- Hobby & do-it-yourself
Are you already familiar with Scenery Workshop by Patrick van der Heijden? Scenery Workshop offers all kinds of brushes, paints and other small parts to build models. Not for nothing is Scenery Workshop by far the biggest player in this market. With small paints, brushes and pieces of sand, to recreate a complete scene. How could something so small have grown into something so incredibly large? We asked web shop owner Patrick.
Patrick started his webshop in 2011 and has always worked in the e-commerce world. He did that at wholesalers. He once started with a wholesale business in hobby products. Then you have to think about card making, stamps, scrapbooking and you name it. That was incredibly fun. But, besides your work, you also have a hobby. Patrick's hobby is building models. Soon he found out that there is actually very little for sale online for his hobby. If he wanted to buy something, he had to wait five to six weeks. And that is a very long time.
I provide the solution myself!
With the experience Patrick has in e-commerce, he thought, "You know what, I'm just going to try it!" Before starting this, he first wrote a concrete business plan. After all: what are you actually going to sell to whom? Finally, a business plan was in place and it was just go. And that was actually the beginning of a very big success. Patrick does add, "without my partner and other partners around me, I would never have succeeded. May that be clear."
From small attic room to fulfillment center
The great thing about this story is that Patrick started the webshop and, together with his partner Rutger, grew into it naturally. Of course something like this starts small: in the attic room they had a rack of paints, a few boxes of brushes, some grass and some sand. And that actually went very well for the first three years. But, like any well-run shop, you have to grow with the demand. Demand got bigger and bigger, and the attic room wasn't big enough to store everything anymore. That's when they started looking for a bigger house. A large basement or garage was a must: that's where sceneryworkshop's stock could be. In the end, the choice fell on a large basement. Only: business was going way too well. After less than a year, the new basement was already too small. To avoid any further hassle, Patrick started looking for a long-term solution.
He has been working with a fulfillment center for five years, for which he outsources his logistics process. Well, Patrick has to admit: he may be the catalyst for the webshop, but he has always done this together with his partner. When everything was still at home, his husband was busy collecting, packing and shipping the packages. Patrick: "Eventually it was no longer doable. At 6:00 p.m. you'd be at dinner, at 6:30 p.m. you'd start packing packages and at 00:00 a.m. you'd be done for once. We just couldn't do that anymore." Now Patrick works with Monta Packing, and he likes it very much.
In the end, the webshop is still growing. Every year they grow exponentially. "Without all the help around me, that wouldn't have happened," Patrick explains. Besides his gigantic webshop, Patrick just has a full-time job. Sitting still? No, that's nothing for him. He gets energy out of being busy with so many different things. And his current employer? They only encourage Patrick!
Because they are an online shop, Patrick thinks offline visibility is also important. So they try to participate in an event every year.
Retention is key
The great thing about Sceneryworkshop is that they serve a very specific niche market. Its customers know exactly what they need to build a beautiful model. And that in itself is very convenient, considering that they have almost no returns as a result. Patrick himself decided very early on that they only sell utensils. Think of brushes and paint. These will eventually run out, or need to be replaced. And that is what people come back for. For the models (tanks, dolls or airplanes) themselves, you don't have to turn to Sceneryworkshop. They only sell the tools to dress the models and to create the "scene" around them. This is because the trend in models is going very fast. New models keep coming in, and then you are left with the old models, so to speak. "With all the time and energy I have, I have to be conscious about what I sell. And then models soon drop out," Patrick explains. And besides, it's not necessary. Retention is very high at Sceneryworkshop. "People love coming back to my shop."
Also growing with email marketing
With the idea that the web shop would continue to grow, email marketing also came into play. Patrick: "I actually just started with Mailchimp. This is a very well-known, big player and was nice and easy." In the beginning that works, if you don't have that many wishes and requirements yet. But at some point I wanted to take an extra step in this and then it turned out that Mailchimp could no longer offer me what I had in mind with e-mail marketing. At one point, emails were being sent to customers from five different places. Well, when your customer unsubscribes in one place, he can still receive emails from another place. You guessed it: that caused hassle. So: let's look for something else that can do more. Patrick finds the integration with his systems most important: everything has to correspond with each other. That's why the switch to Reloadify was easy: the connection with Lightspeed works seamlessly. Reloadify has everything you would expect from email marketing.
"Reloadify is exactly what I need."
When Patrick started with Reloadify, he picked up email marketing himself. He finds the contact with his customers very valuable. Getting a newsletter out every month is the least he wanted to do. But actually doing it and finding time for it, that's the next challenge. And also, of course, the question: Do you want to do everything yourself? Soon, partner ON. Digital Marketing came around the corner. ON. Digital initially picked up Google Advertising for Sceneryworkshop. And so, together with ON. Digital, everything is expanding. Currently, they are busy picking up social advertising for Sceneryworkshop. This idea came from ON. Digital itself: "There are opportunities here, Patrick! Let's try it." Also, ON. Digital has now taken over the complete email marketing. 'Retention' is the strength in this. With the dozens of triggers turned on in Reloadify, sales are brought in automatically. Not only retention emails, such as cross- and upsell promotions, but also lifehacks are shared in Sceneryworkshops' emails. From creating your own landscape to cleaning brushes: Patrick wants to give every customer the best experience when it comes to building landscapes. Whether his customers are waiting for those tips? Oh, definitely! Patrick: "In fact, we are now working with artificial intelligence to make recommendations to customers based on smart technology and to optimize our search bar, for example." In this way, Sceneryworkshop's webshop is getting even better, and based on big data we can determine exactly what the customer needs. With Reloadify included, that big data is easily translated into our emails.
"Without all the partners around me, this would never have happened," says Patrick. "I have Optiply for procurement, ON. Digital for online marketing, Monta Packing for logistics and Reloadify for e-mail marketing." A lot of things Patrick could very well do himself, but he doesn't have the time for that. And there are some things you want to outsource. For example, a conscious decision was made not to employ any staff. "Imagine having someone running around in your own warehouse picking your orders, and that person gets sick. Then I do have a problem." Outsourcing all this to Monta Packing may cost a bit, but then you can be sure you have something to build on. You have to make trade-offs in this in what exactly you want. But: Patrick is satisfied in how things are going now and gets energy out of it. And in the end, that is the most important thing!