“Everyone gets setbacks and I think you just need to work through them, take things on the chin and carry on. If you get a setback just keep plugging on eventually you will get there.” Nick from iPosters

Nick from iPosters sells posters and other printed gifts. He is based in Needham Market, Suffolk in England and he has been selling online since 2003. They’re a real multichannel seller with Amazon, eBay, Ratuken and their own website. They have over 90,000 pieces of feedback on eBay and they are a Top rated eBay seller.

Hi everyone, Nick from iPosters  shares her incredible journey on SellingOnlineToday! Download Link

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Some thoughts from the interview

“We got into it by mistake really, by accident I guess the business I was running before was there a courier business so we were delivering parcels all over the country and so we had some spare Warehouse space and at the time eBay starting up and there was another company on the same state that stocked posters or warehoused posters so we just thought I’d give it a try to sell a few on eBay and they are going from there really that was in about 2003 ”

“You have to be careful with (copyright). Our stock is ordered from a licence publishers so he knows people on eBay or other channels that will sell bootleg items or unofficial items but we always stay away from that.

“We got caught out once or twice at the start when we didn’t know anything about it and at the time the eBay are very hot on unofficial items so we learnt our lesson right at the start.

“It’s kind of a growing side of it really so there is only so much room you can have for posters they are all racked flat but even so they still take up a lot space so what we started to do we offered framing then me moved on to making them into notice board, so magnetic notice boards or cork pins boards, then other things like mugs and calendars and prints are all add on things that do well at the Christmas or Father’s Day that kind of thing”

“We have a small team here. We have Andy who works full time he’s kind of like the back bone of the business really. We have got some other people that help part time and family get roped in if we get really busy. We kept it small and manageable on the staff side of things”

“We (design) a few things, like the mugs for example are quite easy to design print and press them ourselves here. Obviously it is kind of generic things so we don’t have to worry about copyright side of things as that’s where it gets expensive so we leave all the brands to bigger companies that can produce them in bulk.”

“Customer service is a massive part of our business. Online everyone has their own opinion, they can leave you feedback even when you’re not expecting it you can get mentioned. It is very important to keep on top of customer service obviously you can’t keep everyone 100% happy but we do our best to keep are ratings high we’ve got very good feedback on eBay, Amazon and even on our own websites.”

“On eBay there is a higher percentage of people would leave you feedback than on Amazon.”

“I prefer Amazon for ease to for us put products on and the sales we get from it. EBay is a little bit harder to keep on top of the customer service and emails.”

“We sell on amazon.com, the U.S., we’ve recently put all our inventory on to Canadian site as well. We also sell on Germany, France countries like that. It’s kind of slow at the moment, we are trying to build up slowly with that. Getting the translation done for a lot of the listings.”

“There is a software called Linnworks we use at the moment. We started on channel advisor it was good but we couldn’t get it to work for us as we wanted it to so we moved to linnworks and we have been with them for several years now and we are happy with that.”

“There’s thousands of products and there are variations on top that… The SKU list can be tens of thousands long.”

“We offer a choice of frames to go with the posters. We don’t tend to do a personalised service at the moment but it is something we are looking at in the future.”

“You can confuse the customer if there is too much choice. You want some choice but not too much.”

“We used to get more (returns) but over time we have improved the packaging. For instance the tubes we use are thicker than industry standard because we don’t want returns. It is hassle for us, it upsets the customer and it costs us money. The more we spend on packaging you get the money back at the end of the day.”

“We do get some damages but it’s a very low percentage probably less than half a percent gets damaged or returned.”

“(Rakuten/Play.com) it’s early days to be honest. We were on play for several years and it always was the slowest channel for us even behind our own website but it was still a handy one to have. We are still getting used to the new platform and it’s getting the customer to know what it is as well I mean not many people have heard of it.”

“Within rules, you’re not allowed to retain emails or call up customers or anything direct like that is definitely out of the questions but we will put a flyer or catalogue into everything we send out.”

“We put a voucher code on all of the flyers that go out with a small discount on so we can track it to some extent. I think most people are quite loyal to the platform they use. We do see some people come back to us and some people have stuck with us and order regularly so it is definitely worth doing.”

“(Voucher Codes) are a little overrated. 10% is generally what we offer for free we don’t ask for anything or email address or anything like that, just to get traffic to the site. It can be something that people will spend a lot of money or time on I wouldn’t that far just a small discount it what I would try.”

“Most of the products we have we would have we already have got the images from the publishers… but if we need to do any photographs are selves we will do that. We used to do a lot more than we do now because we tend to get most of our images from our suppliers so it just cuts down on the work load as well.”

“The trouble with (social media) is that you either have got to do it properly or not at all. We just didn’t have the time to do it so we are looking at getting another company in to that side of it for us. The main thing that we do at the moment is put the new releases up on Pinterest which is good one for us because it is all images.”

“We used to use google ad words but we’ve cut that right back to a bare minimum now. The cost was the main thing for us, we weren’t getting the conversions that we wanted.”

“We do use other tools. We use a company to manage our emails called excel codes. We use another company call widget chimp to do our templates on eBay. We do use several tools it just depends, we’ll try them if they work we’ll keep them as long as they’re not too expensive and some of them we can’t do without now.”

“I’ll listen for a while and if I think that if it’s got any benefits to the business I will look into it more and see if it’s going to work for us.  We do get a lot of people ringing up or emailing with various different things that we might already be using like SEO that sort of thing and at the end of the day you just get fed up with the all the spam.”

“We had one big order came in and in fact we got a repeat order from a large retailer in the states and that one order was worth like a weeks’ worth of orders for us.  That was quite an easy one to deal with. That was a nice bonus.”

“I started a business in ‘89 that was a same day courier service. It went on for several years. Part of the reason we got out of it was that it was getting quite stressful and competition with the big carriers was getting fierce.”

“There has been a big shake up in logistics. We have found we’ve been through most of the carriers. We stick with the ones that give us the best service at a reasonable cost. The new ones that tend to come don’t tend to last. It’s the ones that have been around for a while and understand the customer win at the end of the day.  They recognise that online selling is the major way people will be shopping in the future.”

“Royal Mail are developing something at the moment, the 2D barcoding and we’re looking forward to that because everything will be tracked through the network. We won’t have people saying that they haven’t got it any more when they have, it’s rare but it does happen. Also, we will be able to put people’s minds to rest if they’re not sure where the parcel is we will be able to say where it is.”

“I’ve always thought a niche is the best way to go because then you can become more of an expert in the field that you are doing.”

“Finding something you’re interested in also helps because then you don’t get bored with your own business.”

Best advice: “Listen to what people are telling you especially if they have been in the business longer than you and there are a lot of clever people out there a lot cleverer than me, you don’t even have to be in conversation with them, just listen to them read what they have got to say and you pick up a lot of tips that way. I think networking is quite important especially at the early stage so that you can get a group of people you can call up and chat to if you have any problems or any ideas you are unsure of. It’s always good to have someone else to talk to and worth through things with.”

What do they offer?

iPosters are the UK’s leading independent online retailer for popular posters. Their customers are always hungry for new products so they feed them every week with new poster releases and other new exciting items.

How to contact Scuba Choice!

Twitter      Website      Facebook    Or email: support@iposters.co.uk

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