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We caught up with one of our customers, Richard Hall, who is a specialist climbing equipment retailer. Shortly after setting up his physical retail shop he knew he wanted to sell online to offer his customers another way of buying - conveniently. Richard also wanted to appeal to and find a larger audience worldwide. He now has not only one, but two Shopify web stores and sells both B2C and B2B. Having recently moved into bigger premises and growing over 70% in the past two years, we asked Richard what advice he could share with other retailers. Check out these great tips from Richard.

1. Supply chain

“You need to have a steady reliable supply chain in place. From finding suppliers at a good price to sourcing new products and transporting goods. Having logistics like these in place makes setting up an ecommerce store much easier. You’ll already have an inventory list and you’ll know where to get products from quickly if you ever need to.

2. Sales history

“By starting up my shop in-store first I already had a set of loyal customers and had a sales history. It’s good to have an idea of your strengths and weaknesses - what sells well and what not so much. This way you know what to list on your online store to begin with and what inventory to promote.

3. Competitor analysis

“It’s not all about your competitors. You should look into your competitors and what they get up to - just to be aware of your surroundings in the market. I believe you shouldn’t base your business around the competition. Building a loyal customer base and offering a good price for a good service is what's important.

4. Your ecommerce platform

“I started my ecommerce store back when I started with Brightpearl, at the time they also offered a web store functionality. Having since stopped offering this service due to concentrating on the back-end stuff, I started on Shopify as Brightpearl offered a pre-built integration. Firstly, I really like Shopify for a number of reasons but the fact that it's easy-to-use makes it almost fool proof. Secondly, it’s important which platform you choose to sell online - make sure it’s the right one for you and your business operations.

5. Concentrate on growing your business

“Using software like Shopify and Brightpearl makes retailing easier. They’ve been built with us in mind so you may as well put them to good use. Brightpearl helps me to keep my back office organised and has given me the structure and stability to make growing my business manageable. Shopify helps me extend my offering and makes selling online straightforward. The connection between the two means I’m in control of my business. It gives me the time to concentrate on finding ways to grow the business. Try to avoid wasting time by using retail software to its full potential.

6. Selling B2B

“Going into selling B2B isn’t for everyone but you may consider having a slightly different focus via another online store. With a platform like Shopify it’s really easy to set-up another store to appeal to a different market. Maybe you just want to trade online under a different business name to appeal to a different demographic. A lot of businesses sell slightly different inventory to a slightly different demographic under a different business name. Essentially it’s the same business but the differentiation helps you identify a different target audience.

“Once you're already selling online it’s easy to replicate the process. I run two Shopify stores to appeal to two very different audiences, at a very minimal extra cost. I use the same Brightpearl account for both stores so I can see how both sides of my business are doing from one central system - it’s great. By the time the order comes into Brightpearl you’ve almost forgot where the orders have come from. My inventory is always accurate and I have a stable platform from which I can grow my business efficiently. In the past two years since I started using Shopify I have grown by about 70%, a lot of this has come from the B2B side of the business which has grown really steadily. I’ve moved into bigger premises which is really exciting. I love the fact I'm in control of my business and I’m able to watch my business grow.”

We hope you enjoy the read and we encourage your comments, input and questions.

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About the Author

Grainne is the Head of Campaigns at Brightpearl and leads the execution of Brightpearl's global campaign strategy. Having worked in the retail tech space for five years, learning more about how technology can help retailers grow is a huge topic of interest.