In 2007, The Mountie Shop was created by the RCMP Foundation in an effort to support and enhance their existing initiatives. Net proceeds from the purchase of sales from The Mountie Shop go toward supporting community organizations who partner with local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members to implement programs aimed at investing in Canada’s youth at risk. With a handful of fully operational brick and mortar stores, the time came in September 2009 to offer The Mountie Shop online as TheMountieShop.ca. Since then, http://www.themountieshop.ca has seen several transformations but none of them nearly as successful as in 2013, when Miva Merchant re-built The Mountie Shop online store from the ground up.
The Mountie Shop is a non-for profit organization and the only officially licensed retailer of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) products in Canada. They specialize in providing a variety of high quality products representative of Canada’s iconic National Police Force to both the RCMP and the public. What’s more, The Mounty Shop offers information and products in Canada’s both official languages (English & French).
TheMountieShop.ca was named as one of five finalists in the running for Miva Merchants’ The Blades title of Best New Feature for their “multi-language feature.” The Mountie Shop’s ability to cater to both English and French speaking shoppers in a single site is something that allows them to appeal to two different types of audiences but both with a love for the RCMP.
The Relaunch of TheMountieShop.ca
Prior to the re-launch of TheMountieShop.ca, the website was built and hosted by two separate companies, using Miva Merchant as the e-commerce platform. In re-launching the new website, The Mountie Shop decided to have 100% of their online services with Miva Merchant.
“We chose Miva Merchant to build, run and host our website as we were already very happy with the level of service we continually received from them,” said Nicole Smekal, Retail Marketing Coordinator at The Mountie Shop. “We chose Miva because they understood the uniqueness of our store, offered us a competitively priced package and had a track record of outstanding customer service.”
A Bilingual Ecommerce Store
It was absolutely imperative that TheMountieShop.ca function in both of Canada’s official languages (English and French). From product descriptions to registering for an account, every single word, button and drop down menu had to be bilingual.
“Miva Merchant has flawlessly delivered on a fully bilingual website that moves impeccably between languages. Pages and categories are easy to navigate through and the overall look and feel of the new site is one that we are highly impressed with. We know our customers will appreciate the changes that have been made and embrace the transformed look that we have worked so hard to achieve,” said Pete McCormack, General Manager for The Mountie Shop.
Miva developers did extensive work in order to ensure that everything would be in both languages and made it incredibly user friendly to add and/or change information in the admin panel.
“As the Marketing Coordinator for The Mountie Shop,” Smekal said, “I perform all of the graphic work so it was very important to me that Miva Merchant leave a lot room for me to be able to tinker with HTML code in the admin panel should I want to change something. Our store is constantly evolving and to be able to add or change an image in a split second is something that was very important to me in creating the store.”
Nicole Smekal, Retail Marketing Coordinator at The Mountie Shop
Integrating Canada Post
Just as important as the language feature was integrating the site with Canada’s national postal service, Canada Post. Canada Post is the only mail carrier to deliver packages to the most remote parts of Canada (as that is often where RCMP members are posted).
“At the time, although Miva Merchant was not familiar with this postal organization, they worked with us to ensure everything was set up exactly the way we needed,” noted Smekal.
Miva Merchant has since collaborated with Canada Post in order to improve the online shopping experience for Canadian customers.
Danielle Sabourin, Staff at The Mountie Shop
Secrets to Online Success
1. Information, Information, Information!
The Mountie Shop has found that information is one of the most important factors of their online success. The more information they have provided on their products, the better they have performed online. People like to research what they buy before they buy it and solely having an image of a product is not enough. The Mountie Shop tries to give their customers as much information as possible, so that it makes their decision making process easier when selecting the right product.
2. Connect with Customers on Social Media
The other important key to online success, according to The Mountie Shop, is connecting with customers on social media platforms. With the Mountie Shop site, Miva Merchant included social media buttons on each product as well as throughout the site. This is simply another way that The Mountie Shop has been able to connect with their customers and offer them more information should they request it via social media.
3. Choose an Ecommerce Platform with Great Support
“The team here at The Mountie Shop has very quickly learnt that if you cannot rely on your ecommerce shopping cart software and hosting company, then you’re website will fall behind and cease to flourish,” said Nicole Smekal. “If we have an issue with our store or simply do not know where to find something in the admin panel, Miva Merchant is always accessible and always courteous with the time it takes them to respond to our inquiries and solve our issues.”
Melanie Overduin, Operations Manager at The Mountie Shop
Why The Mountie Shop Chose Miva Merchant
We are beyond happy in choosing Miva Merchant and our decision is confirmed everyday with each sale that comes in.”
“In choosing to use Miva Merchant, our decision came down to two main questions:
The first one being ‘Can Miva do what we need them to do in order to make our store successful at a reasonable price?’
The answer to that was yes. In building our store, Miva has gone above and beyond to make sure we were involved (and satisfied) every step of the way. There were never any questions as to what Miva was working on; we were constantly kept in the loop. As a result, if we wanted to change something, we would able to do so at the same stage it was being worked on. We received everything that we needed and wanted for TheMountieShop.ca to make our e-store successful all at a price that we could afford.”
The second question was “What is Miva’s customer service like?
In the past we have dealt with companies that charge the customer each time they need an image changed or an issue resolved so it was very important to us that we feel comfortable with the company before choosing to place 100% of our business with them. We had a vision of what we wanted out store to look like and Miva Merchant went above and beyond to answer our questions, revise and disseminate our quote, change mock-ups, and ensure our overall satisfaction in creating TheMountieShop.ca.
Since the re-launch of TheMountieShop.ca in early 2013, The Mountie Shop’s online sales have increased by 106% and we are now able to connect with our customers in a way that we never before could,” said Nicole Smekal. “We are beyond happy in choosing Miva Merchant and our decision is confirmed everyday with each sale that comes in.”