Steve Molyneux runs The Vitamin, selling premium high street health products at very competitive prices. Selling on eBay, Amazon and their own website for over 10 years, Steve has a wealth of experience to share about the importance of building good relationships with your customers and spending enough time on your business.
Why did you start selling online?
Before we started selling online we had a shop for 20 years, and then we decided we needed a change and sold the shop. Not long after that we realised we wanted to do something else. My brother sells wholesale vitamins, so we decided to try selling them on our own website. We’ve been selling online since 2006 and it wasn’t very successful to begin with. We started with our own website and had a slow start, but then we tried eBay and it took off from there. Now we sell on eBay and Amazon, as well as our own website.
What have been your biggest challenges selling online, and how have you overcome them?
We’ve had some issues with our deliveries, quite a few go parcels have gone missing over the years, even when we send them recorded delivery. You just have to keep chasing them, and send out replacements to customers to keep them happy.
Why do you use Zenstores?
We’ve tried other systems for managing orders and printing labels but they weren’t as good and were more expensive. We used to look at all the orders on our separate channels, copy and paste and print separate address labels - it wasn’t very efficient and the parcels didn’t look professional at all. Zenstores is tremendous, now we’re able to save a lot of time and the support is great - we always get a response to any questions we have immediately.
What are your top recommendations for people starting out selling online?
1. Build good relationships with customers
If you build a good relationship with your customers then they’ll always come back. When our customers first order a pack of 30, they receive it and realise it’s good quality and a really good price, then they always come back again and again and buy hundreds. We also listened to our customers when they said they didn’t want to always buy supplements in pots every time, now we sell refills for the pots - repeat customers are so important.
2. Put the time and effort in
Be prepared to put in a lot of time into your business. I spend a lot of hours keeping on top of inventory and managing the business, a lot of weekends and evenings. I’ve always been my own boss, and just worked and worked to make sure everything goes well.
3. Try new products
We always try out new products as well, often recommended or requested by a customer. If they sell that’s great, and if they don’t we just do a special offer on them. You always need to be looking for new ways to add and grow the business.