Gary Amstutz has been running eCommerce businesses since 2005. Serving the B2B office supplies market in South Africa. For Gary it all started with RubberStampSA.co.za, and he now also runs BusinessCardSA.co.za, NameBadgeSA.co.za, PlanPrintSA.co.za and StickerandLabelSA.co.za. Across those 5 Gary and team serve over 40,000 customers across South Africa.
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About the business
- eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only
- Product Range Scale – niche
- All on WooCommerce, built by Coffee Creative
- Based in South Africa, and sell locally
Getting Started in eCommerce
Gary first got his start in eCommerce back in 2005. He earned a five-year degree in law then took a gap year to travel the world and learned a number of valuable lessons doing various odd jobs along the way. He returned to South Africa with every intent to get back into the legal field, until he ran into a friend that opened up a PostNet Franchise and inspired him to get into eCommerce. This led to a 15-year journey as an online store owner. Soon enough he was able to hire a store manager, which allowed him to build on multiple streams of income and eventually led to the ownership of five online businesses.
Listen to be inspired by the initiation and growth of a career in eCommerce.
Making Customer Service a Priority
Gary and his team have a growing customer base of over 40,000 customers, most of them repeat customers. The reason for this is that his team puts customer service first, which has enabled the team to cut down their average response time on the live chat to 20-25 seconds and their average email response time to 45-60 seconds. The initial response time with a customer has the power to set the tone for the rest of the relationship and should not be overlooked. Another way that Gary and his team ensure customer satisfaction is by keeping all their products except for web development in-house, rather than outsourcing. This ensures that all products are going to be delivered with the quality standard that is promised to the customer.
Maintaining Separate Domains
Gary’s five sites exist on five individual domains. Though many speculators have observed this practice as overcomplicated and strenuous, Gary argues that keeping everything separate allows each product to work for more of a niche market and that it improves SEO. If someone searches for a place to buy rubber stamps, they are more likely to go for the site that specializes in that product, rather than the site that offers a wide range of products. SEO is improved because of the ability to target keywords more specifically and through the ability to put backlinks on each separate site so that they all lead to one another.
A Journey to Find the Perfect Platform
The micro due diligence process involves the psychology that goes on in the background of each customer experience. This can involve anything from listed reviews to navigability to color schemes. The customer does not usually recognize that these miniscule factors are influencing their buying decision, but they all come together to subconsciously make an impact. Gary went through a number of platforms when deciding which one would fit his needs, and he knocked sites like WordPress off the list because it failed the micro due diligence test. He ended up choosing WooCommerce over Shopify because he discovered his ideal web developer and found that the opportunity for customization greatly exceeded Shopify’s.
Listen to learn the importance of looking at multiple platforms to find the best option for your business.
Most Awesome Thing Right Now
Gary is looking into creating an eCommerce community in South Africa, initially in the form of a forum that will allow an open platform for “eCommercesphere” discussions to take place.
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eCommerce Book Top Tip
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Everything else will fall into place if you can get a handle on your people, customers, infrastructure, and culture.
You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…
Tool Top Tip
- The Slack app is very user-friendly and enables highly efficient communication.
- Help Scout is both a customer service and a sales tool that enables customer interaction to appear less robotic and more human.
- Zopim Live Chat neatly integrates all analytics onto one dashboard, which is fantastic for anyone using multiple domains.
Growth Top Tip
- It’s all about the people. You’ve got to find a team that is a good fit and listen to what your customers are saying in order to grow.