Alasdair has been trading ink cartridges online since 2009 through eCommerce platforms such as Amazon and eBay and through his own website badgerinks.co.uk. He is based in East Sussex with a small team around him. Alasdair has recently started a bricks and mortar business alongside his thriving online business selling brands such as Canon, Epson and Lexmark.
Some thoughts from the interview
“We started in 2009 selling ink cartridges, a very competitive market of course but the one thing people are always going to need is more ink and therefore we felt that there was an opportunity there that if we could bring a better service we could get a portion of the market.”
“We started with 2 lines of ink cartridges and we are now selling 100s if not 1000s of ink cartridges.”
“I use a bespoke software that is a CMS (content management system) that allows me to control the orders themselves but it also supplies the information to Amazon and to eBay and a few other websites out there. They all synchronise so any orders coming from eBay or Amazon or the website come into the one system. It all started together but obviously the market place is Amazon or eBay because your own website is harder to find on its’ own without having some sort of big force like Amazon or eBay to draw sales in.”
“It was bespoke; it is not one that can be bought off the shelf but I am not the only one using it.”
“It is definitely done on a daily basis is because one thing we try to specialise in is the fact that it will leave the building today, your order today it will leave today. We are probably one of the few firms that will send things by first class post so you get it by the next day.”
“Well I would put that as probably being our major reason for success is that we give the best service we possibly can. Hopefully the reason why so far in the 6/7 years we have been in business we have won 11 business awards for service is that this is what people want, they want to pay their money, they want good service and that is what they get.”
“In regards to keeping everything correct; that is also vital. You should make sure that the customer gets what they order there is nothing worse than when you order something and the wrong item turns up. This is where the software is crucial.”
“Make sure that the customer is getting the right product first time, every time. That is how you retain customers.”
“If someone was thinking of getting into this business one simple rule to live by is 1 mistake is essentially costing you 10 orders.”
“The beauty of the internet is that it is open to the whole world. Everybody and anybody can sell to everybody and anybody in the world. The trouble is it does mean that there is an awful lot of competition for example ink cartridges has become very tough market place to be in as so many people have had the same idea.”
“If anything goes wrong for any reason there is no back up and in business you have to have a backup. Mine will be my bricks and mortar shop.”
“If you stop advertising people will stop seeing you.”
“I believe you need to have a bit of retail combined with online and that makes a successful business.”
“If you look at all the successful companies out there, for example Marks and Spencer’s, they were already a retail shop but they have had to go online, all of the big stores are all going online and vice versa. There are so many firms that are going backwards as well as you have to cover both markets.”
“The pillars of marketing you have to be covering at least 3, have at least 3 legs on your stool or it falls over. You have to make sure you are covering all your bases, your customer service, your retail, your online and even your social media has all got to be able to working for you together.”
“Social media is more of a service. I wouldn’t say personality it makes a difference to us but it is a way people like to communicate. How I directly affects our sales I couldn’t say, probably minimal but it is all part of our marketing mix”
“What has benefited us is getting into the international markets.”
“If you allow them to fulfil in France or Germany or Spain etc. and all your stock is in the UK then Amazon do have charges for getting the stock out that may be higher than you have put down for your postage cost so you will have to watch your figures but FBA is a good service.”
Best Advice: “Do watch how you market. Measure your marketing. You’ve always got to watch your margins… if you are not making a profit there is no point in being in business.”
What do they offer?
Badgerinks.co.uk aim to supply the best inks with the best price and service in the market. It is their aim to dispatch all orders on the same day as the order is placed by 1st Class postage, at no extra charge to their customers. Stocking both compatible and original cartridges by brands such as Dell, Canon, Lexmark and HP, if badgerink.co.uk don’t have it in stock they will get it in for you!
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