Seller Profile: Create.net CEO Rebecca Kimber
It’s always interesting to hear of people’s online selling experiences, and today Rebecca Kimber, MD of Create.net, tells how she started off selling online through marketplaces before going on to run her own website. Along the way she picked up the knowledge and skills that would help her build a business which helps other sellers take their businesses online.
Rebecca began her online selling over 10 years ago with the help of her mum. “We used to go around charity shops finding items to sell on eBay, which was a lot of fun!” she says. After a while she chose to concentrate on selling books, finding that these were easy to pack and assess the financial viability of. “At one point we had over 10,000 books. It was during this time that I set up my own ecommerce website with Create.net, which was crucial to giving my business a unique identity and to properly be able to grow. It also helped to get across the professionalism and trustworthiness in what I was doing”.
Rebecca soon branched out and started selling new toys through her website KidClever. Keeping an eye on the media allowed her to predict and profit from fashions and trends. “One year Mini used an Etch A Sketch in their ad campaigns so I bought 1,000 of them, and they sold very well! You’ve got to look out for those of-the-moment opportunities and take action quickly to make the most of them”.
Whilst running these online shops, making informed purchase decisions and managing the accounts she gained and expanded on the skills necessary to run not just an online shop, but a fully-fledged company with office and staff, as she does now.
“The transition from selling books online to managing Create.net and delivering a service to over 10,000 online businesses was not a quick one by any means, but I definitely think that what I learnt selling online provided me with the confidence and abilities I needed to make a success of my business“.
“As I was running KidClever through Create.net, I learnt first-hand the kinds of products and features ecommerce businesses require in order to grow and succeed, such as discount codes and powerful order management tools. I’d find myself running my shop and thinking ‘Ooh, I wish my shop had this…’ then being able to go and build it and offer it to our customers“!
“I know from experience the position that new online sellers find themselves in when starting up. This understanding has formed the foundation of what we do here at Create.net – helping online sellers grow their businesses in every way, from providing them with tools to build their own websites right up to giving them up-to-the-minute marketing advice and design tips”.
This success hasn’t come without its challenges, though. Rebecca is the mother of two young boys and chose to run the company from home during maternity leave, which was particularly challenging. She has had to find a way to balance her work and home lives as the business was growing. “It’s not easy finding talented staff, comfortable office space and everything else that comes with a growing business while taking care of two young children, but it can be done! A lot of Create.net’s customers are parents turning their hobbies into fully-fledged businesses and I know all too well the difficulties that come with that”.
The story of the online seller turned ‘online seller service provider’ is one that continues to be written, and each chapter is more exciting than the last. “This year Create.net hit the 10,000 customer mark and we celebrated twelve years of helping businesses get online” Rebecca tells us. “It’s all thanks to our staff, partners and fantastic customers!”
Some of Rebecca’s insights into achieving online sales success
- Make sure you’re selling products that people want to buy. I know it sounds simple but it can be challenging. I found it was a case of trial and error – first you see what sells and focus on that. Also, find your niche, preferably something that large suppliers would find hard to replicate.
- The reason some people prefer independent sellers to faceless corporations is because they know they’re helping out real people and that love, care and attention goes into the products. So get this across in your About Us page and offer an insight into the personality and behind-the-scenes goings-on at the business.
- You’ve got to love your customers, as happy buyers are your best advocates. Remember that word of mouth and social media will help you to win new business, so be sure to treat your regular shoppers with discount codes, newsletters and promotions wherever possible.
- If you’re selling goods on eBay, Amazon or any online marketplace, you’re already a business owner, so make the decision to take the next step and grow this business into something unique, successful and recognised with your own website and online shop. You can start a free 30 day trial of Create.net and start building your own online shop.