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Bamford Trading: How we became one of eBay’s top sellers

 

Meet John and Gill Hewitt who are the 16th highest-trading sellers on eBay.co.uk and raked in nearly £2m this year, despite having just a £2k startup cost…

Hi my name is John Hewitt, and my business is called Bamford Trading. We’re based in Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. My wife Gill and I opened the shop 10 years ago with a simple plan to sell household appliances, after deciding we both needed a career move. Gill worked for Kraft Foods and I worked for a telecoms business.

Shortly after launching the business with just £2,000 of funding, we added pet products and baby clothes to the store but then the recession hit and more people started relying on DIY, so we streamlined our offering to tools and hardware. Now, our most popular items are screwdriver sets and spanners for car maintenance.

After a year in business we needed some help to grow the company. We didn’t have a specific problem, but I had a glimpse of the future and how it would become a problem. We had 100 SKUs and it was already complicated. I thought: ‘How are we going to keep 20,000 items when we can’t manage 100?’

We couldn’t afford to hire more people, so we started our search for an alternative solution that would take care of the logistical stuff to free us up to focus on bigger business goals like increasing our customer base and revenue.

One of the great evils of ecommerce is overselling. The most critical thing is not running out of stock but not having too much stock. So, we looked at a system that would tell us what needed reordering across all our channels. What we really loved with Volo’s software was the ability it gave us to easily list different stock to different channels, the automated invoicing and posting customer orders to our accounts system seamlessly. Volo has saved us so much time in terms of admin and it very easily saves us three heads in a nine-head business, so that’s 33% of our workforce.

“We recently became a Google Certified Shop. This builds buyer confidence and tells them we as sellers offer an excellent customer experience.”

It’s also been easy to scale quickly now that we don’t have to think too much about creating good quality listings across all the channels we’re active in – the system takes care of pricing and auto-repricing to ensure we remain competitive.

I also want to talk about bundles, where we put two or more products together. Let’s say you want a sanding machine. We’ll offer you the machine, but the Volo system also allows us to cross-promote with a bundle, so we can add six months’ worth of sanding belts for a couple of quid more. Around 50% of all our sales come from bundles; it’s that important to us. 

Today, we have almost a decade of experience and have hit total sales of more than £5m on eBay where 80% of our stock is sold. We also trade on Amazon and directly on our website. This year we’ve turned over close to £2m, increasing our sales 29% and we did all this with just nine people. I don’t think we imagined we would end up among the top sellers!

We also recently became a Google Certified Shop, which means that when a customer searches for a product on Google or if they come directly to our site, a Google Certified Shops badge pops up. Not only does this build buyer confidence and trust, it tells them we offer an excellent customer experience. And after just a month of becoming Google Certified, we’ve seen our click-through-rates increase from 4-6%, this has also had a positive impact on our conversion rates too.

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Bamford Trading: How we became one of eBay’s top sellers

 

Meet John and Gill Hewitt who are the 16th highest-trading sellers on eBay.co.uk and raked in nearly $3m this year, despite having just a $3k startup cost…

Hi my name is John Hewitt, and my business is called Bamford Trading. We’re based in Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire, UK. My wife Gill and I opened the shop 10 years ago with a simple plan to sell household appliances, after deciding we both needed a career move. Gill worked for Kraft Foods and I worked for a telecoms business.

Shortly after launching the business with just $3,000 of funding, we added pet products and baby clothes to the store but then the recession hit and more people started relying on DIY, so we streamlined our offering to tools and hardware. Now, our most popular items are screwdriver sets and spanners for car maintenance.

After a year in business we needed some help to grow the company. We didn’t have a specific problem, but I had a glimpse of the future and how it would become a problem. We had 100 SKUs and it was already complicated. I thought: ‘How are we going to keep 20,000 items when we can’t manage 100?’

We couldn’t afford to hire more people, so we started our search for an alternative solution that would take care of the logistical stuff to free us up to focus on bigger business goals like increasing our customer base and revenue.

One of the great evils of ecommerce is overselling. The most critical thing is not running out of stock but not having too much stock. So, we looked at a system that would tell us what needed reordering across all our channels. What we really loved with Volo’s software was the ability it gave us to easily list different stock to different channels, the automated invoicing and posting customer orders to our accounts system seamlessly. Volo has saved us so much time in terms of admin and it very easily saves us three heads in a nine-head business, so that’s 33% of our workforce.

“We recently became a Google Certified Shop. This builds buyer confidence and tells them we as sellers offer an excellent customer experience.”

It’s also been easy to scale quickly now that we don’t have to think too much about creating good quality listings across all the channels we’re active in – the system takes care of pricing and auto-repricing to ensure we remain competitive.

I also want to talk about bundles, where we put two or more products together. Let’s say you want a sanding machine. We’ll offer you the machine, but the Volo system also allows us to cross-promote with a bundle, so we can add six months’ worth of sanding belts for a couple of quid more. Around 50% of all our sales come from bundles; it’s that important to us. 

Today, we have almost a decade of experience and have hit total sales of more than $7.5m on eBay where 80% of our stock is sold. We also trade on Amazon and directly on our website. This year we’ve turned over close to $3m, increasing our sales 29% and we did all this with just nine people. I don’t think we imagined we would end up among the top sellers!

We also recently became a Google Certified Shop, which means that when a customer searches for a product on Google or if they come directly to our site, a Google Certified Shops badge pops up. Not only does this build buyer confidence and trust, it tells them we offer an excellent customer experience. And after just a month of becoming Google Certified, we’ve seen our click-through-rates increase from 4-6%, this has also had a positive impact on our conversion rates too.