Coming up fast: Net result - A firm footing

Coming up fast: Net result - A firm footing - 'You wouldn't send out the same newsletter twice,' says shoe designer Tim Little, 'but companies will put up a single web page with their logo and just leave it. You have to change it regularly.' So Little con

by FRANCESCA CUNNINGHAM
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

'You wouldn't send out the same newsletter twice,' says shoe designer Tim Little, 'but companies will put up a single web page with their logo and just leave it. You have to change it regularly.' So Little constantly upgrades his site and even pays a company to 'seed' internet search engines to keep it at the top of their lists.

Little sells bespoke and off-the-rack classic English shoes from his shop on London's King's Road and via upmarket stores such as Selfridges and Saks. The shop opened in April 1997 and the site followed about 18 months ago as a natural extension of the company's strong service ethic.

The site already matches around 5% of the shop's usual turnover as well as raising the company's profile. Customers come from as far afield as Australia and the US and Little has even been contacted by factories in the Far East wanting to make his shoes. 'We'd probably never have been seen by them before,' he says.

Does he see a downside to being online? 'Fraud,' he says. 'We're high ticket, expensive (pounds 190 a pair on average) and easy to sell on.' The site is secure but crooks can still use other people's credit cards. And the worst of it is that the credit card company usually takes the rap on a shop transaction, but not online.

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