Gone Fishin’

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  • Client: Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters
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Challenge:

It was pure passion that fueled Andy Kurkulis’ and Jon Uhlenhop’s desire to launch Chicago Fly Fishing Outfitters in March 2001. Their simple premise: Everything fly-fishing delivered with exceptional service, expertise and humility.

They obviously had the right idea because before long, they’d outgrown two storefronts. Finding a larger retail space was one imperative. Extending their reach beyond the Chicago metropolitan area was another.

Solution:

The answer? E-commerce.

Chifly’s e-commerce site was developed by WCC’s web and programming wizard in late 2004. Luckily, the fish were biting. The owners had a new revenue stream even in the most brutal of Chicago winters.

Since that time, the site has undergone two major overhauls, the most recent in November 2011. Today, you can purchase a wide array of products, sign up for free lessons (fly tying is a favorite), purchase a fishing license in five states, check out a blog post, book a trip to Patagonia and check water and stream levels in three states. Best of all, it’s a content-managed site, so changes can be made by the staff on the fly.

What’s exciting to our guy is the programming: the new site is written in C# with .Net MVC as the framework. Says he, “I used some cool jQuery libraries to link the site to Google Picasa, so that Andy could easily upload photo albums that he already had organized on his computer. The site also uses jQuery in other areas to liven it up.”

What’s exciting to owner Andy is that e-commerce continues to grow at a rate of over 25% year to year and now includes an affiliate program. E-commerce generates retail traffic, too, since local and regional customers check the website first to see’s what’s in store on Clybourn Avenue.

That’s Marketing 101: fishing where the fish are.