From garage to warehouse
Louisa’s background in event management in the racing industry and Jason’s technical talent as an art director in 3D animation made for a powerful combination and the business grew quickly. Initially, they relied on a website and their mobile phones while packing boxes in their garage.
It was soon apparent they would need bigger premises and more sophisticated inventory, and customer management systems.
Louisa was also finding she was more reliant on email to answer customer queries while she was busy sourcing new suppliers. The business was also becoming more dependent on (and sensitive to) social media.
Back at the warehouse, Jason says mobile phones were ringing every few minutes so the business needed another channel to receive calls − a landline.
The company took on a Telstra T-Bundle BizEssentials package that bundles its landline and broadband connection through a Wi-Fi gateway modem on a single account. Free intra-account calling from the landline to the business’s two Telstra Easy Share Business plan mobiles helped save the company money, but this wasn’t the main consideration, says Jason.
“Telstra has that experience and knowledge, particularly with technology products that streamline things. I suppose it’s the same reason people come to us because they know that they’re getting a good product. And we know Telstra has that history of providing good product,” says Jason.
E-Commerce drives the warehouse
Jason also ranked having a single bill for the landline and internet connections higher than price considerations. “It’s easier to account if you’ve got a package, rather than having several bills coming in each month. It’s easier for the accountants to manage that situation.”
Telstra helped Louisa choose a smartphone best suited to her expanding email-based client service. “If I am out of the office, I’m constantly checking my emails. If it’s something they want urgently, I touch base with Amy or Jason and get that done quickly,” Louisa explains.
“The communication element is incredibly important for our company, because we don’t want to look like we’re just an online store without that human relationship.”
The company’s broadband has become critical to its administration and without it Jason says Little Big Company would need a much bigger headcount. “We don’t really have any admin staff where that is their only job because the website pretty much takes care of most of the administration.”
For instance, the company uses the flexibility of its fixed broadband Wi-Fi connection and tablet devices for stocktake, which means data can be uploaded directly into its website customer management system. The company’s warehouse manager uses a headset to check stock for customers while taking calls in real-time.
It’s clear that Telstra’s reliability will become more important as Little Big Company grows. The company is developing a website with sleeker customer order features and tighter integration with email: “Our website is three years old – as technology goes that’s pretty old,” admits Jason.
Insights from Telstra
By their nature online retail businesses are more dependent on broadband and telecommunications services than other businesses. They also need to be highly engaged with consumers online through multiple channels, including social media, in order to develop and maintain a loyal customer base. Therefore it’s crucial that they choose a reliable and experienced provider that can scale with them.
Telstra’s BizEssentials broadband and phones packages are backed by Australia’s largest and first telecommunications provider. They also offer businesses useful features such as the ability to have multiple services on one single bill, making it easier to identify costs.
* Source: Company reports, Baker Consulting, NAB Online Retail Sales Index (April 2013)