The joys of doing everything in house with Sam Grant from Toolstop (episode 292)

Sam Grant is the Digital Marketing Manager at Toolstop, where he juggles the needs of both the B2C and B2B eCommerce sites. Toolstop launched in 1965 and they now do 9,000 orders a month across the two sites.

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About Sam

Sam fell into eCommerce as an accident. After receiving a degree in Marketing, Sam was travelling, wondering what was next.

When he made it back home, he turned his attention to the family business. His father’s haggis and black pudding manufacturing business in the Highlands of Scotland was sorely in need of a new eCommerce site.

Doing the build for the site from start to finish was the perfect trial by fire and Sam was hooked.  

About the Business

  • Located in Edington, Scotland
  • Sells mostly in the UK and some to Europe
  • B2C and B2B
  • Both sites are on BigCommerce Platform
  • Both sites sell tools
  • Aimed at professional tradesmen, but currently growing DIY and enthusiast sales

BigCommerce Favorites: 

The Team

The team has three developers, three product information and content development specialists, an eCommerce manager, a systems analyst, a graphic designer and Sam — the digital marketing manager. 

Proprietary Development

Besides the site itself, the developers have been building out their own product information management system. Sam says it’s a great system that’s nimble and dynamic enough to handle B2B and B2C at the same time, which was hard to find from an agency.

Beside being tailored to fit, the product management software solves so many human error issues. Sam says now they always ask whether or not they can create management systems themselves in house.

When they finesse these platforms to suit their needs not only do they get a tool that’s perfectly tuned to their business, but it’s not a big leap to offer it to their clients.  

Staying In House

Removing the cost of agencies has been a great approach for toolstop. Bringing as much as possible in house has allowed the team to really customize and differentiate themselves in a saturated marketplace. 

Switching Platforms and SEO

Sam admits that SEO has been an issue with the transfer to a new platform and a big part of his role has been to ensure the SEO is brought up to speed on the site.

Sam’s been refreshing their keyword research opportunities as a main focus. If you can get your keywords right at the time of build, he says you can’t do better than that. 

What’s Up Next

Two more developers are joining, which will allow the team to build their own warehouse management system. They are excited to customize this piece of the puzzle and are ready for the challenge.

They are also excited to bring on a new UX developer to continue developing the site.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

Tool Top Tip

Growth Top Tip

  • Test your website. Test it again and then test it a third time.

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • On The Tools’ Lee Wilcox gives a masterclass in social media inc Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram
  • Kajetan Wyrzykowski Head of Content at Packhelp on B2B eCommerce business and your content strategy
  • Richard O’Connor First Mats – using SEO to rapidly grow a new B2B eCommerce business

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