The CozyCoverz.com success story
The ability to customize a product is always going to be popular among shoppers. Whether they choose to add an image, a logo, a monogram, or other text, customers love to personalize their items because it adds something special. A customized product is often a more satisfying purchase, since the customer feels they’ve had a hand in its creation, rather than simply buying it.
Craig Darlow has a lot of experience with customized products — his family business has been involved in that field for years, selling a variety of personalized items. CozyCoverz.com came about directly because of this experience. “We found that blankets were a kind of popular item, so I decided to make a niche store,” Craig says.
Identifying a smaller niche is always a worthwhile idea, as it allows a business to put greater focus on a certain type of product. In the case of CozyCoverz.com, the focus was on blankets. However, even something as simple as a blanket can have more options than you might expect. CozyCoverz.com sells several types of blankets, including luxury blankets, hooded blankets, and stadium blankets. In short, the variety of blankets they sell allows their customers to be cozy anywhere!
By selling different types of blankets, CozyCoverz.com is able to focus on a niche without limiting itself — and adding customization opens up a whole new dimension as well. But to do that, they needed the right eCommerce software.
Finding the software that would have CozyCoverz.com covered
It can be a complicated process to let customers personalize a product. You have to make sure the customer understands the available options and knows what to select to get the results they want. It’s crucial that an online store uses eCommerce software that can support this kind of feature.
Unlike some businesses that start out as brick-and-mortar and then expand into eCommerce, Craig planned from the beginning that CozyCoverz.com would be an online business.
“I was interested in doing something more ‘eCommerce’ specifically,” he says, “and so I was looking for an eCommerce solution to be able to create that store.”
Craig’s research on eCommerce software led him to discover Shift4Shop. He looked at several different platforms, but Shift4Shop appealed to him the most. “It just seemed to be the most flexible,” he explains. “It had a lot of functionality. I wanted to have flexibility for the future to be able to do different things, and it just seemed to be the most open in terms of being able to modify it.”
But Craig wasn’t only considering the future when he decided on Shift4Shop — he was also interested in the here-and-now. “It also had a lot of features and functionality built right into it to make it handle all the eCommerce stuff all around, including printing shipping labels and everything,” he says. “So it just seemed like the easiest way to get off the ground, and yet still have a lot of functionality that felt like I would be able to use it for a while.” The issue of starting off with a simplistic platform and then having to move to another solution later on didn’t appeal to him, as that situation can present a huge setback to a business.
Craig discovered that Shift4Shop served his business’s needs just as admirably as he’d hoped. He has several favorite features, many of which focus on the amount of time he saves by using the Shift4Shop software.
The feature most necessary to his business is the ability to customize the product pages as needed. Not only are Craig’s products customizable, they also come with different options like available colors. Some products even offer different methods of customization, like embroidery, laser engraving, or screen printing depending on the material. CozyCoverz.com is able to use Shift4Shop’s built-in functionality to flesh out their product pages and ensure all the appropriate options are easy for customers to understand and select.
“I also like the mailing functionality; the emails,” Craig says. He cites order confirmations, autoresponders, and abandoned cart recovery as great time-savers. He also uses automation to keep in touch with his vendors for dropshipping purposes. “All that is automated, so it really saves a ton of time,” he says. “It makes things much easier.”
Weaving the future
With over 9 years in business, CozyCoverz.com has already expanded beyond its original concept as a blanket store. They also sell other customizable products like towels and tote bags, and added face masks to their product line during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Craig has other plans to continue expanding his business, with even more personalization options for customers. At first, he wasn’t sure if Shift4Shop would be up to the challenge. “In fact, I had looked at some other platforms, but I realized Shift4Shop actually has the flexibility to do that.” He has plenty of ideas for new customizations to offer, including additional options for embroidery, logos, screen printing, and much more, all of which the customer can choose right when they place their order. “That’s something else that will be more easily managed in the system, that takes a lot of the work off,” he explains. “That’s going to help a lot.”
Craig says he’s very likely to recommend Shift4Shop to other businesses, and in fact he already has. “I’ve recommended it to several people that I know, and also just online recommendations,” he says.
The available support is a primary reason for his recommendation. “Because I’ve been using it for a long time, I know what’s great about having a hosted solution like Shift4Shop is that it provides all the functionality and flexibility — but it’s managed by Shift4Shop, so if there’s any issues, the customer service is there to answer any questions. They’re always very responsive when there’s been any questions or issues, and so it takes a lot of that work away, because they’re managing the platform.” This is in strong contrast to an open-source eCommerce platform, in which a merchant often has to struggle without support.
Craig also sees Shift4Shop as a great eCommerce solution for any business, regardless of their resources or experience level, mainly because it has so much to offer. “Just having the flexibility, ease of use, and functionality, especially right in the box,” he explains as a huge advantage. “You don’t need a whole lot of other services to add on to it, because it has so much just built into it. So it’s definitely my recommendation to people — people that are starting out, but even people that have been [in business] a while. It’s got a lot of power to it. It’s great.”
Craig feels as if he made the right decision by choosing Shift4Shop, and in fact, CozyCoverz.com has never used another eCommerce platform. The business has already expanded more than once, including its product line, and seems poised to take on any challenges the future may hold. After all, people are always going to need blankets — and being able to customize them is an irresistible bonus