The FARM in North Bay is a fashion and art retail market that operates as a collective to showcase the talents of emerging and established designers. Owner Katie Bevan provides both a boutique-style retail space as well as a workspace for members to share their skills and experience.
When the pandemic struck, Katie realized that investing in the tools and skills to create a strong and compelling digital presence for the brick-and-mortar collective was no luxury, but an absolute necessity.
She turned to Digital Main Street (DMS) for the grant funding and professional support to re-evaluate the entire customer journey online. Visuals were key – to tell compelling stories through photos and video about the collective’s creators and their creations. Katie is also sharpening her efforts to draw web visitors through social media and create a more compelling shopping experience on her e-commerce storefront.
Katie is now targeting a 50 per cent increase in her online conversion rate and online sales growth of 20 per cent in 2021.
“Thanks to DMS, we have been able to make enhancements on our website that allow for an easier transition from mostly selling in the shop to selling more online,” Katie said. “Advancing brick-and-mortar’s technical capabilities is crucial when doing business today, not only due to COVID, but also from increased competition and to prepare for other business disruptions that are out of our control.”
The Digital Main Street program has been further extended through funding from FedDev Ontario and the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). The new round of funding includes $42.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, a national recovery initiative delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies. With $7.45 million from Ontario, this combined federal and provincial project will strengthen Ontario’s economic capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration, and will promote the development of a strong and diversified Ontario economy. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants