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Case Study

Niche marketing doesnít get much more focused than an idea to sell walking guides featuring routes throughout a single English county (Northumberland) online costing £1.50 including postage to anywhere in the world!

However, from this core idea came, an award winning e-commerce website which in something like the four years it has been trading, has built up a huge and dedicated following around the world.

From the outset, the intention was to brand the business as a unique entity, a task made simpler as this was a unique angle - country walks written by a real life shepherd from his own unique perspective. Just because this was a very small rural business doesnít mean that the branding and marketing of the business can be any less professional. And thanks to a truly dedicated and committed client in the form of Jon Monks, shepherdswalks has established itself as one of the leading online walking resource websites in the world.

From itís launch in day one, Shepherdswalks was rolled out with a full corporate, ďStarter kitĒ consisting of an e-commerce website and co-ordinating promotional leaflets, flyers and business cards. Secure credit card processing on the website was enabled using a third party clearance system as a quick and simple route avoiding the complexities and workload associated with merchant card holder not being present.

Identified from very early on in the conception of the business identity and evolution, was the need for the website to grow an encompass other regions of the country - thereby allowing people interested in walking other regions, access to the unique Shepherdswalks product. This step was taken in 2002 and the resulting increase in business through the site has been startling. Helped in no small way by re-developing the website into a data driven site which the client is able to update at any time via a standard web browser and internet connection.

Extra avenues for revenue generation have been aggressively and actively pursued and expanded upon. Advertising and links to accommodation providers in the regions of the walks, face to face selling at farmers markets and country shows. etc.

Shepherdswalks is testament to just what is possible with a unique idea, solid branding and service delivery via the website, and a lot of hard work on the part of its owners. Itís a small rural business - But itís a very successful one. If anyone is thinking of making a move into the world of e-commerce and would like an insight into how to build a community, subscribe to the shepherdswalks newsletter to see how it should be done.

lazy grace have worked with many businesses large and small. We are proud to be associated with Shepherdswalks as much as any of them.

A true case of small being very beautiful.