Such was the appeal of Bank House Living, it was actually feedback from Tania’s customers that helped cement the decision to go digital. During the lockdown, many people turned to internet shopping to bolster their moods, and Tania’s range of easy to wear clothes and accessories were the perfect option for lockdown life. Bank House Living‘s customers were regularly asking to buy online during the early days of lockdown so Tania made the digital move.
Launching www.bankhouseliving.com in the summer enabled Tania to sell her stock and keep engaging with her customers, especially as the business used the shop functionality on social media channels too.
And now, while we remain in Tier 2, Tania has noticed that customers have returned to visit the shop in Melrose, but often refer to items they viewed online, which is great as physical visits are the lifeblood of our struggling high streets, but Tania knows, trading exclusively online is there for her, should she need it.
When the UK’s national lockdown was announced in March 2020, many business owners were initially stunned by both the speed and the scale of the restrictions being enforced. While the general consensus was that the health of the population could not be compromised for the health of the economy, for many independent retail businesses, who did not operate with a dual physical and digital model, it meant trade ground to an absolute halt!
The cessation of business was the situation faced by many of our region’s small, independent retailers, familiar faces who pepper the high streets of our towns and villages, many of whom had purchased stock for the following weeks’ and months’ trading, people who now had to look on while others forged their way through, mostly using digital channels to sell to a ‘lockdown customer-base.’ Those retailers, who did not sell online, had to quickly consider how could they generate the income that would be needed, if they were to survive? Business owners like Tania Helm from Bank House Living in Melrose, who is a member of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce.
A self-confessed technophobe, Tania knew she had no choice but to take her shop digital having always had the intention of taking Bank House Living online one day, but never really needing to – until COVID-19.
Tania told us: “While internet shopping has undoubtedly grown over the last few years, my client base remained loyal to visiting our shop. Our customers like to see and touch the clothes, try them on before buying them, and engage in conversation with our team – it was, and still is, a social experience, as much as a retail one.”