Space shuttles, fighter jets, tanks, battleships. At Free Time Hobbies, the list of model kits and accessories goes on and on.
Since 2004, the online hobby store has been a one-stop shop for scaled model building with a specialization in resin and plastic kits. Free Time Hobbies offers hundreds of model kit styles for all ages. The store’s inventory comes from all over the world, including China, France, Ukraine, as well as the U.S., which gives the business an edge, Free Time Hobbies Owner Thompson Clark said.
“We stand out because we have such a wide variety of products that are tough for most people to get a hold of,” he said. “In most cases, we’re the sole supplier for the products that we carry.”
Free Time Hobbies’s ship model kits are among its most popular products. Three of the best-selling ship model kits are a 1/200 scale of the Trumpeter USS Missouri (BB-63) battleship, 1/350 scale Hobby Boss USS Alaska CB-1 Alaska Class, and 1/350 scale Blue Ridge Models USS Light Cruiser Cleveland CL-55.
Looking for something different? Free Time Hobbies also serves sci-fi fans with model kits for some of the most iconic structures in popular culture. They include a 1/20 scale of the MechatroWeGo x Evangelion Unit-02 and Asuka Langley, 1/1000 scale of the Star Trek U.S.S. Excelsior, and 1/50 scale Star Wars Resistance X-Wing Fighter.
Free Time Hobbies processes about 12,000 orders a year. The company ships 90% of its kits and accessories throughout the U.S. and 10% internationally. Clark said he knew Free Time Hobbies would be a successful business when he saw the response to its selection.
“It comes down to the customer, the customer loyalty,” he said. “We're meeting a demand that very few other hobby stores, even online, in the U.S. can fulfill. It's the history of the business.”
Another factor in customer loyalty is a seamless checkout. In October 2020, Free Time Hobbies installed payments platform Fast’s one-click checkout button. With Fast Checkout, customers can purchase products in just one click.
The Free Time Hobbies team had been disappointed with its previous payment processor.
“I started looking around, and I was just poking around the BigCommerce app store and saw Fast Checkout,” Clark said. “I'm all about making things super duper simple, and said, ‘I'll give it a shot.’”
And Clark wasn’t disappointed.
“Out of the gate, about 7% of our sales for the first few weeks were done with Fast,” he said. “And now we're up to 15%, or even as high as 20%, some weeks, where customers are using Fast Checkout.”
Having Fast Checkout plays into a long-term Free Time Hobbies goal.
“It’s all about conversion rate, how you can grow it and reduce cart abandonment,” Clark said. “Our conversion rate is about where I want it to be, but I think we can still improve that, and I hope that Fast helps us get there.”