Jamie Anderson is a TV and radio producer, director and writer and Managing Director at Anderson Entertainment. Which also means he’s in charge of the Official Gerry Anderson eCommerce store – home to all the Thunderbirds, Space 1999, UFO, and Captain Scarlet merchandise you can imagine! Jamie launched the store in 2014 and now do over 1,000 orders per month.
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About the Business
- Son of the late Gerry Anderson and head of the Gerry Anderson Entertainment
- Started the Gerry Anderson Shop to sustain the company between gigs
- Starting from scratch Jamie and his team created not only the platform for eCommerce, but the merchandise itself as well.
- Heavily segmented by users who are typically loyal to specific shows rather than the Anderson Brand
- Shopify Platform
- Remote team
How Jamie got into eCommerce.
Jamie’s late father Gerry Anderson passed away in 2012 and Jamie wanted to carry his work on. But, he says, TV and film is a particularly hard business to be in for those who aren’t backed by a major studio.
Without that financial support, generating consistent revenue in between projects can be extremely difficult. With a widespread and loyal fan base and no merchandise to speak of, Jamie thought that an eCommerce shop could help with cash flow for the larger business.
He did a slow start out of the living room, selling t-shirts and caps with the company’s logo and quickly grew into more complex merchandise crafted for each of the unique Gerry Anderson shows.
Jamie himself is in Whales and works with a remote team. The team, with the exception of customer service, is located around the UK—from Oxfordshire to Belfast—and Jamie says that they are mostly part-time workers who are at least partly motivated by their passion for the shows.
While the team and their customers are primarily in the UK, Jamie says they do sell all over the world. The US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are their biggest customers, but Jamie says he’s been surprised by the range of places they receive orders from.
The Gerry Anderson Shop started on WordPress with Woo Commerce but quickly switched to a Shopify Platform. Jamies favorite widgets are PushOwl for push notifications, Stamped.io for reviews and HotJar for page tracking and behavioral analytics.
One that he is experimenting with now is GemPages which allows for a great variety of page creation and redesign without changing the Shopify theme. Another crucial part of their business is email and Jamie says that Klaviyo works beautifully with many of these widgets and systems. It interfaces with Stamped and sends out an automated reminder to customers asking them to send in pictures of themselves with the merchandise they received.
Jamie says that they had massively undervalued social proof, but are catching up with this Stamped/Klaviyo powerhouse.
Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Jamie says he is beginning to learn how to delegate jobs and admits that customers are often happier dealing with his colleagues.
So many entrepreneurs find it difficult to delegate but are well served by recognizing that often, someone else can do just as well if not better than they can at particular jobs— especially as the business grows.
Marketing is so unique to individual businesses and the challenge with the Gerry Anderson Shop is how many different customer segments there are. For each show in the Gerry Anderson Universe, there are specific fan bases that speak very different languages.
Klaviyo, Jamie says, has made it possible to segment better than ever before but he says that they are constantly improving with a long way to go. Well beyond segmenting by fan base only at this point, Jamie says they are deep diving in an effort to better understand the nuances of each broader customer segment.
If you are wondering how to begin segmenting, Jamie advises starting with the customer— by looking at what a specific person is buying and putting yourself in that person’s shoes you’ll have a better shot at understanding what motivated them to buy and what might implore them to buy again in the future.
Jamie is a big fan of allowing customers to explore their brand through whatever media channel the customer likes best. Jamie says he got the bug as a podcast listener in 2015 but didn’t consider it as a possibility to help the business until later in 2017 when he started toying with the idea.
Celebrity fans and people who have worked on the shows has made the job of putting together interesting content a bit more obvious, but he points out that making great material doesn’t rely on having access to celebrities because humans just enjoy hearing conversations between other humans.
The podcast has exposed people to the Gerry Anderson Shop that normally would have never known about it. Jamie says he never expected the podcast to be a huge hit, but at 20,000 downloads, it has been a great channel for the brand.
Ultimately, the podcast has made the business more accessible to customers and has increased trust in the business. It has also created a sense of community and camaraderie for Anderson fans.
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eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Experimenting. It’s easy for people to get stuck in their ways and the way in which they engage with customers can become formulaic. Jamie says that some of their own best successes have come from silly experiments.
Tool Top Tip
- Slack—Jamie banned internal email a few months ago and went entirely to Slack.
Growth Top Tip
- Owned Markeing—Invest in what you can own. Having an email list that allows personalization and is not in the control of someone else. Nurture, look after and love your email list.
- Mailchimp and Shopify no longer integrating – what you need to do about it
- Project Repat’s Nathan Rothstein on how a focus on email sign ups led to $4million sales in 2015
- Takeaways from eCommerce Expo for the smaller retailer. Email capture, CRO, personalisation, Applepay reviews and more
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