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Created on 23.09.2022

Selling online and in store can pay off

Simon Stöckli has been running various online curtain shops for several years. The business idea came to him while moving house. In the interview, he provides the recipe for success and explains why he sells online and in store.

You successfully sell tailor-made curtains via How did you come up with the idea of launching an online shop?

Simon Stöckli: I’ve moved house a couple of times and searched online for new, matching curtains – each time, unfortunately, without success. That’s how I got the idea for the online shop. A little later, I joined forces with my current business partner Stefan Erzinger and got the idea off the ground.

What did you know about the online curtain market?

It wasn’t really an idea, just that there was no comparable service available at the time. It wasn’t even clear to me whether there was any demand. But startups always entail a certain amount of risk. It’s simply a matter of taking the plunge into self-employment.

What was your approach?

We did lots of groundwork for the online business. We started by searching hard for product suppliers. These were mostly family businesses, and we still maintain close ties with them today. One example is warehousing, which we were able to outsource right from the start. This had to be done because of our lack of financial resources. We then needed a good marketing concept. My agency experience in online marketing was clearly an advantage. Choosing suitable payment options was also part of the groundwork.

What do you particularly appreciate about your cooperation with PostFinance?

When it comes to payments, PostFinance supports us in all areas. I particularly appreciate the proactive support. If there are innovations or improvements, they contact us and we implement them together. The cooperation is based on partnership.

You brought marketing experience, and your business had knowledge of the textiles industry. Is setting up an online shop only something for professionals?

In my view, it’s not realistic to set up an online shop without any prior knowledge of marketing or web development. You either need to get the knowledge through a business partner, choose easy-to-use shop systems or switch to marketplaces like Galaxus, Brack or Etsy.

What’s your recipe for success?

We always focus on the customer. Whether it’s a self-explanatory website, product images with all the details and free shipping of fabric samples: we make the customer’s life as easy as possible. This is called user-centered design. We put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and reflect on what it takes to make a decision. This leads to a high level of customer satisfaction as well as good reviews on Google and Facebook. In this way, the business grows by itself. It simply takes time.

Have you also made mistakes? What would you do differently today?

I would be less hasty expanding abroad. We opened an online shop for Austria after just one year. This step required enormous resources. The market is unfamiliar. It costs much more, the prices are lower and the laws are different. We should’ve focused on Switzerland and launched the online shop in French-speaking Switzerland earlier.

You recently opened a showroom in Baar. What convinced you to make this move?

Quite simply because there’s a need. Some customers want to touch the products in the shop and seek advice. Others don’t need help and just want to do everything quickly online. Needs are very different. We want to be fair to everyone. The sales outlet now allows us to cover the whole market. And it’s worth it. Depending on the market segment and demand, the combination of online shop and in-store sales can be profitable.

And finally, what tips would you give to someone who wants to start an online shop?

It’s vital to be able to offer all common payment methods in the online shop. I’d also choose open-source software for the shop system or an inexpensive scalable alternative. In the best case scenario, the shop system should still function five to ten years down the line. I also recommend consistently outsourcing as much as possible. In this way, you can fully concentrate on your marketing and sales. In our business, external partners take care of the accounting, logistics and customer service.


Simon Stöckli is the founder of The link will open in a new window Together with his business partner Stefan Erzinger, he now runs several online curtain shops. As a trained web p5ublisher, the qualified technical salesman knows his way around online sales. He came up with the business idea while moving house. The gap in the market, good preparation and a bit of courage were key factors when launching his first online shop.

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