Tom Smith started Window-tint.co.uk seven years ago, selling car window tinting kits on his PrestaShop website as well as eBay and Amazon.
Why did you start selling online?
I started the business in 2010 after I had looked into applying window tints to my own car and I found that you could buy rolls of tint from America. I started to cut them down and sell them for a profit. Then I came across software that enabled me to cut the window tint into patterns for different car windows, so from 2012 I started to sell precut window tint kits.
I was working as a web developer full time, so I had the skills to create and launch my own website and I started the business in my spare time. My product is quite niche, so selling online made the most sense because it allows people to find my products from all over.
I sell on eBay, Amazon and my Prestashop website now. I would say about 50% of my sales come from eBay, 40% from my own website and 10% from Amazon, though I only started selling on Amazon about a year ago.
What have been your biggest challenges selling online and how have you overcome them?
When I first started the business I was working full time and ordering supplies was a big problem because I couldn’t be there to accept the delivery. I ended up renting a storage unit and they could receive the deliveries when I wasn’t there.
One of the main ongoing challenges is the demand for fast delivery. Expectations are quite high and it can be hard to meet them. We offer a named day delivery service so that, if they want to, customers can choose when it’s suitable for them to have the item delivered.
What are your top recommendations for people starting an ecommerce business?
To start off it’s important to identify a niche product and put all your efforts into that one area, don’t spread yourself too thin. Customer service is also really important. Communicate with your buyers, let them know when their order is processed and when it’s dispatched. And, give them realistic expectations about delivery times, if you give a rough estimate then they’re more forgiving if it’s a little delayed. The new Royal Mail delivery confirmation has helped us a lot with delivery problems.
How do you market your business?
We mostly rely on organic search engines, as we have pretty good SEO. We’re currently looking to expand our Facebook presence, and we’ve also started doing some ‘how to’ videos on YouTube, which have proved quite popular.
Why do you use Zenstores?
We started using Zenstores Dispatch because we wanted to use the 2D barcode labels, and our existing software didn’t offer them, we needed something that took up less time as well. I looked at different providers and Zenstores Dispatch seemed to do exactly what we needed - because we’ve got three different channels, combining them all into one place has really helped.
I like using Zenstores Insights to monitor which is our best selling product, and also to compare this month with the previous one so I can check if the business is going in the right direction.