Last updated: 10th March, 2021
Five tips for online business success from Letterbox4you
Delivering a great product, forming strong relationships with suppliers and prioritising customer service are some of the ways Letterbox4you has carved out a successful e-commerce niche. This case study is part of the PagoFX Online Business Academy, a free resource for online-only businesses and entrepreneurs.
It’s an all-too familiar scenario: you get home from work to find a courier has left your package in a ‘secure place’ which turns out to be anything but. Even staying home all day is no guarantee against the kind of delivery fails which have found viral fame on social media.
But with the continuing trend towards buying goods online (e-commerce is predicted to make up 22% of global retail sales by 2023), demand for home deliveries is only going to grow. The Covid-19 pandemic has played a role, too, with the OECD noting that online searches for delivery options doubled in the UK as shoppers prepared for life under lockdown.
One way to take the stress out of online shopping is to invest in a parcel box – an increasingly popular option for shoppers looking for a secure way to receive deliveries at home, whether they’re there to answer the door or not.
Parcel boxes are part of the success story of Letterbox4you, a Buckinghamshire e-commerce company that serves both building trade and retail customers. According to Letterbox4you’s Hannah Stephenson, the company has seen a “massive spike” in demand for their products, with a 200% increase in revenue from parcel boxes alone over the course of the last year.
The company was founded by entrepreneur Dominic Poznanski in 2012. He saw a need for good quality, built-to-last mailboxes, and found a manufacturer in his native Poland who was able to supply them. From the early days of operating out of his spare room and selling on eBay, the company has expanded to a 7,000 square foot office and warehouse complex in Aylesbury. They source their boxes from suppliers across Europe and the UK, and ship to customers around the world.
We spoke to Hannah about the strategies they’ve used to help Letterbox4you grow.
1. Be proactive about customer feedback
Letterbox4you has gained a platinum rating on customer review platform Feefo, and Hannah explains that the company prides itself on speedy and personal service rather than automation and chatbots: “We make sure that everyone knows that we’re real people – as soon as the phone rings.”
Along with being responsive to initial queries, Letterbox4you is consistent about post-purchase follow up. Every customer receives a thank you email and a request to leave a review, but beyond that, the company randomly calls customers two weeks after their purchase, to ensure they’re totally happy. “We ask if they’ve got any feedback about the website or the delivery or the box itself. It’s a really good way to see if there’s anything we can improve.”
2. Treat your suppliers as part of the team
Nurturing strong relationships with manufacturers has benefits all round, Hannah says, from building trust to adding value for customers. “Our suppliers are as much a part of our business as the person at the desk opposite,” Hannah reveals. A key part of this is good communication and becoming as knowledgeable as possible about your products and how they are made.
“I’d like to think most of the team know as much about the boxes as the manufacturers do. It’s really important that when a customer calls up with a question, we can answer in the same amount of detail as the manufacturer can.”
3. Create authentic content that’s useful for your audience
“Our core value in terms of marketing is to be honest and informative rather than promotional,” Hannah adds. “People can see when you’re trying to push a product in their face.”
To do this, Letterbox4you not only leverage user-generated content in the form of customer reviews and testimonials, but also write articles on how to choose, position and install their boxes, led by the kinds of queries they receive in their customer service channels, rather than stick to just sales-focused messaging.
4. Use social media channels strategically
Or, as Hannah puts it, “don’t just follow the trends”.
With digital marketing trends evolving at a dizzying pace and new social media channels popping up all the time, it can be tempting to deploy a one-size-fits-all approach to cover as many platforms as possible. Instead, Letterbox4you tailors its content according to the way each platform is used, and by its audience.
Although it doesn’t have as big a market share in the UK as the likes of Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest is a key source of website traffic for Letterbox4you (“It’s our main channel at the moment,” Hannah reveals), which is not surprising considering the popularity of home décor content on the platform.
LinkedIn might not seem an obvious choice either, but as Hannah explains, it’s where hundreds of gate makers and builders can be found, all of whom could be potential B2B customers: “we’re definitely trying to get a bit more vocal on LinkedIn,” she adds.
5. Stay true to your core values
Letterbox4you has six core values, which they list on their website and talk about on social media. These range from a commitment to high standards, to encouraging a sense of fun and positivity in the workplace.
“The thing that’s worked for us most of all is establishing our principles and our core values, and just sticking to them no matter what,” Hannah says.
It’s these core values that drive the company’s mission to, as they put it, “change the world one letter flap at a time”.
Read more tips for online business success
This case study is part of the PagoFX Online Business Academy, a free resource for online-only businesses and entrepreneurs. Read our articles on everything from small business taxes to upskilling and managing your work-life balance.
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