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Entrepreneur and musician Kevin Dierker had his sights set on opening a music store when he left his sales position at a steel fabrication company in St. Louis. Having worked at music stores when he was in high school, he developed some ideas on how to generate revenue. Incorporating e-commerce into the sales model was one of them.

Kevin was pleased when he learned Music Go Round used an e-commerce storefront to sell used and new instruments and gear. It’s part of what influenced him to become a Music Go Round franchisee in 2014.

“It was definitely a bonus because I had worked at other music stores that didn’t go into the e-commerce world that ended up failing,” he said. “I knew that a large part of having a successful business was having an online presence.”

E-commerce is quickly becoming essential for retailers to employ because consumers are using all avenues to research and buy products. Smartphones are rapidly becoming the tool of choice for these tasks. While consumers still visit brick and mortar stores, 51 percent are making purchases online, according to a UPS study.

Seek and Buy

The Music Go Round e-commerce storefront makes up 20 to 25 percent of Kevin’s monthly sales. Kevin sees both out-of-state and local customers thanks to the website.

“A majority of my customers shop from their home before they come in,” he said. “They walk in the door and they know what they want. It makes sales much easier because you hardly have to sell the items since they’ve looked at them for a week online before they come in. It definitely helps with sales, locally and across state lines.”

That’s in line with a trend called “webrooming,” which is researching online before making a purchase in-store. Eighty-one percent of consumers do it, according to Chain Store Age.

Music Go Round in St. Louis ships a fair amount of instruments and gear to customers in other states. Kevin said they feel confident buying it since they have a good idea what condition it’s in thanks to the numerous photos and honest written descriptions found on Customers have 48 hours to inspect the merchandise and play with it before they have to inform the store if they’re not satisfied with it. From there they send it back for a full refund.

Inventory Exposed

There are customers who browse the site without searching for anything in particular who show up at the store because they’re impressed with the inventory. They’re typically musicians who have been playing for a while, Kevin said.

“The e-storefront helps the most in getting those types of players to come in and check out the higher-end gear,” he said, adding they usually end up buying something.

In Case of Emergency

It’s not uncommon for touring bands to stop in at the Music Go Round in St. Louis to replace equipment damaged or stolen on the road because they looked at the website and found what they needed.

“Throughout the year, we see five to 10 touring groups from all over the country stop at the store,” Kevin said.

Jay Farrar, vocalist and guitar player for critically acclaimed local favorite band Son Volt, drops by often even when there’s not an emergency.