Growth Through Online Technology (2016 Summer NAMM)
For Paige’s Music, online technology has been critical to business growth.
During the “NAMM Retail Summit” at 2016 Summer NAMM, Mark Goff, president of the Indianapolis school music retailer, explained to NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond how Paige’s website has improved the customer experience—not to mention operations.
“The investment in technology, in general, has allowed us to grow our business over the last 10 years,” said Goff, who also serves as NAMM’s current chairman. “We’ve probably doubled our business in the last 10 years, and yet particularly in the back end of the business—in the office and in the admin area—we have the same number of staff. So it’s much more efficient to be able to do business this way.”
Refocusing on Core Customers
He noted that the company’s previous website had a heavy e-commerce focus. The newest version of the site is more focused on serving Paige’s core customers.
Goff explained: “That parent of a first-year student who’s renting an instrument—what do they need? Obviously, it’s the ability to rent an instrument online, but then beyond that, what does that student need to succeed in school music? They need to have their instrument serviced from time to time, so we have a portal where they can go in and request a repair, request a loaner. They may want to have private lessons. We don’t do private lessons in our business. We have a referral service, where we refer people to private teachers in the area. Of course, if they do want to buy a box of reeds, they can do something like that. We have a section called Tips, some of those basic questions that a beginning parent asks us over and over and over again. Why not capture that on video or in some form of digital communication that we can make available to them?”
Online Rental Growth
He commented that nearly 30 percent of Paige’s school music rentals are now online. This has all but completely eliminated the company’s affiliate dealer network and, according to Goff, helped create a better customer experience.
“What it also does is it controls the way that we present the information to our customers,” he said. “Whereas when we were using those affiliate dealers, you never know who’s going to be presenting our rental plan and all that goes into it to our customers.”
In fall 2015, Paige’s Music launched a micro-website dedicated to one of its core customers: school band directors. A cornerstone of the site is the Director Spotlight, which features new video interviews with band directors every two weeks. Goff noted that the site has a targeted audience and has served as a powerful tool in strengthening relationships with directors.
“We don’t put it online [for] everybody,” he said. “We actually only put it online for our directors. We serve about 450 directors throughout the state of Indiana, so it’s a targeted approach. So we share those stories with 450 directors. They have been taking those stories, and they’ve shared them with every state in the country and many nations. It’s been shared internationally. They’ve been shared thousands and thousands of times, and it’s just because we’ve taken these successful, inspirational people and we’ve shared their story.”