Starting an online store is more a question of when rather than if – regardless of the type of business you run. Even if you make the majority of your sales from offline customers, starting an online store can reap huge benefits for your business. Think of it as your online product catalogue. It’s easier to maintain and update, and you don’t have to worry about those high printing costs.
In this blog, we chat to Sage Online Tools’ customer Karl Busera, partner at BJ Oberholzer, and Marietjie Griffiths, from DL Furnitures about their experience with starting an online store and we find out how our start-up marketing packages enabled them to market their businesses effectively.
Hi Karl, tell us a bit about BJ Oberholzer.
BJ Oberholzer started doing business in 1948, and has been an important wholesaler to the jewellery industry ever since. We sell everything from jewellery making equipment to beads, pearls and clock making equipment direct to jewellers — we’ve got over 9,000 product items on our site. Moving our product catalogue online has saved us so much hassle.
When did your business first move online?
Our first website was created in 2002. We went to a web developer who built the website for us. Subsequent updates were done by us. Editing websites has become much easier to do yourself since then. Our first online store was created using Sage Online Tools.
Did you consider any other packages when starting an online store?
No. What drew us to Sage Online Tools was the fact it integrates with Sage Pastel’s accounting package. We were looking for a software package that would suit our business’ needs — an accounting system with a website included. We couldn’t find any other platform that allowed us to do this. The great thing about Sage Pastel and Sage Online Tools is that you can link your accounts and inventory to the website, so you don’t have to manually update prices.
How often do you use the software? Is it worth the investment?
We use it on a daily basis, as there is always something we have to update. Since starting an online store, our products have been selling like hotcakes! It lets us get paid instantly, rather than simply receiving quotes from customers through our website. If our online store didn’t link to our accounting package, we’d have a huge amount of admin updating each order made through the e-store in our books.
Hi Marietjie, tell us about DL furniture - how did you get started?
We are quite proud of the fact that we’ve been in this business for twelve years now, and we’ve had our website up and running since 2012. When we were just starting out, Roy saw a huge gap in the South African market for classic wood furniture with a twist. Of course Roy went for it and hasn’t looked back since.
What business challenges have you faced in the past?
Due to the fact that this idea was slightly unorthodox at the time, it was hard for Roy to find a manufacturer to design and custom build these products, but fortunately, he managed to find someone overseas that could cater to us.
How did you hear about Sage Online Tools (what stood out for you?)
We received an excellent word-of-mouth recommendation to use your product. What stood out for us was that fact that we could easily upload our products onto the website and maintain the website ourselves. For further ease-of-use we like the fact that we can link our website to your Sage Pastel accounting package.
How did building an online website help your business grow?
We were able to increase our database and client base as more people had access to view our product line and we were able to draw in new interest thanks to Sage Online Tools’ capability to link our website to our Facebook page.
Sage Online Tools’ start-up marketing packages are ideal for small or large, new or established businesses looking to move into the world of digital marketing and ecommerce. If you’d like to see the benefits of having an online presence first hand, contact us today and one of our consultants will get in touch with you to discuss your business needs. View our complete solution here.