Smart50 Awards 2017

28 Tentworld

Revenue

$30.9 million

Growth

101.4%

Founders

Alex Burrell, 62, Barbara Burrell, 58, Jon Burrell, 31

Head office

Clifford Gardens, QLD

Year founded

1968

Employees

60

Industry

Retail and consumer products

Website

tentworld.com.au

winner

Top Retailer award

Having started out originally in 1968 as a business selling, contracting and repairing machinery as well as selling caravans, Tentworld only got its current name in 2004.

At the time, co-founders Alex, Barbara and John Burrell acquired a Brisbane business with the Tentworld name, and the team decided to consolidate their offerings and launch an e-commerce space, while maintaining 12 retail locations across Australia.

The founders say Tentworld is the largest independent camping store group in Australia, taking on the likes of BCF and Rays Outdoors, with revenue of $30.9 million in the last financial year and a three-year revenue growth rate of 101%.

Despite the strength of the business, the road hasn’t been easy.

“One of the most difficult challenges in the business has been managing the online sales growth. Originally operating from the Toowoomba shop, and warehouse at over 100% p.a growth for several years, we had quickly outgrown the facility and were operating inefficiently,” the founders say.

“Managing this growth, and improving efficiency was a steep learning curve that has seen us develop into distribution specialists.”

Despite roots in traditional retail and machinery services, the founders are looking to embrace digital strategies to help drive Tentworld forward.

This includes plans to use the website to host a number of review and guide videos to better inform customers.

Along with two new retail locations, the business is also seeking to spruce up its online marketing and advertising, putting significant focus on SEO and Google Adwords campaigns over the next 12 months in an attempt to drive more digital traffic.

“Despite not having the marketing budget of large competitors, Tentworld’s loyal and growing customer base gives the business valuable word-of-mouth promotion, including positive online ratings, and it is the high customer lifetime value that has given the business confidence to expand despite competitive market conditions,” the founders say.

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