Jules from Present Provider sells a large plethora of present and gift ideas for all the family and started her eCommerce business 10 years ago in the green hills of Hertfordshire with her husband and father in law. Present Provider is still today a family run business with a small team and a friendly family feel.
Some thoughts from the interview
“About 10 years ago, we had 3 very young children. My father in law had just been made redundant. I was originally a graphic designer but it didn’t really fit in with having young children… It was a good time to try something new. Online shopping then was just coming up, obviously having 3 young children I was trying to do a lot more shopping online. We were trying to find different things to put online and make a good shopping experience for customers.”
“After research, things we were trying to find online to buy for ourselves. We did research what was available at that time and hence what we have now.”
“I do all the banners and that sort of stuff myself, that’s a bit more of my original background so that’s easy for me to do.”
“We first started off getting our site up and running and that was the first thing we had. Obviously, it takes time to build up a site and for people to find it so initially both my husband and father and law dabbled in eBay and said “let’s try and put some of our things on eBay and get a bit more interest on that platform while we are building up our other one.” So that is what we did. We put some of our things on eBay, then amazon followed then the others like Rakutan has followed since.”
“Through go, we have been on there quite some time and we have a few things on game as well. They approached us about a year or so ago.”
“I just find eBay a lot easier to navigate personally.”
“Sometimes you just want to talk it over with somebody. You can with eBay whereas amazon everything needs to be messaged really and sometimes I struggle relaying what I need to say over an email.”
“The ad words that we do could be any number depending how much you do and when you do it and what words you are putting in. Everyone moans about the different market places but they’re out there and helping people. You’re not having to pay for the advertising so I guess the fact you have got a percentage to pay, people are finding youR items, that’s worth something.”
“Certain things maybe sell better on other platforms as well. You can kind of see where that’s going too with the different market places. Some things we haven’t sold on our site very well but we continue to sell quite well on another platform. So we have cut them off our site and continue to sell them on eBay or Amazon.”
“Ebay, we sell worldwide on there. We use webinterpret to list on other European and world wide websites.”
“It’s a bit up and done but at least you are appealing to the people who are looking on their local eBay. Not everybody maybe will look on the .com or .co.uk, they’ll be looking on their one especially if they don’t speak another language. We get a reasonable amount of sales on their platforms.”
“We are just looking into that actually. We only advertise at the moment for rest of the world items that are below 2kg because that is the restriction that royal mail have and obviously the sizing so we are normally quite strict on what we say we will ship to the rest of the world. The couriers are always hounding us for business so we have recently got a new courier that we’re using that possibly the prices that they are quoting us for overseas postage, we could actually send a lot more things.”
“Always check all your sizing and what the couriers and the likes of Royal Mail are putting as their boundaries.”
“We do use (social media) probably not as much as we should.”
“I have mixed views of social media. When we started the business social media wasn’t really around at all. It’s sort of come on and obviously all our competitors are doing it so you feel that you should be doing it. Equally I find it difficult to let somebody do it on my behalf, because the wrong wording or the wrong picture could make or break you maybe.”
“It’s all stuff we are buying in at the moment. We try to look for that something at the trade fairs or whenever we’re out that would look good, because it needs to look good online… innovative and new items that we haven’t seen on the high street. That’s the sort of goods we are looking for to sell.”
“Online selling) seemed to tick all the boxes for being able to work from anywhere, we have an office and warehouse now but originally we started off at home, and if I was somewhere else I could still log in and see if we had any sales or answer questions and gave me more flexibility.”
“It was a family business to begin with… we have a team of people that work for us as well. We are only small and we try to keep the family feel to the business”
“We are pretty lucky with returns. We try and describe all our listings and picture them as well as we possibly can. Ultimately, you can never tell if someone what they visualise they are going to get. So there are always those times when someone says it’s bigger than I thought, it’s smaller than I thought, it’s a different colour than I thought. So, we get a few returns but I think generally we’re pretty lucky we don’t get that many.”
“I guess really do you research on what you’re going to sell. What other people are selling? Has the market been flooded with it? Is there loads of them around? Also, when you start buying you stock, really get to know your suppliers. We have some very good relationship with a lot of our suppliers. There is always that time where the stocks gone wrong for some reason or another and you really need that one thing because you’ve advertised it and you haven’t got it. We’re really lucky with our suppliers that generally if we ask them please can you just despatch that for us that one time because we are out of stock they will generally do that for us.”
“We pride ourselves that we have good customer service here.”
“At the moment we are using channel grabber to manage our stock.”
Best advice: “If it’s not going well, kill them with kindness. So, if we’ve got a really stroppy customer or something is not going well I just think of that and try to be as absolute calm and polite as I possibly can and generally that carries me through.”
What do they offer?
Based in the UK, Present Provider bring their customers the very best selection of gifts for him and for her, as well as kids, at home and outdoors. They have an eclectic mix of ideas for all occasions including Weddings and Anniversaries, Birthdays, Christenings and for welcoming a new baby to the family.
How to contact Present Provider!
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