Maidstone is one of the leading lights in Kent for business, and is the largest town in Kent with a population of around 120,000. It is based in an enviable location in the South East of England and is traditionally one of Kent’s business hubs, due in large part to this strategic destination that ensures good transport links. These good transport links means the town is great location for eCommerce companies in Maidstone to ship their products all over the country.
Maidstone now boasts a varied industry including a large TV studio hosting some of the countries most well known and liked programs such as Take Me Out and Later With Jools Holland. Reports from employers in Maidstone are that they find it a good location to recruit staff to. It’s digital sector is growing and becoming one of the key factors of the success of the area. Companies like G Forces and Parenta are leading the country for sector specific software, and have their head offices based in Maidstone.There are also growing number of companies doing eCommerce in Maidstone who are getting nationwide recognition.
Events To Visit
Kent B2B – Maidstone is home to the Kent B2B event. The largest business to business event in Kent, held annually at Detling Hill just outside Maidstone. It’s a great selection of exhibitors from all other the country with previous talks from leading business gurus such as James Caan and Nick Hewitt. Anyone involved with online retail and eCommerce should use the event to keep up to date with business trends and make good connections with the business community.
Innovation Agency Visit – Possibly just a one off, though hopefully a new regular event, the Innovation Event is a chance for tech and manufacturing businesses in the area to try and gain funds and support. Currently set for 12th December and worth a visit for any tech business just starting up.
Maidstone tech and eCommerce meet-ups are harder to come across than a lot of areas, with the growing tech sector in the area that looks set to change soon and it’s worth checking out websites like Meet Up for the latest tech related events in the Maidstone area.
Great Examples – eCommerce Maidstone
Watch Finder are based in Pudding Lane in central Maidstone. They sell high quality, top of the range watches from some of the most highly regarded watch manufacturers in the world. No round up of ecommerce in Maidstone would be complete without a mention of Watch Finder. They usually come within the top two or three search results for leading watch brands such as Rolex, and the image to the right, taken from their website, shows that they have been successful in trading online for the many years and have established themselves as a leading name in exclusive online watch retail and watch ecommerce.
Watch Finder have an easy to use and browse website, that perfectly fits the brand image that they are trying to represent of being high end and exclusive. Regardless of the chosen target market, what they do well is brand consistency across the whole website. As well as doing this they have great product pages which contain all the factors that good eCommerce websites should look to include on their online retails site. For example, the graphic to the left dealing with pain points clearly and up front is what all product pages should do to calm any last minute nerves before a possible purchase.
The Forage are a Maidstone based online retailer of art and design products from UK based producers. The shop is interesting and quirky, with a diverse range of products available, but good products alone don’t make for a successful eCommerce store, and they have managed to combine this with an easy to use website and great cohesive branding.
The challenge when dealing with “gift” eCommerce websites is finding a way to organise products which can appear disparate or uncomplimentary.
It is always apparent if an eCommerce website has been put together with love and attention, and this really comes through with Forage. Every product picture and detail has been thought about to really help sell the products. The product pages understand that how people interact with product pages on an eCommerce website too, this means that they contain icons for how to represent the different characteristics of the products so visitors can skim the page to see things like Made In Britain, Handmade and Eco Friendly.
Pain points are dealt with clearly and upfront too which is something we always endorse at ReThink eCommerce. They have even brought delivery and returns information onto the product pages themselves to show that they have nothing to hide on this front.
In terms of marketing, they have got some great endorsements from highly respected websites like The Guardian who have linked to them before.
Hair Products Online
Based just outside of Maidstone, Hair Products Online are an easy to use eCommerce site aimed at selling hair products. The website feels like it is targeted towards a young teenage, and mostly female audience, and it is clear as soon as the visitors hit the site exactly what the website is about. This is a real strength in eCommerce where sites are often attempting to be too many things to too many people and the retailers core messages can get lost.
The basics are certainly in place for a good eCommerce and on top of this, the feature we really like is the “Loyalty Points”. Loyalty schemes are a great way of encouraging regular custom and a growing trend in eCommerce. It’s a products that works really well to encourage loyalty and repeat business. It might be worth them considering a platform like Loyalty Lion as a great way to add extra features to their loyalty scheme and also gain from extra exposure with social media shares as well as repeat buys.