Rob Boyle is the Head of Marketing at Homespares, a B2B & B2C eCommerce retailer supplying spare parts, accessories and consumables for in and around the home everything from washing machines to powerwashers. They carry over 13,000 items in stock which can be supplied within 24 hours, many of which are their own-brand ranges. Founded in 1962 they now ship about 300 products a day, turnover is around £6million.
About the business
- eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only
- Product Range Scale – middle
- Located in the UK
- The B2B Website is bespoke
- The B2C website is on Shopify
- Also sell on several marketplaces
- Team is pretty small – Rob, a photographer, a marketing assistant, and 2 marketplace focused
- Graphic design is outsourced
- Channel Advisor for inventory control
- Klaviyo for email marketing
Listen to learn how Rob combines ChannelAdvisor with a warehouse system for stock control
Rob got started in eCommerce in 2007, when he was working for a packaging company that only had a one-page website for information on who they were and how to contact them. The company had an insulated box that was easy to shape, store, and dispose of, which Rob thought they needed to get out to everyone because it was a great product. So he found a platform online and started selling insulated boxes.
Listen to learn the advantages of having only one or two products.
Selling Their Brands on Marketplaces
Although ideally everyone would buy from the Homespares website, the team felt they needed to grow and get their product out there. Trying to get traffic to their site would be a slow journey, so they decided to get the product out wherever they could and see what worked and what didn’t.
Homespares has their own own brand, also called Homespares, as well as a brand they bought called Unifit, both of which they also sell to retailers and wholesalers on Amazon and eBay. This allows other people and their marketing skills to sell the product. Homespares supports those retailers and makes sure to never undercut their prices.
Updating the images of 13,000 products isn’t easy. To accomplish this, Homespares started working down through categories. They completed the titles, descriptions, and images in one category, then moved to the next.
Listen to learn how categorically redoing images is beneficial for the customer experience.
B2B vs. B2C
The engineers and shop owners who buy from the B2B side of the business prefer very matter-of-fact descriptions. They already know what they’re buying, they just want to double check fittings and model numbers.
For the B2C side, Homespares fluffs descriptions up a bit. They explain more about the parts and what would fit where, and give reassurance to the customer that they’re buying the right product.
Most Awesome Thing Right Now
Homespares going back to the basics and talking about the history of the company, how ethical it is, and their great customer service, telling the story of how it’s been a family-run business since 1962 and the owners are still in charge.
They want to think about what the customers actually want, what they are looking for, and how Homespares can help them.
Adding B2C to Your Existing B2B
For a company considering adding B2C, Rob recommends first seeing what your competition is doing. Check their websites and how they are making it work. If you can’t find anyone else in the space who has made it work, it may not work for you, either.
Listen to learn how to utilize similarweb.com to compare websites.
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eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting by Lynn Grabhorn
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Youtube videos
You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…
Tool Top Tip
- The Google Analytics app, including Analytics Intelligence
Start Up Top Tip
- If you’re just starting a new website, start collecting email addresses and building up your email list.
- Learn to understand what’s happening with your store. Don’t just farm it out to an agency.