UK oven maker Gozney has released its latest accessible wood-fired oven in Australia and internationally, selling out in less than one day and turning over $10 million in sales.
Within eight hours of the Dome launching in late April, founder Tom Gozney decided to turn sales off because overwhelming demand for the product was creating “a customer experience nightmare”.
The Dome, which is a $2000 gas and wood-fired oven that reaches 510 degrees Celsius, marks a shift away from the pure wood-fired ovens the business has previously made. Unlike the RoccBox, the Dome allows home cooks to slow roast, smoke, steam and bake as well as make wood-fired pizzas.
Founder Tom Gozney says while the success of the product’s launch has been overwhelming, it hasn’t come without difficulties.
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“[The launch] was just insane. It broke our website, it created lots of issues,” Gozney tells SmartCompany.
“We had sort of a customer experience nightmare where we had technical issues.”
Gozney launched his first business, The Stone Bake Oven Company, in 2010, which evolved into Gozney Ovens. Three years later, the business gained momentum with the release of a commercial oven. By 2019, Gozney had started selling in Australia, which is now one of its key markets.
Gozney says after three years of designing the Dome, he launched the product digitally in October last year. As part of that pre-launch, Gozney gave 50 influencers an oven, and involved them in an Instagram advertising campaign.
“We didn’t really spend any marketing pounds on the launch, we offered a free product to about 50 different friends of the business, I would call them, but they’re actually influencers,” he says.
Among the influencers were Richard Branson and Instagram co-founder Mikey Kreiger. Together, they posted an image of the oven, which in turn spread awareness about the product launch.
“We got everyone around the world from Australia, the US, Canada and the UK to post at a synchronised time,” Gozney explains.
“The idea was that we created a large wave on Instagram and those ripple effects would essentially build our pre-order book.”
The strategy proved successful. In late April, when sales for the Dome opened on Gozney’s website, it sold out in eight hours, making $10 million in sales.
However, those sales were not made seamlessly, and many customers became angry either because they had missed out, or were dissatisfied with delivery times.
“After eight hours, we turned sales off because the unprecedented demand drove our lead times out so far that it was creating a customer experience risk for the business,” he says.
Even though selling a year’s worth of inventory so quickly was “incredible” it also meant the business wasn’t prepared to process those sales, Gozney adds.
Gozney has paused its marketing campaign and is not taking new orders so the business can “double down” on ensuring it can deliver ovens already purchased ahead of schedule.
“Our goal now is to over deliver on our promises,” he says.
Gozney is headquartered in Christchurch in the UK and sells mainly to the UK, Australia, the US and Canada. It has a team of 35 employees.
In 2019, Gozney’s revenue hit $9 million, and increased to $21 million by 2020.