Many small businesses choose to host with Codero for a stable, secure ecommerce platform. Uptime is critical, especially as the holiday season (and Black Friday!) creep ever closer. AntiqueFarmHouse, one of Codero’s modern ecommerce customers, is a hand-picked furniture retailer that empowers normal people to add designer touches to their homes.
AntiqueFarmHouse separates itself from its crowded field by offering lower prices and not offering too many products. One of AntiqueFarmHouse’s two owners, Nadia Khayat, says that similar companies bombard and overwhelm their customers with too many products.
“Instead of offering 3,000 products at a time,” Khayat said, “we offer a cool mix and focus on trends. A lot of vendors reach out to us, and we pick what we feel is relevant. We try to squeeze every last penny out of these vendors to give our customers a unique, great deal.”
AntiqueFarmHouse’s product mix changes daily, which encourages its customers to return time and again to find the next great thing they’re looking for.
How Did AntiqueFarmHouse Start?
AntiqueFarmHouse is the brainchild of Khayat and her sister. Khayat was in the financial industry, while her sister was an interior designer. The financial industry collapsed and became “too stressful,” and the two decided to team up and start this business, which launched in December 2011.
Today, AntiqueFarmHouse is a thriving ecommerce business with a massive social media community; the company has more than 331,000 likes on Facebook and a growing Instagram following of nearly 13,000. The company’s Facebook page is where people go to share and post what they’ve bought, where they used it, and what they’re planning to do next.
“Social media has created a community for us,” Khayat said. “Because there’s a community of people who respond to you, you don’t feel like you’re talking into a vacuum. It gives you the feeling that people can reach out to us, and we can reach out to them, and we can get feedback on what’s going on and how we’re doing.”
The Rise of an Ecommerce Business
Conquering social media is only one aspect of AntiqueFarmHouse’s success. Tuning the fundamentals of the business to profitability has been the critical challenge in AntiqueFarmHouse’s growth. It’s the solid business foundation that keeps customers coming back; Khayat says 60 percent of her customers are repeat customers, which is crucial for lifestyle brands.
Lessons for the emerging ecommerce moguls!
Keep Inventory Tight
“I’m going to state the obvious here,” Khayat said. “Try to keep your inventory as tight as you possibly can. Be very cognizant of what you have and what you’re offering. Trends change so much, and you don’t want to be left with last year’s trend.”
Being stuck with leftover goods that you can’t sell is one easy way to drive up costs. Whether you’re selling farmhouse décor or anything else, managing a small inventory is vital to keeping profits up.
Treat Your Email List Like Your Family
A useful mailing list is crucial to a business. But as more people read less of their emails each day, how do you encourage people to read your emails? Khayat encourages a double opt-in sign-up process, which ensures your email list is authentic and clean and people want to receive your messages. A clean list can do wonders for your business: your rating goes up and your delivery rate is higher. Also important is consistency.
“Have a relevant message that your customers care about,” Khayat says. “They don’t have a lot of time, so if they’re dedicating time for you, make sure your message is relevant!”
Don’t Over-Promise on Shipping
Also important to growing a business and maintaining your process is a realistic shipping schedule. AntiqueFarmHouse advertises a 15 business day wait for orders to ship. Customers may be able to get goods like these delivered faster from somewhere else, but this small wait leads to drastically lower prices for customers.
“That lag allows us to control our inventory and minimize cost and overhead on our side,” Khayat said. “It allows us to offer our products at much deeper discounts; a lot of our similar products are offered elsewhere, but with us, we can cut that price by 50% or 60%.”
Plan (EARLY) for Black Friday
Keeping prices low is important all year long, but it’s especially crucial as we move toward Black Friday, the biggest time of the year for ecommerce businesses. Khayat says the holiday season starts online about three weeks earlier than it does in brick-and-mortar stores, which makes it that much more important to have a sound game-plan going into the season.
“We plan for it almost from the beginning of the year,” she said. “We try to have our greatest deals during that time of year, too. We try to meet our customers’ expectations so we start planning our inventory, pricing and site traffic needs well in advance. So far, every holiday season has been spectacular!”
Ensuring that AntiqueFarmHouse survives the holiday rush comes down to the right game-plan, but also making sure your infrastructure is up to the task — and that’s where Codero comes in.
Use Exceptional Infrastructure for Your Ecommerce
AntiqueFarmHouse switched to Codero after repeated downtime issues and non-responsive support with its previous hosting company. Kevin Young, Lead Developer at AntiqueFarmHouse, says he was looking for a reliable, fast, and stable server array to host their Magento store, along with a technical support team that was always available and ready to help if something went wrong — two qualities he says Codero delivers in spades.
“Codero’s responsiveness and knowledge of technical support is excellent!,” he said. “Codero ensures we have 100% uptime. That’s very important because if our site goes down, we lose business — and possibly customers.”
AntiqueFarmHouse hosts its Magento store on a dedicated server with a traditional LAMP stack (which is a server with Linux, Apache HTTP Server, MySQL, and PHP), firewall and staging server. Young says he chose Magento because it’s widely used, feature rich, and looked like the best designed and supported software available.
Young says the company has re-vamped its website about three times since it launched in 2011, completed two major server moves, and three major Magento upgrades to keep the site loading as fast as possible. Knowing that site speed literally translates into more revenue, Young is looking to add a separate test server soon to try different server configurations and see which performs best with Magento.
Love What You Do
Khayat says AntiqueFarmHouse’s most popular products are usually in the farmhouse décor section, like their tractor seat stool and wine barrel chandelier. But does she have a favorite?
“They’re all my babies,” Khayat said. “Everything we have on our site is my favorite.”
Featured Clients Series
To learn how Codero can help get your application or website going, chat now with one of our hosting experts. Want to share your company’s story and be featured on the Codero blog? Send us an email at email@example.com!