Selling online: how to start and grow

Digital natives – redefining small business

StartupSmart /

With smart online retail, great products and streamlined delivery, this boutique Australian brand has service smoothed out

Consumers worldwide have truly embraced online retail and small businesses realise it’s time to be in the game or fall behind. Excitingly, savvy Australian enterprises who think “digital first” are leading the way, showing other companies how it’s done.

To appeal to customers accustomed to 24-hour service, interactive brand engagement and global access, these digital natives know it’s not enough to simply have a nice website with contact details. They have a sophisticated online retail strategy that encompasses everything from straightforward sales through to on-time delivery.

How we do it

Greg Lally, director of Australian online retailer The Infamous Gentleman (TIG) understands this. The boutique business manufactures and distributes beard-grooming products for men, including balms, oils and soaps via its stylish online store. The company has a small team across production, product and brand development, communications and administration.

“We want to give our customers the capacity to interact with us and our business 24-7-365, but ensure that TIG remains a fantastic place to work,” he says.

In the beginning

TIG launched when a close friend of Lally, who was growing a beard, realised he was “pretty unimpressed” with the available beard care products.

“He started looking into the formulation of balms and oils as a hobby at first, and shared them with friends,” explains Lally.

Lally stepped in to help, and the pair put in months of research, identifying a growing community of bearded fellows who were after high-quality grooming products.

“It became clear pretty quickly that beard products had the potential to transition from novelty goods to personal grooming staples.

Like many digital startups, TIGs first office was in a humble garage. The business began selling locally, but when TIG launched online demand “grew incredibly quickly”.

Having created their online store with Australia Post’s My Online Shop platform, TIG also uses PayPal and Click and Send to manage payments and shipping easily and efficiently.

“We have invested heavily to ensure the site is accessible, easy to navigate and interactive,” Lally says.

Ahead of the pack

As The Infamous Gentleman brand grows, the market around it is getting more competitive.

“We need to ensure we stay ahead of them [competitors] in order to satisfy our customers and maintain our market share.”

Key to this is an online retail site that facilitates easy navigation and sales. When a customer places an order on TIG, the sale is processed using PayPal, which has built-in reporting to protect both buyers and sellers.

“The order is then processed at TIG headquarters, and in many instances is processed the same day,” Lally explains.

Postage slips with tracking and scanning capabilities are produced with Australia Post’s Click and Send. The process allows customers “to have complete transparency of the transaction from its commencement until its end at arrival”.

“Australia Post has been core to our growth, they are the link which completes a sale in all instances. Without their ability to provide timely, efficient and reliable postage services, we wouldn’t be able to operate or be sustainable,” Lally says.

My Online Shop allows The Infamous Gentleman to distribute its products through multiple channels, including eBay. Thanks to the greater market reach this allows, TIG’s customer base is expanding globally.

The team’s ambitions have grown with the business. Online retail has enabled their initial goals to be “achieved and surpassed”, according to Lally.

“Now, we are endeavouring to diversify the product range we supply,” he says.

For simple online selling and sending solutions see Australia Post’s Small Business site, or find out how to link your database or eBay account with Australia Post’s Click and Send.

Written by: Jessie Richardson

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