With over 15 years in the business Andy has perfected his selling technique on online platforms such as eBay, Amazon and his own website. Printer Basics is located in Cheshire UK and was originally a mail order service but was updated to a eCommerce website as the times changed!
Some thoughts from the interview
“My background is in traditional mail order. In the 90’s when traditional mail order was beginning to die and the onset of the internet I was working for quite a forward looking business that decided that they wanted to migrate from traditional mail order and the 11,000 page catalogues to the online business.”
“I left them 4 years ago when I had an opportunity to join H2eCommerce because the skills I have gather over the previous 15 to 20 years in relation to managing remote retailing and home delivery where very much in demand for new and emerging online companies. So I joined H2eCommerce 4 years ago and I have been working on the printer basics side of the business 4 years ago.”
“It’s printer consumables. Printer Basics also sells printers, stationary and always looking for new opportunities for products in and around the printer consumable market.”
“It started off with the website and then started working with Amazon and also eBay.”
“We have got an in house IT team that help us marry the online site with the market place side as well. We utilise channel advisor to get the orders into our system from the marketplaces.”
“The thing about channel advisor is that they are constantly developing and innovating which is why we chose to work with them. So instead of having to worry about are we going to keep up with the next generation of ideas and processing of orders etc. they take away that headache. You are paying them for the privilege but the fact that you don’t have to worry about innovation and development, they are doing it on their own.”
“For us it enables us to operate on a single system internally. By them translating the orders from Amazon and eBay into our own internal order management system. From a warehousing perspective it just makes it easier. The orders come off at the warehouse and they don’t know whether it is a direct order form our website or from either Amazon or eBay.”
“The website is channelled through our own software into that order management system. That software has been developed in house.”
“Anything up to a couple of thousand orders a day at peak.”
“There is a large warehouse but you must remember ink cartridges are fairly small so they don’t take up a lot of space.”
“About 20% of business in Printer Basics is actually business to business.”
“We sell a little bit into France using the French market places and certainly channel advisor have been a really good source of information to helps us open up to other markets. The other thing about them is that they have an annual conference and that annual conference is a great place to meet other retailers and people from within the marketplace so it is a useful source of networking.”
“In terms of pay per click we operate with a pay per click agency and do quite a bit ourselves. So in terms of the SEO side of things we try to look after that in house but we have an agency that we utilise and act as a consultant on pay per click because of the ever changing Google rules.”
“The long tail product descriptions are the more reasonable and convert at a greater level so that is what you really have to aim for.”
“The more traffic you can drive to the website; the more people are going to find you naturally. A number of people will actually buy initially from Amazon or eBay but realise they are buying from Printer Basic and the next time if that name resonates then actually they might search for Printer Basics and go straight to the website. Obviously the cost of acquisition is lower.”
“The customer is really a business’s greatest asset. It cost quite a lot to attract a customer in the first place, either through paying a fee to a market place or a pay per clock fee, but once you have got that customer if you can actually get them to buy form you again and again and you can keep them coming back and giving them a good experience then become a lot more profitable. We certainly pride ourselves on customer service. We try to put the customer at the heart of everything we do. Having spent so many years in traditional home shopping or mail order it’s an art from in capturing the customer, keeping them buying from you again and again, and actually marketing them in such a way that they don’t even realise that they are being marketed to. Repeat customers are the ones you make more profit on.”
“You find that sometimes you are selling the initial product to a customer at very little if any profit. The calculation is if somebody buys from you and they have a good experience they are going to come back and obviously you can make full margin on repeat orders. It is something that supermarkets do regularly.”
“There is a generation now that have never had or have had very little mail addressed to them so there is a great opportunity for online retailers to actually use personalised drops to people, particularly people who have unsubscribed from emails.”
“If we have an email campaign we get a response rate of people purchasing probably just below 1% but to a target mailing with an offer we are getting a response rate of 13 to 14% so although it is more expensive it more that covers the cost of marketing.”
“Just get started and don’t delay it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
Best Advice: “Look after customers and ensure that the customer is at the heart of everything you do because without customers you don’t have a business.”
What do they offer?
Printer Basics has the highest quality inks at the lowest price, offering dozens of branded ink cartridges from leaders such as Canon, HP, Epson. Printer Basics also stocked with toner cartridges, paper, PC accessories & LED bulbs.
How to contact Printer Basics!
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