There’s no doubt that Jordan Insley knows how to sell consumer electronics online. This year, his company, Quick Ship Brands, will sell about $18 million worth of refurbished televisions, iPods, Blu-Ray players and other popular products.
In the last three years, Quick Ship Brands experienced 250 percent growth. One key to Insley’s success is his ability to develop loyal relationships. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Even in a digital world, relationships matter. When your accountant or investors question your need for a budget that goes toward building relationships, take note of Insley’s winning tactics.
Put customers first. Insley is almost fanatical about providing the best customer service possible. Because he started his business by selling products on eBay, he had to be. Customer ratings are what get your listing up to the top of the page so other customers can see your products. To win ratings, he had to win over customers. One way he does that is in his approach to handling returns.
Since the electronics they sell are refurbished, the company doesn’t offer exchanges or refunds. They provide a 60-day warranty for products that don’t work. “Customer service is a top priority for us,” Insley says. “If our customers have a problem, they get a shipping label e-mailed to them within seconds.”
Make your suppliers happy. When Insley first started selling refurbished electronics online, he had to find retailers willing to give him their returned products. Now, because he built such strong relationships with his retail suppliers, word has spread and companies come to him. In fact, electronics manufacturers unversed in selling online now ask Insley to sell their new products for them.
Team-build with your vendors. Getting products to customers quickly fulfills one of Insley’s brand promises. He can’t do that without vendors he trusts. He makes a point of not only meeting with his main contact, but anyone else within a company that can help build his reputation and success.
For instance, with his shipping provider FedEx, he met with one of the company’s shipping engineers to talk about packaging and with its software developers to help integrate shipping capabilities into his own business software. He considers Bradley Davis, his strategic account representative, an important advisor. “Our FedEx account representative just gets things done. He and his team come up with solutions. That kind of mentality helps us grow.”
You can certainly start an e-commerce business in your garage, like Insley did. But if you want to follow in Quick Ship Brands’ footsteps and move out of the garage and expand into warehouses in multiple locations. The relationships you build can help you get there.
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Jacquelyn B. Fletcher is a Minneapolis-based writer.
Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FedEx.
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