Keith Blake is the owner of Peterborough’s largest independent power and garden tool dealer. Offering a wide range of top quality tools from world renowned manufacturers, CBS Power Tools has also become known for its team of fully trained engineers, excellent after sales care and customer support. Wanting to build on the success of their trade counter, Keith decided to launch online, starting with Power Tools Direct in February 2013. In under a year they had two more ecommerce websites up and running, CBS Power Tools and Ryobi Direct and have increased their turnover by 20% in this time. All three sites are based on a standard Actinic ecommerce template and are all ‘DIY’ sites with little input from the Actinic team. We talked to site manager Steve Benny about setting up and managing the sites and just how simple it is to be successful in ecommerce with the right platform supporting you.
Keys to success
One of the greatest points about Actinic for us, was the simplicity of use and speed at which we could get our sites online. We had Ryobi up and running, and making sales in under 4 weeks! Data plug was vital for this; we could load large amounts of product information and images across to our sites without having to painstakingly update each individual product. We adapted the Data plug form to suit our needs and our sites were populated in next to no time.
Actinic sites are also well designed for organic SEO, we had some great tips from the Actinic experts and followed the help guidelines, making sure our descriptions were keyword rich and our tags were optimised. Then the SEO pretty much took care of itself! Our target audience tend to be slightly older and brand loyal so we make sure all our products are brand descriptive and easy to find.
The graphic editor, SmartSkins, makes it so easy to update our sites with special offers or for sales events. Drag and drop is all it takes to redesign or update the site. We can add and change images in a couple of clicks, it’s a great way to customise your site. It also saves us a fortune, the cost of bespoke sites are huge in comparison with Actinic sites which is what enabled us to get three sites online, at relatively little expense. We’ve only called on the Actinic experts for a couple of design changes.
Actinic’s, cloud based, solution means that any platform updates are automatically available, meaning we get to benefit from improvements and updates for free and without having to take our site offline. This really helps keep costs down. We can also access our sites from anywhere, as we don’t have to download any software, which is amazing and really helps the day-to-day running of the sites. There’s a great choice of features that we use regularly and find really useful. Features like Item Discounts and Strikethrough Prices which are simple to apply, yet make it really easy to create sales items, special offers and deals, compared to other solutions. Order tracking is another great feature and the flag settings are really useful for quickly identifying problem orders and making sure they receive the follow-up needed.
We use Sage to keep everything synched and up to date, it’s handy for making sure we’re on top of all our orders and stock. The only time we occasionally run into some difficulties is when transferring customer data, usually because they’ve entered data incorrectly, other than that it’s 99% effective. Technical support are always quick to answer any queries and give great feedback for optimising our sites.
We have also started sending newsletters and so far they’ve been a great success. The ROI is fantastic, we have a 50% open rate on average, and send out exclusive deals and offers, new products, discount codes. We created a banner ad let our customers know we were going to start sending out newsletters, offering a sign up deal to encourage people to sign up. We created a new webBlock sign up page so that our clients had all the details necessary and the assurance that we weren’t going to pass on their details to any third parties. We’ve seen a definite increase in sales so far and can’t wait to see how this progresses.
The Actinic Advantages:
- Dataplug is essential for getting data onto the site quickly and efficiently. It really helps in getting a site online and ready to sell in next to no time.
- SaaS platforms can be accessed anywhere, so if we have any updates or changes to make to any of the sites we can make these from any computer with an internet connection. It really makes managing a business a lot easier.
- The support team are quick to answer any queries we have, always friendly and happy to help with maintaining and improving our sites. It’s great to know we can rely on them.