Shane Selby at Front End Audio always liked audio equipment. He and his friend Warren Dent liked it so much that they slapped together a website and decided to run a small business out of a spare bedroom in his house. The two didn’t expect much from it–they were just having fun selling unique products online.
Five years later, Shane and Warren now sell 10,000 products, employ several full-time and part-time employees, run three websites and opened a brick-and-mortar store in Columbia, South Carolina. They quickly switched from using a website that the two quickly pieced together to Volusion’s online storefront. How did they go from casually selling audio equipment out of a spare bedroom to running a multi-faceted and successful business?
Shane’s solution was straight forward. “As we developed our business strategies, one thing was clear– customer service. As audio guys making our own purchases, we knew the retail market and simply asked ourselves, what we would want in a retailer? I mean, how many times can you call an online retailer to speak with some voice who could care less about you or the products before you say enough is enough? Our attitude was simple– create an online store where customers could call and be given the same level of service and attention that they would otherwise receive if they walked into a brick and mortar store, and they will come.”
The plan worked for Front End Audio. Customers started turning to them for advice and purchases while manufacturers and suppliers started to recognize Front End Audio as a legitimate retailer. Their product line quickly grew from a single product to several hundred. Within a year both Shane and Warren were running Front End Audio on a full-time basis.
What advice does Shane give to future online sellers? “Look ahead and make sure your eCommerce plans are based on where you want to be, not where you currently are. The last situation you want to be in is after spending thousands of hours developing your website and databases and you figure out it will not grow or adapt to your future business model or needs. The site is the backbone of your business so do the due diligence needed to make sure it will grow as you do.”