Expanding to £4m a year via international marketplaces with Trevor Ginn from Hello Baby Direct (episode 333)

Trevor Ginn is the founder of Hello Baby Direct. Founded in 2011 they sell via over 20 channels globally and achieve over £4m a year in sales.

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About Trevor

Trevor started in eCommerce about 12 years ago when he was still working for Auctioning4u, the UK’s largest eBay trading assistant that was working for the likes of Dixons to sell their excess inventory on eBay. He was helping retailers sell their products online and eventually decided that he could do a better job at selling. 

Since the company he was working for was going bust and he just had a kid, he felt that eCommerce was a reasonable market to get into. He went for selling kids’ stuff as his niche and this was how he became a retailer.

For Trevor, getting into eCommerce has its advantages which include the ease with which you can start selling and being able to start on a small scale. 

One downside he mentions is the huge competition, but also acknowledges that everything else is competitive as well.

About the Business 

  • Based in Saint Albans which is north of London
  • With worldwide customers
  • Sells other people’s products but will start making its own products at some point
  • Magento platform
  • Also uses online marketplaces to sell such as Amazon UK, EU, France, Spain, Japan, USA, Canada, Australia; Fruugo and eBay

General advice on selling through Marketplaces

It’s a good idea to use marketplaces because it’s where a lot of the customers are. 

Marketplaces charge about 15% to be on their platform which can sound a lot but Trevor says you could also be spending the same amount or more doing marketing strategies and running your own website.

They are also particularly good for international trade. As an example, Trevor mentions being able to sell a few thousand pounds on Amazon Japan which would have been otherwise difficult to do and reach those customers. Amazon is also a catalogue site and this means that the items you sell in one country could easily be made available in another.

From this point of view, selling on marketplaces also makes sense because the speed to market is much faster.

Managing multiple platforms

While Trevor has been mostly doing everything himself, he’s recently hired people to help out.

Although he’s been in the business for more than 10 years, he still feels he’s just starting because there are things he could be doing better at. Being on various marketplaces needs dedicated attention, and hiring the right people has given Hello Baby the chance to improve in certain areas and taken a lot of pressure off him.

Staying on track

Growing to £4 million annually across multiple channels — balancing his own website and the marketplaces — is difficult to do. Here are the key ways he has kept himself on track:

  • Persistence
  • Certain love of eCommerce

To get to the next level, Trevor knew he had to get people on board. Doing it alone doesn’t get you a second perspective on things so you might still have unsolved problems even after being at it for so long. He has recognized that he needs to hand off tasks he’s not good at to people who are better than him in order to improve the business.

Software systems

Trevor uses Linnworks which is an eCommerce sales platform.

For him, platforms such as this provide amazing value because of the amount of time it saves you. If you plan to be a substantial business, you need something like this to help you manage everything you have to do and run it properly.

What’s coming up next for Hello Baby Direct

Some of the things Trevor is working on at the moment:

  • Get better with repeat customer base
  • Better level of customer service by providing more information about the products being sold by Hello Baby
  • Doing better on social media
  • Selling new verticals

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Use marketplaces
  • Do international trading

Tool Top Tip

Growth Top Tip

  • Multi-channel e-Commerce
  • Use a system like Linnworks to organize sales

Interview Links

Related episodes

  • A curated marketplace with social media at it’s heart, Greg Spillane from Fancy
  • When wholesale becomes marketplaces and B2B eCommerce with Ken Kline of VHC Brands
  • Tony Preedy shares top marketing advice from his 25+yrs experience inc Littlewoods and Lakeland

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