Adventures with online shopping – Part 1/504 – Chance encounter

In 2015 I bumped into an old friend at the local recycling depot. The last time I had seen him was when we both worked at Stansted Airport where we worked in a restaurant when we were about 16 years old. Fast forward 25 years and thankfully our careers had moved on a little since those days, and we weren’t still washing up and cooking sausages.

We got chatting and soon got onto what we were both doing for work and it turned out he had been working in the railroad industry and I was running a digital design company. “Interesting” he said, “I might have some work for you with the other businesses I run”, and so I kissed goodbye to the old Dell I had bought up to the skip and we exchanged details and picked up the conversation a few days later.

It turned out that as well as his main work he was also running an online shop selling workwear clothing called Largam Works and he needed some help with the shop. He was an official reseller for Carhartt workwear, Filson and Red Wing boots. All of which I liked the look of. They were really good quality brands and I think that helps. You have to believe in a product in order to honestly sell it and these were all brands i knew reasonably well. I owned a pair of Red Wing boots and had worn Carhartt in the past. Filson was more of a premium American brand that I was wasn’t familiar with but having seen the clothes I was really happy with the quality and range they had. At the very least i might be able to get a cheap jacket for my troubles.

He wanted to know if i knew anything about online retail and if i would be interested in having a look at his website to see if I could help out with some changes he needed as he wasn’t happy with the company he had been using and wanted our opinion on the setup and how to take things forward. He didn’t know anything really about websites or marketing but he did have good connections and an entrepreneurial spirit that I could connect with.

This struck me as a good opportunity and so I took him up on his offer and started investigating the business and how it worked.

My background has always been in supplying material for marketing teams that either worked for an online store or for owners of such businesses, so I was in a good position to at least asses what they had been doing to date and see if there was anything we could do to support the business and do it better. By the Scruff has designed websites for online shops in the past and we are also very knowledgeable about email marketing and advertising. At our heart we are creative digital designers, so our job is to promote a business or a brand, using familiar techniques that essentially get people to buy a product. This could be a really good fit for us.

Magnus was concerned that the fee he was being charged for ongoing management and hosting was not getting him the returns he wanted and that he was a better way to work. The company he was using was going through a difficult patch and changes in staff meant that the level of service he was getting was below the standard he expected. I agreed to investigate the business and see what the setup was before we go any further.

The first steps

  • How is the website built and managed
  • What control over the website page templates do we have
  • Is Analytics installed
  • What payment gateway is being used
  • Who hosts it
  • Who manages the orders
  • How is the fulfilment of the orders managed
  • How many people are involved in the business
  • How many sales are there each month
  • How much money does it make
  • Can I make any money out of this

So the process began. We were keen to get some new business, especially through a past connection that had been ignited through a chance meet at the skip. Referrals are always the best way to get work I have found and this way we have already got a level of trust that takes time to establish. Even though the local skip was not a place that i was expecting to have this meeting, it did work all the same. Maybe I should think about more visits to the skip and leave a load of business cards scattered around place. Its a bit like some networking events I’ve been to in the past where you have to sift through the crap to get to the people who you really need to speak to. In this instance it was the card & paper recycling unit that hooked me and Magnus up.

The journey continues…

Part 2 – Discovery phase


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