Colm from Ramboo Tools is based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. He has a very exciting business selling all types of tools. Ramboo Tools has been trading online from 2007, which is over 8 years. Ramboo Tools a small family business that Colm runs with his sister and small team that comes in and out to help.
Some thoughts from the interview
“Initially got into selling online back in 2007/2008. Primarily our business is aimed at wholesale to builder’s merchants, timber yards and tool shops. We specialise in hand tools specifically for plasters, builder’s tilers and concert workers.”
“Around 2007/2008 the construction industry in Ireland took a bit of a nose dive and as a result of that we found ourselves moving on to online selling to shore up our existing wholesale business”
“The very first listing we put on line was through eBay. We began with stock that we had quite a large volume of and eventually we moved to a position that we created listings for all our popular lines. We created them on eBay, we worked wholly with eBay for the first 3 or 4 years of selling online. We then expanded a little bit and began creating listings on Amazon 2011/2012. We moved from there to creating our own website. Probably in the last 18 months to 2 years that rambootools.com as such as a stand-alone website has been functioning.”
“It was a gradual thing, initially it was really only a handful of products we put on. We then decided that we were going to make a sustained effort to increase the size of our eBay selling at the time. We did take quite a bit of time and put the effort in to increasing the variety of products we have.”
“We use a third party piece of software that allows use to sync the inventory across all channels. We did have 3 or 4 years ago, we were doing as you say, we sold something on one we would go in and manually adjust quantities on all the channels. That was a nightmare, we were constantly, on a daily basis, you were over selling. It just created so many headaches, and we knew we had to find a solution where by the stuff would be synchronised. We looked at several.”
“We use a platform called channel grabber. We’ve been using them for 3 or 4 years and find that from the syncing of inventory across channels it is absolutely top class.”
“At the beginning those issues aren’t something that you really envisage. You’re thinking at the beginning how can I get sales, excited about getting sales, can’t wait until get this thing going. You do very quickly realise the issues around the practicalities around actually running an ecommerce site across various channels can be quite demanding and require very close attention to be paid to the overselling of stock. It still does happen the odd time… and that in itself can be a challenge. It reflects very poorly on you if you haven’t got the thing to send to the customer. We would always try very hard not to let it happen in the first time and if it does you tell it to the customer, you explain to them and you find 99 times out of 100 customers are understanding. Lift the phone and give them a call.”
“Something we would be looking towards would be full synchronisation across all and our physical store.”
“From the point of view of where we get the most customers our experience would be eBay. There is a ready-made customer base, it’s almost the default go to for someone that is looking for in particular in our industry looking for hand tools. They go to eBay almost by default.”
“My own personal preference between the two would be eBay. It is much more user friendly, it’s simpler from a selling point of you, it has a much easier to use listing system. The experience we have had that their buyer support or customer support, if there is an issue, if you are not sure about something, there is a number you can call you get through to a call centre abut Dundalk somewhere so your nearly always speaking to and Irish person on the other end of the phone which is nice. Very, very simply they can resolve most problems for you.
“Amazon is seems to have more intricacies. There are a lot more requirements set out to be a successful seller on amazon. They are much more stringent they require about a product, some of it relevant of it some of it not so much, but you have to put it in there anyway.”
“Going forward, our own website would be where the effort will be concentrated.”
“I would say that both are important, your own brand whether it’s your own range of products or the brand of your business. Its important people recognise the name, its important people associate a certain type of product or a certain level of service with the brand. The other well-known brand names, it takes it all in our experience. It’s necessary to have the bigger brand names as part of your business as it attracts the customers. Although the margins may not be quite the same you still have to have them.”
“We would use Facebook quite a lot and twitter to an extent. Facebook we have found to be very useful in raising awareness in our brand and product range.”
“We have done a little bit of advertising with Facebook ads and Google ads. It has be very limited in what we have done and it is probably something we would be looking towards expanding on and doing a little bit more on going forward.”
“In any business in any industry, it’s not the product it really is the people.”
“People do business with people and that to me is absolutely key.”
“If there is a problem, lift the phone. If there is a issue, lift the phone. I’m not a fan of hiding behind the emails. It can be easy for a keyboard warrior to make a mountain out of a mole hill very, very quickly. Communication is key.”
“Not everything is going to be done as you would do it, but I think if you accept that it will be done to a high standard, it may not be done the way you would do but as long as the results the same it’s ok.”
“Nike sum it up well, just do it. Try it out.”
“I don’t buy into the thought that you have to spend an absolute fortune of money to have an ecommerce business. The technology that is available today, it can be done with very little money. Try it, baby steps to begin with. If it works, happy days do more of it. If it’s not working tweak it, the smallest change can make a difference.”
Best advice: “Do what you enjoy in business and in life, as I say the accountancy wasn’t for me. My view would be, if you not enjoying something, cut it, get rid of it, move on to something else. As far business goes, don’t do it for the sake of doing it, make sure it works. There is no point of going through the motions and being a busy fool. We are all guilty of it from time to time. It’s important to catch yourself on reasonably early if you find yourself going down that path.”
What do they offer?
Ramboo Tools is a family run business with over 70 years experience and pride themselves on providing customer service that is second to none. They supple plastering, building and tiling tools for 40+ years direct to the trade and wholesale. Ramboo Tools hope to meet all the customers buying needs and are only an email or phone call away should the customer have any questions or requests.
How to contact Ramboo Tools!
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