Beyond eBay: The Hello Baby Story
Trevor Ginn has built a successful business selling on eBay, Amazon, and an independant web store - in little over a year.
Hello Baby was launched in April 2008 initially as an eBay shop and on Amazon Marketplace (links below).
Online marketplaces are a great place for online businesses to start off as they are easy to setup and provide instant traffic to your products. Although the website has now been live since August 2008 sales on eBay and Amazon still make up the majority of our business.
We use the multi-channel eCommerce software eSellerPro to run our online business. The software allows us to manage our three sales channels, eBay, Amazon and the website from one central inventory and I don't think that we would be able to run our business without it. Without eSellerPro I think we would have disappeared in a cloud of negative feedback long ago! The software also integrates with other services such as Royal mail labelling and Sage accounting software which allows us to streamline our processes.
Credit cards are a lot less secure than I had realised Trevor Ginn
The most difficult things about running Hello Baby has been to do with the off-line part of the business. Creating product listings, monitoring prices and managing stock levels is hugely time consuming and very detailed focused (and something I am not naturally that good at!). We stock the smaller products like toys and drop ship the larger products. Drop shipping is great in that it allows us to access a huge range of stock which we could not afford to buy or store otherwise. However, it does create problems when the supplier is out of stock of items. Finally, I had also not realised before starting an online baby business that most of my customers would be pregnant women, who are not known for their tolerance of bad service!
Our biggest hiccup in the first year has been falling foul of credit card fraud. Credit cards are a lot less secure than I had realised and accepting online payment requires constant vigilance. It is important for online merchants to understand all the security checks which are available for credit cards so that fraud can be minimised. We lost £3500 to fraudsters, but thankfully managed to get it all back from our payment gateway.
Our focus at the moment is building traffic to our website through Google natural search. We spend a lot of time creating content and building links and subsequently site traffic is increasing steadily. We use some paid search, but for some reason the site has a low conversion rate and I want to investigate this before investing heavily in pay per click advertising. We are also very keen on social media and Hello Baby now has its own blog, twitter feed and iPhone app!
Are plans for the future are to continue to build natural search traffic through link building and increasing the targeted content on the site. We are also soon to start selling on Pixplace, the third party market place on Pixmania. We are also keen to start using other sales channels such as shopping comparison sites and email marketing.
Hello Baby's Stores
Hello Baby's Social Marketing
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About the Author
Trevor Ginn runs online nursery shop Hello Baby and provides Internet marketing advice through his consultancy Vendlab.
In his spare time he blogs at www.trevorginn.com.
Article Added: 18 August 2009
Last Updated: 18 August 2009