Ruby Friel always knew she wanted to open her own shop. Her entrepreneurial journey began as a teenager working as a florist for small business owners and took shape as a product designer where she traveled the world researching trends and being inspired by small boutiques and shops she found. But it wasn’t until 2020, when a friend offered her an affordable space above her shop in Stockport, UK, that she decided to take the plunge. In March 2020, Ruby opened with all £3,000 of her personal savings still life storya week before the first UK lockdown.
In the early days of Still Life Story, Ruby was a one-woman show, managing every aspect of the business and playing around 20 different roles while juggling the demands of motherhood with a newborn baby. And while the store proved an instant hit and was already making a profit, Ruby had to make a choice each month between paying herself a salary or investing in her new brand, and each month Ruby chose to reinvest all of her profits to grow her business.
Building strong relationships through direct conversations with customers and offering personalized service has always been part of their growth strategy, but once the company reached a certain point, conversations alone were no longer enough. Ruby knew she needed data to make purchasing decisions and ensure she was reinvesting strategically.
Using Shopify’s analytics dashboard, she monitored the store’s total sales and transaction count every day of the week, and reviewed the store’s growth on a monthly basis.
As she familiarized herself with her data, Ruby noticed that one of the store’s most important metrics was sales by product type. Ruby realized that while one ring had sold poorly, jewelry as a collection was actually one of the top selling categories among her customers. This was the insight Ruby needed to massively expand their top-selling product categories and increase the profits of their top performers.
Ruby also identified which specific products were most in demand within each category by looking at them Sales by product variant Report. This allowed her to understand which products to reinvest in and showcase on social media to drive more store visits and also informed a more competitive pricing strategy.
Starting with her top-selling products, Ruby was able to create an effective cart-building strategy by choosing to stock free items for cross-promotion alongside customer favorites.
Data also influences their merchandising, sales and marketing strategies. Ruby uses the ABC analysis report who classifies their inventory in a rating system of A, B and C products. The ABC analysis report makes it easy to identify which products are making up the majority of profits and which are infrequently ordered and could cause unnecessary inventory and maintenance. Ruby relies on this information to make day-to-day decisions, from in-store product placement to online promotion and marketing efforts, where she works with micro-influencers to take C-products to the next level. And if a product’s position doesn’t improve, the data informs which Ruby isn’t restocking or discounting in their upcoming campaigns.
Still Life Story has maintained its mass appeal to a broad demographic while strategically developing its product line with a deep understanding of its customers’ desires. And by using data to identify best-sellers and sales trends, their revenue increased 50% year over year during the winter holiday season.