Welcome to this e-commerce business success story! In this profile, we interviewed Ben Higgs, the owner of Hoxton Macs. Our hope is that you find this interview to be enlightening and inspiring as you seek to start and grow your very own online brand!
Thank you for joining us for this e-commerce business success story! We’d like to start by getting an understanding of your backstory. How did you come to own your business?
I started Hoxton Macs in 2013 after repairing Macs as a side hustle whilst studying and working. It was initially based in my flat in Hoxton, hence the name! Since then, Hoxton Macs has outgrown three offices, sold over 45,000 Apple devices, and welcomed a number of dedicated and energetic employees, all whilst maintaining 5-star customer satisfaction.
Terrific! Now, this article is about profiling successful e-commerce businesses. So – can you share your top 3 keys to running a successful online brand?
First and foremost, the secret to launching a successful online business is earning people’s trust. In this age of review platforms and social media, you need to have excellent customer feedback, and for that you need to have excellent customer service. Partnering with a review platform is a trust signal which adds credibility to your store, which is so important when you start out.
Second, the disruption to supply chains over the last 18 months has really driven home the importance of having a supply chain which remains steady and reliable in the face of unforeseen circumstances. A lot of hard work goes to waste if you successfully launch a business but run out of product.
And third, for an online business to truly succeed, you need to have a genuine and sustainable interest in the product you sell. Sometimes you get the sense that people open a Shopify store with any old product that they believe will make money. The problem is, nothing’s stopping others from doing the same.Your interest – your passion – is what will make you stand out from the crowd, because it’ll enable you to offer a unique insight or service that simply cannot be copied by other sellers.
Excellent. Now, I’m sure it hasn’t always been that easy. Can you tell a story about one challenge, setback, or mistake that you’ve had to overcome on the road to success? How can others learn from your mistakes?
A challenge we initially faced was determining where to store our inventory. We couldn’t use a fulfilment service due to the customisable nature of our products. And negotiating warehouse property was difficult as most landlords would only accept 5-year terms – we found we were outgrowing premises in half that time, leaving us with a major space issue.
For a while we used two properties concurrently. But that meant we faced significant additional expenses! Eventually, we prioritised finding a space that was large enough and met our business needs. We should have anticipated we’d need a large warehouse, but you learn from your mistakes.
If you require your own space to store or create products, make sure you have a good sense of your business performance and requirements to avoid prematurely outgrowing your space. You should also make sure the space has good transport links and the area is well serviced by courier firms for you to easily distribute your products and connect with your customers.
Thanks for that. Now – we want to know what’s next! What new initiatives are you rolling out at your business and what results are you hoping to see?
Apple recently introduced a new range of models with their own processors. This is a huge development in the world of Macs, and we’re looking forward to working on these new devices and getting them in the hands of our customers.
Sounds exciting! Any final words of advice for our readers?
Don’t be afraid to get in touch with other people in your industry and make friends. The people we’ve been in touch with have been very helpful and friendly. And Shopify has a great network of small business owners all in the same boat, facing similar growing pains and issues, who are full of terrific ideas on how to navigate the way forward.
Brilliant! We want to thank you for participating in today’s interview. Hopefully our readers agree that there is a lot to be learned from your brand’s story. What links can our readers use to follow along with your journey?