B.J. and Pete Molloy are the husband and wife team behind Molloy’s Soap, and a longstanding advocate of eco-friendly soaps, personal care, and cleaning products. With a brick-and-mortar location in Cambridge, Ontario, as well as an online store, the couple has actively engaged customers for over five years. What’s unique about Molloy’s Soap is that they not only offer ‘off-the-shelf’ products, but they encourage customers to bring in their empties to be refilled, championing cost savings, reduced packaging, and environmental consciousness – a cause the Molloys are passionate about.
Pre-pandemic, the Molloys were primarily focused on selling their products in-store. “We had a […] website that we had created through Shopify, [but] it wasn’t consistent. The branding wasn’t great,” says B.J. That’s when a web designer approached the Molloys to introduce them to Digital Main Street’s Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) Program. The DTG initiative provides brick-and-mortar small businesses with a digital assessment, online training, and a $2,500 grant to implement their Digital Transformation Plan. The Molloys successfully applied for the grant and engaged a web designer sourced through the Digital Main Street vendor directory, to revamp their website. Re-designing their website allowed them to adapt when the pandemic hit, enabling rapid online expansion, a pivotal shift for their business survival during this period. “COVID hit and we were able to add products to our website right away. […] He basically created this framework that we could monopolize on immediately. It’s just funny how the timing worked. I look back all the time and think I don’t know if we’d last, to be honest, if it wasn’t for that initial website regroup that we did,” notes B.J.
During the pandemic, Molloy’s Soap obtained a Health Canada license and began producing hand sanitizers, along with their existing product line-up, and sold it on their new Shopify website. Their business flourished, prompting a move to a larger storefront. The couple knew post-pandemic challenges would emerge, including customer retention strategies and operational efficiency improvements with order fulfillment. B.J.’s two biggest questions were: “How can I get more people to our website? And how can I make the processes on our end way more efficient, because I had to be [at the store] every day.” Luckily, the answers to these questions were right around the corner.
As the pandemic subsided, the Molloys received an email from the Digital Main Street program informing them that they were eligible to apply for another DTG. “I knew how awesome it was. So I looked into it,” says B.J.
Molloy’s Soap was awarded a second grant to implement a new Digital Transformation Plan. This time, B.J. leveraged the new knowledge obtained from working through Digital Main Street’s online training modules. “I thought that those videos were incredible and [they] really helped me think outside the box.” Specifically, B.J. opted to focus on marketing strategies that would help the business in the long term. Grant funds were used to engage a marketing specialist to assist with building and deploying social media and email marketing strategies. Additionally, the Molloys purchased a second laptop to increase the efficiency in fulfilling online orders, thus freeing some of B.J.’s time to focus ‘on’ the business rather than be ‘in’ it.
- Applied for and received a Digital Main Street DTG in November 2022
- Marketing specialist retained and briefed on social media and email marketing goals
- Social media and email marketing strategy developed and executed
- Selected, purchased, and set-up additional laptop for order fulfillment
- Staff trained on order fulfillment process
- Business Growth. Molloy’s Soap’s website was “the catalyst for growth for us for sure,” says B.J., contributing 30% of the business’s sales and ensuring steady year-over-year growth.
- Customer Retention. The 85% customer retention rate can be credited to the strong branding across their digital platforms creating an impressive level of brand loyalty.
- Email Marketing Conversion. With consistent deployment of quality email marketing, B.J. states this service is paying for itself. “As soon as I send an email, the sales come in.”
B.J. remarks she is fully convinced of the power of digital marketing and online sales. “From day one, my husband said to me: ‘we need to sell online’ and I just couldn’t see it. […] It’s embarrassing to even think that I thought like that. […] Now, I can be home from work and see sales coming in. I wake up to sales. I mean, there’s no better feeling than when you have that money coming in when you’re not in the store.”
With an established online presence, and after five years of successful direct-to-consumer sales, the Molloys are turning their attention to wholesale opportunities. They are excited to explore new revenue streams and continue their trajectory to success.