Matthew Bennett works for his uncle’s business, Holland’s Country Clothing, selling outdoor clothing on their Shopify website.
When did the business start selling online and why?
We started selling online in 2008 because the country markets and shows that we would see our clothing at were dying down as a result of changes in the economy. People just weren’t spending enough so we needed to diversify.
My uncle went to college part time and learnt how to build a website, then once he’d got it all set up it snowballed. When I joined the business I helped to build a new website, and now we’ve just moved our site over to Shopify - this has allowed us to use a lot of third party apps that are adding a massive amount of functionality.
What have been your biggest challenges selling online?
A big issue is making shoppers feel comfortable on your site so that they trust you and place orders through your site. It needs to look secure and professional to give customers confidence.
Efficiency is the other big challenge, you need to speed up all your processes, be very organised, and get orders out as quickly as possible. That’s where using Zenstores has really helped us out.
What advice would you give to people looking to start selling online?
Don’t borrow money to start your business, and don’t spend loads on paid advertising, Facebook ads etc - grow the business organically. Start small, and find a really good product range, then build on that slowly.
How do you market your business?
Now that we’re more established we spend a reasonable amount on Google ads. We also use social media; we run Facebook giveaways, and use Twitter and Instagram, though they seem a little harder to get into. With all our online marketing it’s just one click and then the shopper is on your website, it’s invaluable to our business.
Which Shopify plug-ins do you use to run your business?
- Edify: Allows us to edit orders if a customer changes their mind, and puts the inventory back in stock when an order is changed or cancelled.
- Google Shopping: Syncs the Shopify store with Google Merchant Centre so you can list products on Google Shopping and run campaigns.
- Mailchimp for email marketing
- Notify me: This automatically emails us when a product has gone out of stock.
- Order deadline: When a customer goes on any product page they see a countdown timer to let them know when they need to order by for the item to be dispatched that day or the next day.
- SimplyCost: Handy for working out your costs, you can input your costs for all the products and calculate your profit margins.
- Zenstores: Shipping software and order management.
Why do you use Zenstores?
We’re really impressed with Zenstores, it’s a massive improvement on how we were working before, so it’s well worth the money. We used to handwrite our picking lists, now we have Zenstores and we can print off an automatically populated picking list, that saves a lot of time. We also spent a lot of our time downloading CSV files of our orders before, and now we just have all our orders in Zenstores ready for us to create and print shipping labels.