I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Jill, Carrie, Joe, and Griffin at the Green Man Store, a metaphysical shop in North Hollywood, CA for several years. One day, I asked Jill how her day was going while checking out at the register. She told me about all the trouble they were having with their WordPress website. “You know WordPress is what I do, right?” I said. She did not, but we fixed that, and I found the issue that had taken the site offline. Thus started a multiple year working relationship where I’ve helped the store and its staff manage their online presence and e-commerce store.
Their webstore had been a nice-to-have feature for them, but the main focus of the business was on on-site: classes and workshops, psychic readings, and in-store physical sales. When COVID-19 shut down all retail in early March 2020, though, everything changed. All of a sudden, they needed to move all operations online very quickly to continue supporting the community they’ve built over a decade.
Moving Online: From Retail to E-Commerce
Classes and readings began to be conducted over Zoom and the telephone. We installed Amelia to handle psychic reading bookings on the psychics website, enabling customers to schedule themselves with their favorite readers without having to call the store. Amelia also integrates with WooCommerce, so we installed it on the store’s website to handle class bookings.
There’s a lot of backend work required to set up the online classes and manage invitations to the store’s Mighty Network, where class videos are archived for a period of time. There’s also internal bookeeping and making sure all the students get the Zoom link before each class. With greatly reduced staff to do these tasks due to the COVID closures, automation using Zapier made everything much easier to manage.
One of the nice things about Amelia was that it had built-in SMS notifications and reminders. Unfortunately, they stopped working when Amelia’s SMS provider account was suspended. In response, I created our own notification system using Zapier, Twilio, and Google Calendar. We send SMS notifications to readers when a customer books a new appointment. The readers’ calendars automatically update with the new info.
While the doors to the store were closed, we also expanded the depth and breadth of goods available for sale in the webstore. I provided Excel templates to make it easy to upload lots of products very quickly, without having to enter anything in by hand. In two months, we increased the number of available products by 115%, and increased overall online sales by 4700%.