Robyn McLennan is the owner/director of Easy Living Footwear, a regional women’s fashion, comfort and leisure footwear retailer with stores in Bathurst, Dubbo, Tamworth and Newcastle, and a rapidly growing online presence.
Robyn’s decades-long experience in retail, a notoriously fickle industry, has embedded resilience and vision into her business management toolbox.
‘I started out as a retail assistant in my teens and moved on fairly quickly to owning a department store in regional NSW by the time I was 22 years old,’ says Robyn. It was a steep learning curve, and furnished an intimate knowledge of rural/regional female footwear customers that stands Robyn apart from other regional retailers, today.
Some years later Robyn turned to importing comfortable work shoes for nurses, with her business wholesaling to retail outlets around the country. Robyn transformed the business over time, broadening its product range to incorporate leisure and fashion footwear, opening a series of shops in regional NSW in response to a gap in the market for women’s footwear that was both comfortable and stylish.
Understanding customer behaviour and capturing customer data has been important throughout Robyn’s retail journey and she credits the gathered information with helping her to effectively respond to market changes, and to prepare and plan for future challenges.
In 2019 Easy Living Footwear shifted greater attention to its digital marketing and e-commerce capabilities. The services of a specialist digital marketing firm and an e-commerce web specialist firm were engaged and so began a slow and steady move to develop an online shop and grow their online profile. There was no mad rush at the time; just careful planning and considered navigation through the online business model maze. COVID19 changed that pace. The related lockdown pushed Robyn and her digital team to rapidly optimise all e-commerce and digital marketing systems, to place them in the best possible position to survive the unknowns of contactless customer service and changing government directives.
Valuable customer data proved to be a godsend for Robyn and Easy Living Footwear, allowing the business to communicate with customers, customise their shopping experience and nurture their customer-business relationships.
Easy Living’s online sales skyrocketed through April and May 2020 and their significant investment across a range of digital marketing activities delivered exceptional returns on investment.
Robyn has shared her story with us to draw attention to the online opportunities she invested in and the positive outcomes she experienced, in the hope that this information might encourage other regional retailers to find out if, or how, online sales and marketing could benefit their business.