Apricot Lane Boutique Launches E-Commerce Site with National Style Expert Lilliana Vazquez Lending Fashion Tips as Guest Editor for ‘Unique Boutique’ Now Online

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Apricot Lane Boutique has expanded the success of its bricks and mortar franchise system to online with the launch of the company’s new website, http://www.apricotlaneboutique.com. The online presence will continue to offer a unique boutique experience to its customers who will enjoy high fashion, on-trend looks at affordable prices.

Apricot Lane Boutique Website Home Page

"I receive so many personal requests from women all over the country who want me to help them find the perfect outfit, and now I have the opportunity to do just that thanks to Apricot Lane," said style expert and TV personality Lilliana Vazquez.

The Apricot Lane Boutique site features editorial looks, beautiful product and lifestyle images, a live chat and easy check out all while offering items that are not otherwise available in physical store locations throughout the country.

NATIONAL STYLE CONTRIBUTOR:
Style expert, TV personality and author of The CheapChica's Guide to Style, Lilliana Vazquez, has partnered with apricotlaneboutique.com to serve as their guest editor for Fall/Winter 2014-2015. Known for her enviable style, Vazquez will curate her own boutique, filled with hand-selected items that reflect her personal style and fashionable picks that are a must for any fashionista.

"I receive so many personal requests from women all over the country who want me to help them find the perfect outfit, and now I have the opportunity to do just that thanks to Apricot Lane," Vazquez explained.

SOCIAL MEDIA PAVING THE WAY
Apricot Lane was developed by franchisor Country Visions, Inc. who over the past several years, has supported a pilot program with two franchisee partners based in Peoria, IL and Dallas, TX. Through a Facebook sales presence created to build the consumer base, the team discovered substantial new sales resulting from e-commerce, while social media numbers jumped drastically, soaring from 5,000 combined followers to over half a million in approximately a year. These two franchisees, owned by mother/daughter duos, will be managing partners of the new corporate online website. By embracing the ‘fast fashion’ culture of buying from downtown Los Angeles, new merchandise will be showcased continuously online, creating a demand from the site's shoppers. All purchases from the new website will ship out of the distribution center in Peoria, IL.

“By offering personality, immediate comments and constant updates to our social media sites, we have built relationships with each and everyone of our followers; they feel like they know us,” said Jena Green, co-owner of Apricot Lane Peoria.

Green, in operating partnership with Allison Scott and Lauren Young, sisters and co-owners of Apricot Lane Dallas, have embraced the affinity their shoppers have with online communication. “Our clientele spends the majority of their time on their social media pages,” said Scott and Young “So we reacted to that and increased our sales online drastically by reaching out to them, creating and expanding our social media niche.”

Unlike other retailers, Apricot Lane updates their inventory arrivals constantly, often posting between 20 – 30 new items a day. When products are announced as out of stock, the team polls their fans as to their interest in the item and issues pre-buys for products, creating a demand before inventory is even in stock. This creates a continuous demand for products, increases interactions with customers and leaves them anticipating the next post.

“We have a unique relationship with our online customers,” said Green. “We are personal shoppers for our guests, reacting to their requests and re-stocking items they create a demand for! We also poll our shoppers located across the country by showing them items while Apricot Lane buyers are on the streets of LA’s fashion district, asking ‘Hot or Not?’ Watching the seasons hottest items fly off the 'cyber-shelves' is incredible.”

LOCALIZED FRANCHISEE SUPPORT:
To encourage a fully integrated marketing approach and system-wide franchise opportunity, Apricot Lane structured a unique profit-sharing model, which distributes 10% of total gross sales to participating franchisees. One unique upside for independent franchisees is the “no cost” opt-in with the corporate e-commerce program to participate. Sales are not limited to local zip codes, enabling franchisees to market to family, friends and customers who may not be located in their specific market, but still want to “shop local.”

“We worked hard to provide an e-commerce solution that builds the brand while providing our collective customers the best possible experience online,” said Ken Petersen, CEO and founder of Apricot Lane. “Our customers will enjoy a personalized online experience, while maintaining their relationship with their local boutique.”

ABOUT APRICOT LANE AND COUNTRY VISIONS, INC.
Apricot Lane is a member of Country Visions, Inc. franchise, specializing in offering a high variety of fashion-forward styles, accessories and gift items at affordable prices. The franchise offers a new mix of merchandise both online and in-store, and offers customers the ability to build a unique style. Approaching system wide sales of $50 million and growing at a pace of 20-30 stores per year provides new resources and opportunities system wide that will keep Apricot Lane Boutique on top as a fashion trend leader and top retail franchise.

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Stacey Graham
SGPR Group
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