The owner of a Banbury art shop is working in revolutionary ways to help his customers enjoy the advantages of both online and in-store shopping.
Barry Whitehouse, who runs The Artery on the second floor of Books & Ink in White Lion Walk, is using wesbites, online stores and social media to find innovative ways of boosting his business.
Mr Whitehouse explained: “With the internet seen as a growing threat to retail, I set about thinking how I could use it to my advantage in my business.
“My aim was to not only get an online presence, but to also reach a far greater audience and get back those shoppers that have now deserted the High Street in favour of online shopping.”
Mr Whitehouse began by setting up an Artery Facebook page which he then also linked to Twitter. He then added his shop to the free directory sites such as yell.com, which made the business jump up the Google listings.
Next he created a free website using Google. Greater success was achieved using YouTube to create five to ten minute art tutorials, which Mr Whitehouse made by balancing his iPhone on an easel.
These proved extremely popular and one in particular – Paint like Monet – has attracted more than 56,900 views worldwide.
Most recently Mr Whitehouse has linked his shop with his largest online competitor, which means he can he can order items from them and sell them at online prices in-store.
Members of the online store in the Banbury area can now get online prices at the Artery but also get the product advice and expert tuition not available on the web.
Mr Whitehouse said: “After years of moaning about the internet and saying my prices could never compete, I found that some of these online competitors actually give trade discounts to professionals in the art world. I have now linked with my largest competitor meaning I can order items from them, sell them at online prices and still make a living.
“The internet needn’t be seen as an enemy. It can be utilised to help promote the business, the brand and create product awareness.”