We have met up with a range of different ecommerce managers to talk with them about their business, what works and what doesn’t – and to benefit from their knowledge. We will share this golden knowledge with you in a series of blog posts packed with interesting facts, hacks and tricks – and a rare view behind the scenes of different ecommerce shops and how they work. In this blog post:
- Read the founder and marketing manager’s valuable learnings
- Find out how they manage seven different markets
- Get to know what tools they use
Nettoparts is a company selling – the name really says it all – parts for machines such as fridges, tumble dryers, washing machines, dishwashers and so on. It has gone through a massive transformation since 2002 and is currently present in seven different markets! The founder Thomas Holm and the marketing manager Jeanette Hindsdal agreed to have a chat about what they have learned, what tips they can pass on to others and in which areas they are planning to improve in the future.
AdWords insights that’ll inspire and benefit you
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Present yourselves and the company
Thomas Holm: I am the founder and owner. On a daily basis, I am primarily in charge of strategic elements, leadership, and the buying.
Jeanette Hindsdal: I have been with the company since 2012. I am responsible for the marketing department. The department is responsible for all marketing and communication – from SEO to Adwords, SoMe, press, content marketing and so on – basically everything from a-z. We have six employees in the marketing department, which we recently expanded. All of the employees have their own area of expertise.
The company was founded in 2002. In the beginning, we wanted to do wholesales, but there wasn’t a market for it, so we became an ecommerce company instead. We have been in the game ever since Google launched AdWords and the ecommerce growth in Denmark. In 2005 things evolved and we started hiring more people, and the company kept growing from there.
Today we are primarily a B2C company – there are some B2B elements, but our focus is with B2C. The website was launched in 2003, where we had 500 product numbers, as there wasn’t room for more at the current location. In 2004 we noticed DanDomain, who back then offered a more professional solution than the one we had, where the shop has been ever since.
Today we have a total of 25 employees, covering order control, marketing, administration, and stock.
We have seven shops in seven different countries, and we are the biggest here in Scandinavia. 90% of our turnover comes from Scandinavia, and 45% of that is from Denmark.
When we open a store in a new country, we want to appear as “Norwegian” or “Finnish” as possible, which is why we have the country’s account number, phone numbers and so forth. We have had a translator on that. Everyone who has helped with versioning the shops is in-house.
What about your technical setup?
We are with DanDomain and have Winfinans as our economy system. We have had a few things developed for us to connect order control, stock, and shops. We have a system that ensures, that when we upload one product, it’ll upload to all shops with all information in the designated language.
That ensures a structure that makes it easier to optimize and maintain the pages and launching new stores. It is important for us that it works that way, as we plan to expand to more countries. We save a lot of time because the system is as automated as it is.
Since we started, there has been some processes, which has been necessary to automate and improve due to our expansion. That is why it is essential for us to have great solutions, which works for all shops and save us time.
»It is important for us that it works that way, as we plan to expand to more countries. We save a lot of time because the system is as automated as it is.«Thomas Holm
What is your most important marketing channel?
Google is one of the most important if not the most important channel. We have AdWords in five countries, two accounts with one bureau, two with another bureau, and one in-house to investigate if we can manage it in-house, as that is what we prefer.
It has been necessary to outsource, but we prefer in-house. So AdWords and SEO is our major channels. I reckon it’s 40% on SEO and 40% on AdWords and the last 20% on various channels.
What is your most tricky marketing channel?
We have gone all in on AdWords and SEO, so Facebook and YouTube have been neglected a bit, which is why they are the most tricky. We haven’t focused on newsletters, blogs, and content in the past, but we are currently working on several projects within those areas.
»We haven’t focused on newsletters, blogs, and content in the past, but we are currently working on several projects within those areas.«Jeanette Hindsdal
What are you planning to do with your marketing in the future?
We know there are areas we haven’t tried yet, and because we are in seven markets, we need to pursue different things and see what works where. So we are going to try near enough everything and test them out. We have shared out areas of marketing responsibilities to six employees, so it will be possible to structure the experiments better than before. If we decide only to try content marketing, we are probably going to miss out on other things, which is why we want to try a little bit of everything – but in a structured way.
What is the coolest thing you have done?
The coolest thing is the option to upload one product and make it appear on all sites in the store’s designated language with all information included. We have a new order system that combines the way we handle orders and automates the whole process, where it has been manually done before.
The new design is super cool as well.
Also, we tried doing advertising in the local newspaper with great offers, and that was actually really effective.
What is the stupidest thing you have done?
Thomas Holm: We did a competition in a magazine only with advertisements for different companies. The salesperson from that magazine kept telling me how great it was, so I thought ‘why not’ and bought a small advertisement with a competition.
Only one person participated – and won, obviously. Luckily, it wasn’t very expensive. Another advertising experiment was on the Danish site dba.dk, where we ended up with a price per click at 800 DKKR, because it didn’t work what so ever – and that is a long time ago and long before Jeanette entered the company!
That means, that whenever they call me from companies like that, I say no thank you. We have tried that!
»I thought ‘why not’ and bought a small advertisement with a competition. Only one person participated – and won, obviously.«Thomas Holm
Also, we implemented our new design in January this year. We were absolutely sure it worked, had done lots of testing on it and launched it on our largest site – the Danish – in our busiest time of the year!
And it turned out there were a few bugs and small mistakes in the checkout flow that had to be corrected, so we lost something like 25% of our monthly turnover because of that. We have learned a lot from the mistakes we have made – and are now a lot more careful.
What tools do you use?
Excel/CVS (import/export) – Can’t be without that when managing this many online shops and continuously launching new markets
Thomas, what are your major learnings since 2002?
In the first years, I don’t think there is anything I could have done differently because of the lack of money. I wish I would have known; that it is important to have the same structure on everything you do. If you implement something on the Danish shop, it has to be the same on all of the other shops. But to be honest, I am really not that structured anyway – so maybe it wouldn’t have changed a lot. As I am not that structured, it is a massive benefit for me to have a close co-worker like Jeanette, who is very structured and organized.
In the beginning, it was easy to be a leader, as we weren’t that many people. As we grew, there has been some challenges with how to lead and what staff to hire and how to manage them. It would have been useful to have leadership skills or more knowledge of strategies.
»I wish I would have known; that it is important to have the same structure on everything you do. If you implement something on the Danish shop, it has to be the same on all of the other shops.«Thomas Holm
Jeanette, what have you learned during the previous 3,5 years?
When I started, we had the Danish shop and had just launched the Swedish. If I had known that it wasn’t that structured, I would have approached the challenge differently and spend more time on getting the structure right straight away. If I knew that then, I think we would have had even more shops than we do now. We have spent so much time on editing and getting the right structure on the different shops as we sort of copied the previous shop – it would have saved us a lot of time if everything was perfectly set up before copying the existing layout to new shops.
Free Exclusive Bonus: Download Thomas Holm’s major AdWords learnings.
Sharing is caring
There is nothing like getting your hands on valuable pieces of information – and it’s even better when it is other people’s learnings. That means it is real experiences, and therefore actual useful knowledge others can benefit from. Do you have any useful ecommerce experiences, others could benefit from? Let us know! Simply comment below. Thomas and Jeanette are also happy to answer any questions you might have, so now is really the time to speak up!