The BIG, commerce Podcast

The road to e-commerce mastery, with Tom Armenante from GTSE.co.uk

October 03, 2023 Calashock Commerce
The BIG, commerce Podcast
The road to e-commerce mastery, with Tom Armenante from GTSE.co.uk
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Get ready for a masterclass in e-commerce as we invite Tom, co-founder of GTSE, on a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of running a successful online business.

From finding a unique niche in cable ties to managing a massive product data catalogue of 5,000 SKUs, Tom shares the challenges and achievements in his journey. You'll gain vital insights into how GTSE stays on top of search engine rankings and optimises its website conversion rates.

We're not just about business strategies; we delve into the human side of e-commerce too. Tom opens up about GTSE's dynamic marketing techniques, with a keen focus on customer service. Hear about how they tap into AdWords, email marketing, and customer reviews to keep their message relevant for different customer segments.

Plus, learn about the crucial role of understanding the lifetime value of customers and maintaining a constant communication line with them.

In our final segment, we pick Tom's brain on the e-commerce tools that have proven instrumental for GTSE. We get into the weeds on testing methods and how tools like Microsoft Clarity help identify customer pain points. You'll discover how to gather feedback from diverse sources and how to make your website customer-search-friendly.

Lastly, we discuss how GTSE caters to both B2B and B2C customers, maintaining a cost-effective website, and optimising order value. Join us for this enlightening conversation that's packed to the brim with e-commerce wisdom.

Speaker 1:

Hi, welcome to the Big Commerce Podcast. Hello, welcome to a brand new episode of the Big Commerce Podcast. I'm your co-host, luigi. I'm really excited to have this guest on the show today. Tom is a co-founder of GTSCcouk and I've been wanting to get Tom on the podcast for some time so he can share some insights on his journey and the success of his e-commerce business. We cover the how and why Tom and his business partners set up the business, the importance of offering a high level of customer service, how GTSC manages products, product data and inventory, and how it continues to increase its search engine rankings and website conversion rate. I really hope you find valuing the episode and enjoy it as much as I did recording. Hi, tom, how are you?

Speaker 2:

Hi Luigi, I'm not too bad, Thanks yourself.

Speaker 1:

Not too bad, thank you. How's Chesterfield today?

Speaker 2:

I frankly don't live in Chesterfield anymore. It's a town I grew up in and went to school my business partner there, but now I live in Leeds. Now or office is basically Manchester, so we're in two of the biggest cities in the north.

Speaker 1:

So I should have said how's the north today? Good, well, so we've known each other for some time, but why don't you introduce yourself to our listeners and then your business?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, sure. So I'm Tom, I'm an anti. I'm the e-commerce director and co-founder at GTSE. We are a trade supplies business that specializes in consumable products and cable ties, tape, drill bits, solder, all sorts of more smaller things that businesses tend to use repeatedly to get jobs done, and home users as well. We started out quite a few years ago now, back to 2014, 15 as go cable ties. So quite a niche entry to the market as a bit of a hobby between myself and a friend I went to school with and his parents and, yeah, the business just grew from there.

Speaker 1:

So how did you identify to start off working with cable ties? What was it that sparked that idea?

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, it was not my idea, it was my business partner's parents' idea. They found them a useful product really and thought that they'd be a good thing to sell. There's lots and lots of applications for them. The niche is a lot more digitally savvy now. There's a lot better websites, but when we back, when we started, the competition was a bit behind the curve, to say the least, and I think to a certain extent it's still for trade and B2B in general. It's still not quite there yet and I think big commerce, more than anyone, is doing a massive push to try and take advantage of that.

Speaker 1:

It works better with the American pronunciation when they say niches bring riches. And obviously us as an agency, we specialize as well. But I can't disagree with that that you just choose something, you choose a vertical and just go all in and it does eventually bring riches. So what are the pros, from your perspective, of just focusing on a vertical?

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, I think there's pros and cons to start with, I guess, but the pros for us. We really kind of developed that kind of product knowledge and expertise in the area. My background is digital marketing. I know a lot of people in the SEO world and the e-commerce world and my business partner's background was in finance.

Speaker 2:

We didn't know that much about cable ties when we started out and it's not the most complicated products in the world, but they do have their niche requirements, and just learning and being that specifically focused on a product area gave us an advantage over people that sold a lot broader range at the time.

Speaker 2:

And then a kind of similar thing with tape as well. We really kind of drilled down on tape to where a kind of huge seller of duct tape and electrical tape and the sort of the nuances in these product ranges are quite surprising sometimes. And then also kind of if you are more focused on one specific niche, it does let you sort of optimize from an SEO point of view or a web usability point of perspective a lot more than kind of the compasses can, who are kind of targeting a lot broader array of products, and we really took advantage of this and things on our website, like cable tie selector that's got drop down sizes and colors and just how we sort of kind of laid the products out for someone who would be sort of browsing a huge range of cable ties.

Speaker 1:

And there's the rebrand that you said. You changed the main some time back. Was that part of the kind of expansion of the product catalog?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that's kind of on the negatives of being targeting too much of a small niche. We kind of felt that from a branding perspective we'd kind of backed ourselves into a corner and having cable ties in the domain it's helpful from an old school SEO perspective, but I think from a more branding point of view it really kind of limited what we a customer's perspective of what we could do as a brand. And we searched how in low for a new brand name, a new domain, and I think GTSE really stood out for us as something that kind of rolled off the tongue and also it's a good domain. It's four letters as well, which is it kind of adds the usability of it and it's easy for people to find.

Speaker 1:

So you started off with cable ties and predominantly, or you also supplied a trade, so the trade market traditionally needs a lot more data to make an informed decision. So I'm guessing kind of the way that you also manage a product data is a bit more complex. There may be a DTC brand that sells apparel or a beta brand that sells, maybe, a supplement. So how, what challenges have you faced? I'm presuming you've faced some challenges in terms of managing that product data, because it can't be, because how many products have you got in your catalog?

Speaker 2:

So now we've got about 5000 SKUs in total products, parent products even probably about sort of two, three thousand. We've got one of our issues and complexities and the reason that we ended up on big commerce when we migrated off our initial platform, which was Magento, was the complexity with those variants. Shopify at the time just didn't lend itself to a product that had black cable ties, have like 65 plus variants and it was really kind of made it overly complex to use that platform. And so big commerce is functionality and kind of features really Really sort of help to sort of more easily accommodate the sort of how we wanted to display the range.

Speaker 1:

And cause is it more flexible in terms of how you can manage a product data yeah, exactly, and then you could you know each, each size.

Speaker 2:

Each size of cable tie is very different and so you know, if you're looking at a hundred mil cable tie compared to a you know a meter long one, then it's it's, it's gonna be massively different in weight, price, how many can fit in a box, which are all kind of important aspects.

Speaker 2:

We need to store, store on the commerce platform. I think in terms of managing that product data we as a company haven't done anything to groundbreaking with. There's been a lot of excel use and lots of different spreadsheets. We kind of how big commerce now that kind of stores. You know all of the descriptions and all the main bits of information and if we need any of that for anything else, we can just export it from there and use it that way. Probably not the best way of doing it, but finally, you know, pins are very expensive piece of kit, obviously have Huge advantages, but I think just the way that we do it in terms of storing the majority of the core information in just Various different spreadsheets kind of works in a fashion and we kind of utilize one drive within the business and so everyone can kind of edit spreadsheets live, which we find quite valuable.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think that collaborative element there, because one of the risks you run with kind of having excel spreadsheets been emailed around, this kind of like you know, trying to manage diversion control by having a centralized kind of tool that's online to something, you've got a you know I guess a semi Form of a you know pin within your excel spreadsheet and that's got the audit trail as well.

Speaker 1:

So if anything works for you know again, you know you said that pins can be quite expensive and they do hold value nothing gets Is when you start having a broad range of products that maybe Share different types of attributes, where you know maybe you're managing digital assets as well, maybe you're also multi regional, so you gotta have different languages and so on. That's, I think, where you can start seeing those complexities and where maybe a pin starts to come into it's you know it into its own. But I think you know what you're doing for the time being, if it works for you and it's kind of refreshing in some respects Whilst we've had you know pin providers on on the podcast before you know kind of saying the dangers around excel spreadsheets, does it. You've got that process kind of nailed and everyone knows what they, what they need to do, how it works.

Speaker 2:

yeah, and that was localization, was one one hour really consider the pin, because we we've got the pretty big presence on Amazon as well and we have with selling sort of Amazon, the ESI, t, etc. So all mostly European markets and managing the content, while Amazon translates Some of it automatically to a certain degree. With with we've kind of improved the content of the long and, yeah, managing that has been quite complex and, yeah, having a kind of a collaborative share, a version of excel, has been really helpful for people to sort of jump in and out and kind of add it things together.

Speaker 1:

So got 5000 skews give or take, and I'm guessing inventory management can be a bit challenging as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean it's just we hold a lot more of our core lines and we kind of through trial and error and sort of consolidating the supply chain. We've kind of learned that what works and what doesn't really, and we are merchandising team does a sort of a fantastic job in making sure we've got enough stock of the right product, especially in Amazon as well. So we kind of fly through stock in Amazon. We do all of that through FBA and it's just about, you know, then, making sure there's enough stock in each sort of region of Amazon to sort of mean that we don't sell out because we know if it's on our website, we can manage it a little bit better by saying to the customer you know, this is an estate when we're getting new products in and just manage expectations a lot better. If it's Amazon, you know you'll start losing rankings pretty quickly if you don't have the stock of that product.

Speaker 1:

And kind of in terms of the Excel spreadsheet and the systems and so on. I'm presuming that over the years you've kind of developed them and iterated and put in some Whether they're formulas or processes, to kind of make sure that you've got the data you know. Just talk us briefly through kind of what kind of information you manage within those Excel spreadsheets and you know what are maybe the things that you've you've done to make them work for your business.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we've.

Speaker 2:

We have kind of moved a little bit on from the Excel spreadsheet to a certain extent.

Speaker 2:

We now have an ERP system called NetSuite, which is pretty common in the industry, is one of the big names, and that does a sort of a much better job of kind of handling stock in multiple locations as well and gives us, gives us, that traceability and visibility that we need.

Speaker 2:

So it's not quite PIM, it's kind of a different job, but it kind of helps us, especially in terms of kind of finance side. So we originally bought it because we were just outgrowing zero that we were using before from a finance perspective, and you know when you've got items the same item all over the all over the world that we bought at different times you know you need to have a kind of a blended cost price or a piece of software that will hold that information and so. So for that finance as much as for the stock management it was, it was kind of a smart move for us. We probably could have lasted a bit longer, but I think going through that initial pain of onboarding to a massive piece of kit like that was was kind of worth it now. Now all the dust has settled.

Speaker 1:

Short term pain for long term gain.

Speaker 2:

Yes, very much, so there was lots of pain.

Speaker 1:

And so you've. You know, obviously a bit of yourself and each got a name in the market for what you do. You've been successful over the years. So let's talk a bit about marketing and you've obviously got your history from a digital marketing perspective. You supply different segments trade, btc and marketing is all about segmentation. You have to tailor the message to the customer. So what kind of strategies have you implemented or what kind of things have you done to try and tailor your message to your different customer segments?

Speaker 2:

It's a really good question and I think it's it's a massive thing for us because our website, you know, we've heard the B2B customers because they kind of stay with us for a long period of time and they they tend to do bigger orders because of the bigger jobs that they're working on the.

Speaker 2:

The issue is there's no real way, especially with AdWords, which is our biggest kind of advertising spend, as it is, I imagine, with everybody or most people there's no real way to differentiate if you're, you know, you're kind of bidding on that keyword level If one person searches for cable ties and he's looking for a cable, a pack of cable ties, versus the next person who's looking for a box or even a pallet.

Speaker 2:

And so, yeah, we had to be sort of quite smart about looking at the lifetime value of these customers and kind of what we need to do to kind of bring in the bigger customers that will fill those B2B gaps and then, once we've got that data in just keeping in contact with those customers and kind of keeping a communication strategy with them via email marketing or via our sales team that is suitable for each different type of customer. Really, and you know some of the bigger trade customers. They require a lot more comms with different members of their team than some of the middle size customers. You know tradesmen who just want a box tape or a box cable ties every so often, where you know an email to them from sort of our email marketing platform will kind of be enough to yeah, be enough to do the job.

Speaker 1:

So do you have any email kind of automations in place in your? What do you and marketing systems use?

Speaker 2:

Clavier.

Speaker 1:

And have you got that set up with kind of automations and flows?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, got all the fancy, fancy mod cons and features in it. Yeah, and I think it's fantastic and the ease of it as well is just, you know, phenomenal like to be able to kind of target a customer segment and sort of, you know these customers who are this product contact them again in X months time to see if they need to need it to be topped. Up or something like that. We do a lot of that Because you know the nature of our products is they're usually things that people will need again when they're kind of when they've used them up the first time.

Speaker 1:

And kind of you spoken about kind of communication strategy and I think also your level of service clearly very high as well. How does that fall into, I guess, the marketing? So how much emphasis do you place on on the level of service? You know, does it, do you, I guess, discriminate through a word, but you know, between different types of customers?

Speaker 2:

No, not at all. I think you know the smaller customers are as valuable as the bigger customers, that they they kind of. And actually the other thing we found as well is a lot of big companies will go and do a small order just to test the product, and so you know, if you're not being sort of as courteous and as good with every customer, you might end up sort of annoying a bigger fish that you kind of didn't realize was a big customer in the first place. And I think you know we kind of need every, every customer. We try and get as many people to convert on the website as all e-commerce businesses do, I'd imagine, to, as possible.

Speaker 2:

So I think just that consistent level of customer service is a huge thing for us, and I think that can be seen across our reviews as well. Like, we use reviews, the IO and the solid 4.9 out of five sort of thing. And then we're you know we're very keen about making sure that we maintain that level of service, especially as we grow in scale as well. We've not yet brought a kind of ticketing system on board, but we're looking at a gorgeous or not? Yeah, that that seemed like a really good piece of kit, and they have a integration into big commerce now as well, which is which is very handy and clave.

Speaker 2:

And clave yeah different systems.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Kind of no big secret. I'm a massive fan of gorgeous and I think you know the fact that they're built free commerce as well helps. They're not like a ticket, like a generic ticketing system that you know. They've just got everything set up for different channels.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was.

Speaker 1:

You've done a demo, but I just think it's a phenomenal product.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was incredibly impressed when I had it demoed to me recently, I think, the fact that you could even the extent of when a customer rings up, it could bring up their all their recent orders in the side panel of the platform and you could just click a button to reorder the last order and integrate straight into big commerce. Like that functionality isn't even big commerce, so it's always, yeah, very impressed.

Speaker 1:

So you spoke about kind of conversion rates, because obviously that everyone's working towards trying to increase the conversion rate. So what other strategies do you utilize to try and make sure that you're constantly increasing that or at least maintaining your conversion rate?

Speaker 2:

So we do a lot of testing and sort of making sure that we we're with, you know, traveling the user journey of the website ourselves and kind of try to pick up everything that a customer would find as a frustration.

Speaker 2:

And then on top of that we use we use Microsoft clarity, which is kind of like your hot jar sort of thing, which cause the sessions, and then we can see the direct frustrations that the customers have had themselves and then and then that really helps us to kind of narrow down onto specific sort of obstacles and issues with the sites that need that need addressing.

Speaker 2:

I think the other thing as well is like internal meetings with it, even within the business, and just you know people that are not kind of directly, directly associated with the website and the usability of it and saying you know, what do you think of the website when you, when you sort of navigate it? There is someone from our finance team, I think the other day said you know they had a look on the mobile site and they found it really hard to find the phone number and kind of. We are, we already have a kind of project in place to redo our whole mega nav and have on the mobile version. When you click on the menu, the mobile number will be at the bottom there and yeah, I think, yeah, you kind of everyone kind of looks at it a slightly different way. So kind of the more opinions you can get, the better is usually a good thing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I mean nothing wrong with kind of getting the feedback, because obviously some things you can kind of say well, you know, we disagree. Maybe it's just for that individual, you know, for that individual person frustration. But just going back to your point about not every idea is a good one. Yeah, always you know where's the value in that could be that you know that that individual maybe had a bad experience somewhere else and and obviously they're using that as a reference point. But with Microsoft Clarity I think it's still underutilized tool.

Speaker 1:

I mean I, you know I get implemented on on merchant sites when, when, when we're speaking to them, especially, you know, even before we start redesigning, because the amount of merchants I've spoken to that just have the website in a way, because they think the customer journey is and that's the thing that they feel, or they believe that the customers should be doing, should be navigating and so on, and it's not to get systems like hot jar or clarity in place that you actually say well, the data is saying something completely different.

Speaker 1:

You know the data is saying that people are not clicking there or maybe they're using search a lot more than you think. We see that quite often. Actually, in a lot of websites that we now launch have like an enhanced search solution, because you know we'll be coming a lot more impatient. We want to be able to find the product we want and that may be a you know, a side effect to send me Amazon effect, I guess where it's kind of just do everything through the search and we just now conditioned to just go straight into the search rather than navigate.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely, and we've been found with our site as well that people who use the search are so much more bought into the user journey and so much more bought into the brand as well, and, like you know, they kind of the presumption is they must feel like they've already exerted some effort so they're more likely to kind of follow through to the end unless you really pissed them off somewhere. We tend to see a crazily high conversion on people, with people that have used site search, taking that into account with the designs as well. So on our mobile site at the moment On the header there's just a magnifying glass for the site search. And we were talking, so we use ClayVoo for site search, another big name within the industry and they said you know well, why don't you have a kind of a just a search bar at the top so people can see that you know that's the web search straight away? And, yeah, it's a bit of a no-brainer, and so that's something we're implementing as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and obviously they'll be well placed to kind of give that advice because they'll have seen that with different types of merchants as well, and I think that's one of the benefits of working kind of with these. You know experts, so you know. Gorgeous for kind of customer service, and Clavio for email marketing, and obviously now that they're moving into kind of customer data platform and so on, so that data could potentially also feed systems like ClayVoo, based on you know what they've ordered and so on, and gorgeous for customer service and ticketing systems. And so what, just touching on customer service and you know customer requests and so on, today, without system like gorgeous, what do you use? Is it just traditional email?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so yeah, just a very yeah seems to come across a very heavy reliance on Microsoft Office as a company. But yeah, we just have a shared inbox, a shared sales inbox. That we are, you know, we're very good at kind of flagging emails and tagging who's responsible for them and just really sort of managing that inbox efficiently. And I guess you know all these tools. That's kind of what they do, just on a much more complicated level. It's just all about kind of managing that, to managing that inbox really and yeah, and just a very good and on it customer service team as well, which is a lad called Josh, runs up and he's a very good job.

Speaker 1:

I think that's a secret to kind of customer service, because you've got an opportunity there to potentially either make a, you know, have kind of a promoter. So customer that's just so happy with the way that you've responded and you know we're going to tell everyone or completely detract us saying you know this is, I'm not going to buy a few more, ever again.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think speed is a really, really important factor in that as well, and I'm like you know, even if we've had an email that's not been replied to in the sales inbox for too long, like myself and other senior members of the business, will jump on it and reply back to the customer because it's a real yes, maybe not the best use of our time, but it's a real, a winning factor to a customer. If they're you know they're they're applied too quickly, and if it turns out to be a big quote from a, from a trade customer, and we've replied in an hour, whereas one of our competitors are replied in a couple of days, then you know the business is going to go to us.

Speaker 1:

Of course, yeah, what. As you grow your business, what are the KPIs or the metrics that you're using to monitor your progress, I guess, and and kind of your achievements? And to understand, I guess you? Know, what your journey is looking like, on the way to to the success that you've, you know, achieved so far.

Speaker 2:

I guess as a kind of the e-commerce or the website, more of the Amazon side of the business. You know we're using a lot of sort of tried and tested KPIs that kind of. Throughout my various other roles in e-commerce businesses that kind of always been in kind of core to reporting, you know, such as your cost per acquisition for paid customers, looking at the conversion rate, make sure nothing's dropping at that average order value, just things like that, to make sure that customers are, you know, interacting with the site and converting and spending as kind of as much as possible really when they're, when they're looking through the site. Because I think with the average order value is a huge one as well, because if you know you're paying so much to get these customers on the site in the first place, they need to be able to find all of the products that are suitable for them in that journey as easy as possible. Especially as our, our capital of growth grows larger and larger, we need to kind of make it more apparent to the customers that we've got these products on the website.

Speaker 2:

Another kind of thing we're working on from a development perspective is having that sort of really pulled out on the on the PDPs. Underneath the add to add to basket button, here are the other products that are, you know, suitable for, suitable for what you purchase with. Yeah, and you know it's not reinventing the wheel either. Really, it's just kind of making sure the best practices is kind of adhere to throughout the website and it really kind of pushes those key core metrics. And then another one for me is organic visibility. With my SEO background, SEO.

Speaker 2:

yeah, so yes, it's something I've kept keen eye on. We use Cystrix to monitor that and the kind of our organic visibility is increasing in a very nice steady level and we're kind of competing with some of the big boys out there. Like you're being accused of the world and screw fixers now, which is great to see. The other day we were ranking eight for duct tape, which was fantastic.

Speaker 1:

Brilliant, I mean if you're on the first page. I think you know that's half the half the battle, because no one's really going to go and very unlikely to look on pages to to onwards.

Speaker 2:

No, that's a very old SEO joke. Where's the best place to hide a body? On the second page of Google.

Speaker 1:

Well, it's true, because I mean, you know, I mean on mobile I think it's slightly different because it's like an infinite page. You don't kind of technically go on to the second page and so on. But certainly for desktop, absolutely so. So CPA costs per acquisition, the conversion rate, the average order value, just on those three I'm presuming you, like everybody else, has seen the CPA gone up over the last three years.

Speaker 2:

Yes, although, having said that, we're having a lot of success with performance max and I'm kind of enjoying exploring that because I think it seems to be. We tested it when it first was released, quite a while ago now, and it didn't really do great things. But more recently we've started playing more budget into that and it started working a lot better for us and then and so that's bringing the cost per acquisition down a little bit. You know, it's one of these great uses of AI and sort of all the kind of machine learning and technology that goes behind it. Yes, it's a little bit more of a black box than a lot of us would like, but but you know we've seen some good results from the back of it.

Speaker 1:

So I was actually going to ask you kind of if you implemented any strategies or any technologies to try and manage the increase in the cost per acquisition and so performance max will link to it in the show notes and what about kind of average order value kind of, except for maybe saying a frequently bought together or you know these products are suitable for the product you're buying, what are you implementing any other strategies to try and increase that? I mean, obviously I'm presuming you run things like email marketing campaigns that maybe do push the average order value up, but is there something that you're doing aside from that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I guess through email marketing we kind of try and communicate new lines to our existing customers. You know, if you bought cable ties, take a look at our kind of assorted boxes of different sort of nuts and bolts and fixed and fastenings and all that sort of thing. A lot of our customers that use one range will kind of shop the other ranges and so it's a huge part of that is kind of making sure it's really easy to navigate on the site. Good internal linking, great for SEO as well, but also good for helping sort of making more of a seamless customer journey and sort of helping customers think you know, wasn't necessarily shopping for that, but I do need some of those and if I'm buying X product then you know why not buy the other products as well.

Speaker 1:

Because I guess one of the things that can confuse merchants at the moment is, you know, with the inflation that we've seen over the past 12-18 months, is the average order value maybe has gone up anyway because prices have gone up. So you know, do you want to turn the other thing, like you know, the average items in the basket Kind of how granular, I guess do you go on that particular KPI?

Speaker 2:

On that one. It can be quite misleading for us because we are sort of our average price of item differs massively. So you know, some of the largest stainless steel cable ties you're looking at about a hundred pound pack probably not quite that, but quite expensive, sort of my own pack and then your smaller cable ties, a sort of 20-pence a pack, and so you can have loads of them in a basket and still kind of not really touch the surface compared to some of the other products. So yeah, I think for us it's looking at that kind of monetary value of kind of the average overall and just trying to optimize to that and try and grow it. I think the other thing for us is splitting e-commerce customers from trade customers as well and looking at how they interact with the site and kind of making sure that we kind of cater for both markets.

Speaker 1:

Which can't be used. Obviously, like you know, as we said, it's tailoring for, in essence, two different types of customers that have two different types of needs, potentially.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, definitely, and I think that's why we kind of settled on big commerce again as well as the variance piece.

Speaker 2:

The B2B functionality out of big commerce just makes things a lot easier to have a site that targets both B2C and B2B. Quite naturally, the tiered pricing is a kind of key thing for us to do that and that's really helpful. So you know we've got it broken down on the product page. You know you're buying a pack cable ties you get this price, 10 packs you get this price. And then a box you get this price. And then if you want to buy a pallet straight off the website, which never happens then you've got this price and you know, really spelling it out to the customer this is how much you'll say by doing this is really helpful. And then you know other functionality, like it's really simple to have different payment methods on the checkout for different types of customers. So all of our trade customers they can order off the website just using PO's if they've got a customer account with us To do that. We use a $20 a month plugin and just Is it a BZO?

Speaker 2:

It is not. No, I didn't have it open, but that's you know. I know BigCommerce pushing the B2B addition, and then that has many wonderful features. It was a bit too much for us, so we kind of moved away from that and we use this plugin that's literally called Payment Groups and it lets you set a customer group to different payment methods, and so we, our trade customers customer group. They have the PO payment method, which means they can check out without paying, essentially, and it creates a, you know, purchase order reference.

Speaker 1:

In the old days I remember we did that for a merchant it was about 10 years ago, maybe slightly less, but it wasn't recent based on JavaScript, so it was understanding the customer group ID. And then, just, you know, you're going to hide payment methods too. If that was, like you know, credit card or, for example, offline payment, if you weren't a trade customer for some merchants and I think it is, you know, I would agree with you that the B2B addition is really, you know, an asset to companies that serve B2B, not just for the payment methods. But yeah, obviously it comes with an additional cost and you have to make sure you know you're going to be using the functionality you're paying for, especially as you know, like we just said, the cost per acquisition has gone up and you know it's becoming more expensive, so most of the costs are yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you know, as you said, you've plugged in with the likes of Cleaver as well, and Performance Act, which all have, you know, a price tag attached to them. They should be ROI positive but it's becoming, you know, expensive to run the stack, to run the website.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, 100%. And you know people don't always expect to pay a higher price as well off the back of it. So I think you know you've got pressures of price competition and then rising costs of everywhere else and it really kind of squeezes the margin. So trying to find cost effective ways of looking at it kind of you know, do you really need that and is there something that can do it, and what you need a better way is really helpful sometimes.

Speaker 1:

Tom, it's been really. I've been really excited to have you on the podcast, because one thing that I really like about your business is you started off as, like we said at the beginning, a really niche player and you've you achieve success and growth with that and then you've expanded your. You know your catalog and I think you're a really good case study for merchants that may be, you know, kind of a face in the challenges that you had at the beginning and just wanted to, you know, kind of see the growth that you have. If anyone wants to kind of get in touch with you to maybe pick a brain or just discuss, you know how can they reach out.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, drop me a message on LinkedIn or even drop me an email. My email is just tomatgtsccouk.

Speaker 1:

Excellent, and we asked all our guests if they've read a book recently or listened to a book, or what podcast they're listening to.

Speaker 2:

Podcast. I'm going to plug another e-commerce podcast. I'm a big fan of the Replatforming Podcast, which is Paul Rogers and James Goode. They've been doing it for quite a while now and I would second that.

Speaker 2:

They, yeah, they've had some great guests on there throughout the years and some really interesting stuff. Another thing that I'll plug while I'm here is I also have run a big commerce Slack community as well, which is just sort of people who run big commerce websites Just talking about big commerce really and things that can do with it, and so, yeah, if you're interested in joining that, please drop me an email.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, we'll put the link to that as well in the show notes. And yeah, I mean, I think I don't know where you've been in e-commerce if you haven't heard of the Replatform.

Speaker 2:

I can see it.

Speaker 1:

In case you haven't or you don't know, Paul and James, then again we'll link to that podcast. But, Tom, thank you very much for your time. I know you're extremely busy, but I think there's been a lot of value and thank you very much for sharing your story and hopefully have you back on one day.

Speaker 2:

No, thank you for having me.

Speaker 1:

Brilliant. Thank you very much, cheers Right. Thank you for listening to the BigCommerce podcast. If you've enjoyed today's episode, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform and make sure you're following us on social media, on Instagram and on LinkedIn. If you've got ideas or suggestions for future episodes, please send us an email, info at thebigcommercepodcastcom or on our social media platform. Careful with nature.

E-Commerce Growth and Challenges
Marketing Strategies and Customer Service Importance
E-Commerce Tools for Success
Optimizing Order Value for B2b/B2c Customers