Matt Sawyer runs Supplemented.co.uk, a food supplement brand which combines high-quality UK manufactured products, with the the scale and cost efficiencies of selling online.
This is what Matt has to say about Zenstores:
Zenstores has streamlined the whole dispatch process for us. Similar orders can be easily grouped together, postage printed and marked as being dispatched in just few clicks. It has saved us a significant amount of time every day.
Matt has used a background in marketing to develop a successful online business, find out how he did it:
Why did you start selling online?
Entrepreneurialism runs in my family. My Dad left school at a young age and spent years building-up his own automotive business, so I guess I get it from him!
Taking a long term view, focusing on product quality and being obsessive about customer service will always lead to impressive and sustainable growth.
I have a long background in both medical marketing and digital marketing, so it just made sense. I’m a firm believer that although online competition is huge, taking a long term view, focusing on product quality and being obsessive about customer service will always lead to impressive and sustainable growth.
Get those two factors right in any business and you’ll be halfway there. The other half depends on hard work and a bit of luck.
What have been your biggest challenges selling online, and how have you overcome them?
Our two biggest challenges have been dealing with expansion and also price competition.
I’ve always had the view that it’s better to scale slowly in a sustainable way than to rush into expansion, so we have already been through several moves as the business has continued to grow at an ever increasing rate.
People are happy to pay for quality and providence
Competition is a harder one to deal with, but long term we have focused on quality branding and customer service that means we stand-out from our competition. People are happy to pay for quality and providence, especially when it comes to their health, you just have to make sure that you can accurately convey that in your branding.
What are the key factors that have helped your shop be successful?
Selling on different channels gave us our initial growth, eBay and Amazon are two huge markets. If you can get your offering right then they are capable of driving your initial growth.
After that we were able to reinvest that into additional products and developing the marketing of our own web presence.
There are still lots of things that I want to do however, to further develop our packaging for example and I’m planning another large range increase from next year.
What are your top recommendations for people starting out?
Firstly you have to ask yourself who would buy your product and why. Knowing your market, what motivates them and where they make their buying decisions online is vital. Once you know who and where, then you have to work out how to connect with them.
The bigger and more comprehensive your range, then the better your chances of initial success
Secondly, scale is important, there are so many things online that are influenced by scale – SEO, PPC, multichannel. The bigger and more comprehensive your range then the better your chances of initial success will be, but there is always a balancing act with investment in stock and warehouse space.
You should spend time working out what the important elements of a range are in your industry – what are the more popular products, and then spend time reinvesting to grow these as much as you can.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store?
The store has been running for several years now and has been through multiple incarnations, rebrands and different platforms.
We used to run on a Magento platform, but have recently rebranded and moved to Shopify which seems to be much easier to work with - I can get on with growing the business rather than worrying about infrastructure.
I can get on with growing the business rather than worrying about infrastructure
For emails we use Amazon SES with Sendy which makes sending bulk emails effective and is much cheaper than standalone applications like Mailchimp.
Why do you use Zenstores?
At its most basic level it’s a huge timesaver. We sell in multiple channels, on our own website, and also on Amazon and eBay.
By the nature of our range we have lots of different orders of many different weights and sizes. Having to log into different platforms, and then process these orders through Royal Mail Dispatch Manager was taking a crazy amount of time. It simply wasn’t efficient or sustainable.
What do you do in your spare time?
I don’t have much at the moment! Other than exercise, I also enjoy cycling and manage to do around 150+ miles each week. On the less healthy side, I also enjoy eating out, cooking and make a fantastic Oreo cheesecake!