Joe Schodowski took the time to answer a few questions about his site Shelving.com and what his business model looks like. A successful business running on a great domain name, Shelving.com still requires constant attention. No doubt the name helped the company expand from their local market. Joe provides some details and insight we can all benefit from.
Mike: Can you give a little background on your business? How long you’ve been in business, number of employees, how long you’ve had your site online?
Joe Schodowski: Shelving, Inc was started in 1960 by my father Jack Schodowski. Back then shelving products consisted mainly of slotted angle and nut & bolt shelving systems. Because Shelving,Inc was based in Detroit, MI a majority of the customer base was either an automotive manufacturer (GM, Ford, Chrysler) or one of the suppliers. All of our shelving was provided for heavy duty industrial applications. The first 35 years of the business was concentrated on supply shelving and storage systems for the commercial and industrial market in SE Michigan.
In 1996 we registered shelving.com because we are “Shelving, Inc”. From 1996 – 2002 we utilized the domain shelving.com as a sales lead tool for our sales representatives. Late in 2002 we decided to try our hand in e-commerce and launched shelving.com on a Miva 4.xx shopping cart to accept orders on line. Currently, shelving.com is running on Miva 5.5 and we have plans to transition it to a more robust shopping cart within the next 90-120 days. Shelving, Inc employees 16 full time and 4 part time team members.
Mike: Has has owning the domain Shelving.com impacted your business?
Joe Schodowski: Yes, it has impacted our business positively. From 1960 – 2002 a majority of our business was conducted in our local geographic market (SE Michigan). Since 2002 our market has expanded to all points of the USA and some international business as well. It opened our boundries for business and allowed us to weather the economic storm fairly well because we have developed a larger, more diverse customer base and in a larger geopgraphic market. Today 65% of our business is outside of SE Michigan and 35% is in our primary market.
Mike: Can you share the volume of traffic that your site receives?
Joe Schodowski: We receive somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 – 30,000 unique vistors per month.
Joe Schodowski: Mostly Google adwords ppc campaigns. We launched a business to consumer site www.TheShelvingStore.com in 2007 and have explored many more sales channels for that site. Now we will do the same for www.shelving.com.
Mike: Do you own other domain names?
Joe Schodowski: Yes, www.TheShelvingStore.com, www.ShelvingCatalog.com and www.ShelvingandRack.com. All three of these sites are continually being developed and are constantly going through upgrades and merchandise changes.
Mike: Did you purchase the name shelving.com from someone else that owned it?
Joe Schodowski: We bought it directly from one of our customers who workred for a military supplier. He registered it for us back in 1996. I can’t remember what it cost us back then but it wasn’t a lot.
Mike: Any advice for start ups, small business, or business of any size for that matter on choosing the right domain name?
Joe Schodowski:For start ups make sure you are well caplitalized. Have cash and know what you are going to do with it. So many people I meet think e-commerce is simply building a website and sitting back lettting the orders roll in. That is so far from the truth. You have to work constantly on driving qualifed traffic to the site through many sales channels and monitor the results ofad spend to return on investment. You have to work on SEO, PPC management, CSE feeds, Affiliates, Social Media, Blogs etc… In addition you have to change your merchandising, update pricing and stay on top of ahead of your competition. You can’t ever sit back or you will soon be taken out by your competition.
Mike: Do you think you would be willing to sell your domain at any point? Have you ever received any unsolicited offers?
Joe Schodowski: Sure, at some point we will sell the domain but not any time soon. Yes, we have received numerous unsolicited offers but none were legitimate offers.
Mike: Any other information you’d like to share?
Joe Schodowski: We love what we do. Selling shelving. By selling shelving the old fashioned way (face to face with a sales rep and customer), online or through our call center our passion is to “Make Space Work Harder” by supplying the right shelving products for the right storage project. So if our customer needs to store engines, potatoes, books, paper, clothing, hardware or rocket parts we have the right shelving for the job. Our solutions allow our customers to store there stuff safely and neatly so they know what they have and where it is. We create space and better organization with our shelving products. We’re happy to help any customer no matter how small or large their storage project may be. We have been doing this for fifty (50) years and have tens of thousands of satisfied customers. We look forward to continually serving our current customers storage needs and always willing and able to bring on new customers. We make it known throughout our company that our customer is the Boss. They are the only reason we exist and if we don’t take great care of them someone else will. We do everything in our power to make our customers happy and organized.