern Rugs specialises in rugs of all shapes and sizes: budget up to bespoke high-end items. Ben decided to set up an online business after working for digital development agency Enigma. Inspired by his father’s carpeting business, Ben spotted a niche in the market, and decided to sell rugs online.
“I was really lucky, as the contacts my Dad has build up over 20 years have proved invaluable, and through these links. I’ve managed to get some great products in stock.
While Ben’s Dad has clearly had some influence on his business decisions, Ben himself is determined to ensure the site is a success. He dedicates much of his time to working out exactly what his customer wants, and continues to work closely with Enigma to develop the website.
“It is so important to do your research and know your market. I’ve seen people spend £10,000 on marketing and get no sales because they’re not doing it right.
“I use search optimisation and key word tracking which allows me to look at everything. The main challenge is to get people to the site. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of research, but visibility is vital.”
Buying a rug is normally quite a tactile process, and Ben has overcome this problem by creating an online showroom using pictures and videos: “This facility gives consumers the confidence to buy this type of product online.”
Another of the main advantages of running Modern Rugs online is that Ben can hold much more stock than the average shop: ‘Selling purely online means we don’t have to have a high street retail presence allowing us to locate our business and distribution warehouses anywhere we like and thus saving money on overheads.“
“Being online also helps us to save time because people can browse the site at their leisure, meaning we don’t have to take time to complete a sale. Only a very small percentage of customers call us, which shows that this automated process does work.”
While the business was not hit hard by the recession, Ben is still keen to keep on improving Modern Rugs.
“We’re always looking for new and innovative products and regularly go to trade exhibitions to find what we’re not offering.
“We’ve just launched another site selling custom-made rugs, Sisal Rugs, so it’s vital that we keep working hard to take advantage of the ever growing ecommerce market.”