Featured Shop: Jit-Pak
Wednesday, 3 July 2013 | Cate
Jitpak.com is one of the leading UK suppliers when it comes to protecting your equipment in waterproof cases. We primarily sell Peli Cases and Peli Storm Cases which all come with a Lifetime Guarantee. They are virtually indestructible and have even survived tsunamis and earthquakes!
What were your reasons for starting an online shop?
We were primarily a manufacturing business that was established about 18 years ago and specialised in customised foam protection operating out of two factories. However, it became apparent that there was a whole new world out there on the internet and we decided that we wanted to capture our small part of it before our competitors did! We have been selling our cases online now for about 8 years and have seen a continued growth in online sales year on year.
What were your reasons for choosing Bluepark?
We were with a different platform when we first started selling online and were quite happy with them initially, but it soon became apparent that we needed more features that they did not provide. In particular, we needed a loyalty points scheme and the ability to offer individual accounts with individual pricing structures. After extensive research, we decided that Bluepark could meet all of our needs and more.
It was important for us to have a provider that was focused on customer service and having joined their forum as a guest, it was apparent that all their customers felt great loyalty towards them. That coupled with the fact that if you broke down the costs, Bluepark were much better value as theirs is an “all in” price with no hidden costs.
Did you design your site yourself or did you use an external designer?
Initially we had our own design but let’s be honest, we were naïve in the early days and believed that “if we built it, they would come”. How wrong we were! We quickly invested in a customised site which saw immediate improvements in conversion rates. Having a little bit more experience now, we are happy to do our own graphics etc. and some basic coding but for anything “techy”, we will always go to the professionals.
How did you find the process of setting up your site on Bluepark?
Having established ourselves quite firmly on page 1 for Google, we were quite nervous about dropping down the rankings but accepted that we had to take a long term view and were prepared to take the risk. Once we had made that decision, it was easy to transfer across. Bluepark “copied” our existing design over and did all the “techy” stuff and then it was a question of learning the system. It took me a couple of long days to get my head around the basics but slowly everything started to click. We got a lot of help on the forum and did a lot of searching through old topics to try and learn as much as possible. When we could not find an answer then we would get on the phone to Bluepark and they would walk us through it.
Have you seen your online business grow since moving?
We only made the switch to Bluepark in the New Year so I guess it is still early days. However, although we have dropped significantly in Google (as expected), our conversion rates have improved greatly which is a clear sign that our customers like the site once they arrive on it. It is now a question of getting all our products back up the Google ladder which we are slowly doing. Having said that, we are still on target with our overall sales so I am not complaining!
Do you have any advice for anyone starting an online business?
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My main piece of advice for anyone starting out is to consistently offer outstanding customer service. It is this that will set you apart from your competitors because let’s face it, anyone can open an online shop and get some customers. BUT unless you give outstanding customer service then you will not benefit from their repeat business. I would hazard a guess that over half of our sales are from repeat customers so we make sure that they are not given any reason to look elsewhere. So basically, it is how you react when there is a problem and whatever you do, do not just ignore it!
Also, join as many forums as you can as they hold a wealth of information and experience that is free and will save you both time and money.
Lastly, do not give up! It is a long road with a lot of learning curves and sometimes it will not go your way but just remind yourself that if it was easy, then it wouldn’t be worth doing!
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