Becoming a Gold Member brings in hot leads
When Ashley Payne and James Forrest launched Stock Sourcing in 2009 they knew straight away that trading globally would increase their chances of success by giving them access to thousands of potential customers around the world thus maximising their turnover and profits. They invested the bulk of their start up marketing money into a Gold Supplier membership with Alibaba.com and two years later have a turnover of £1.5 million.
Stock Sourcing sells new and used electronic equipment including laptops, digital cameras and mobile phones to emerging markets. From the beginning they used their Alibaba listing as their shop front to the world and now 60% of their email enquiries come from the website.
Ashley Payne explains: “It did wonders for us. We had enquiries coming through relatively quickly. It was pretty immediate. It meant we did not have to put more money into optimising our own website. We regularly refresh our entry with all our latest available stock. This, along with our Gold Supplier status, helps to keep us at the top of the listings.”
The company sources its products predominantly from retail overstocks, customer returns and consumer gadget trading schemes. Every product is checked and graded according to its functionality and how it looks cosmetically. Any that are no longer working are sold for parts within the UK.
Ashley adds: “As consumers we upgrade our equipment often and technology quickly becomes obsolete. In these emerging markets, they do not have the money to be able to afford the latest products.”
Customers come from across the developing world including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Iraq and Afghanistan. Customers contact Stock Sourcing directly to discuss available products and place an order to a minimum value or quantity giving Stock Sourcing the opportunity to up sell and cross sell.
The company which employs five people is based in Haverhill, Suffolk, and has a large warehouse where it stores and sorts all its products. Whilst the bulk of enquires come from Alibaba, the rest come from word of mouth from satisfied customers, Stock Sourcing’s own website plus promotion on the company’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Ashley concludes: “Through Alibaba we get a lot of customers putting out mass enquiries and there are a lot of very, very good leads which turn into good sales. And we have plenty of customers with whom we have developed strong relationships.”
In December this year, Stock Sourcing is launching a second company offering to buy unwanted electronic goods from consumers. The ecommerce site called Cash In Your Gadgets will enable Stock Sourcing to have access to great volumes of products to cope with demand.