After his brother built a successful online business, Paul Nieuwenhuys’s ecommerce curiosity was triggered. So with barely any IT knowledge beyond turning a computer on, he tested the waters by listing a 60-pack of mixed fishing sinkers on eBay. It sold within an hour and from that moment on he was hooked with online selling.
His business, Hooked Online, is named after that inspiration and is now one of Australia’s most popular shopping destinations for quality fishing tackle.
Committing to a new venture
Paul set himself up with a makeshift packing station – a milk crate and a piece of plywood – and began photographing products to list them on eBay. “People thought I was mad, but within three months I was busy and one year in I had 500 products listed,” he says. The business continued to grow exponentially and after a couple of years Paul realised he should launch his own online store but there was one big problem... he had absolutely no idea where to start.
“I attended an internet conference and that’s where I met the Neto team. They created my website for a very reasonable price and I’ve never looked back. The support has been amazing; they have a genuine interest in seeing your business grow, so you’re treated as a valued customer – not a number.”
Re-jigging the business for expansion
As Australia’s first truly integrated multi-channel point of sale platform, Neto lets retailers do business where their customers want to shop. “The guys at Neto preloaded my products to my online store, which were then mirrored on eBay so I only load them once to get them sold across both platforms,” Paul explains. “And with integrated SEO, once tags are entered it means my products get found in online searches as well.”
More importantly, the system facilitated the expansion of his business. “Within three and a half years Hooked Online had over 2,000 products listed and I was ready to open up a physical store as well. Neto links my inventory across eBay, the Hooked Online website and my brick and mortar store so everything talks to each other and I always know how my business is tracking.”
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Neto streamlines efficiences and increases profits
Paul’s business now turns over a million dollars per year on eBay alone with only one full time staff member and one casual. “We can punch out about 80,000 orders per year with such a tiny team because Neto streamlines the way we work.” Take stock orders for example. A once laborious task that swallowed up 40 hours per month and meant that Paul had to walk up and down his warehouse aisles doing manual stock checks. Thankfully those days are over. “I simply login to my Neto control panel, filter through suppliers, run a sales analysis on the previous 12 months and enter the order. I order by data not gut instinct which maximises sales. And it only takes me two hours per month,” he says.
Since Paul started using Neto in 2009, Hooked Online’s year-on-year growth is 74%. “There’s no way the business would have grown the way it has without Neto; we simply couldn’t manage the volume of sales without it.”
Setting sights on future growth
Hooked Online now has over 8,500 products on its database and is showing no signs of slowing down. “Because Neto is always ahead of the game I feel more confident working towards growing the business,” says Paul, who has set his sights on exporting overseas, trading on different platforms, adding more products and taking advantage of Neto’s Amazon beta when that kicks off. You’d think these goals would make Paul busier than ever, but since shifting to Neto he’s thrilled to have more time and flexibility.
“Before Neto I was working 15-20 hours per day. Now I have more time with family and more time to grow the business. And I can work from anywhere – I spent last Christmas holidays using my phone to work from my boat.” His business is doing better than ever and his life has become far easier. What’s the catch? The beautiful thing is there isn’t one. “I won’t ever change from Neto. I don’t think there’s another ecommerce platform out there that can offer what they can.”
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We can punch out about 80,000 orders per year with such a tiny team because Neto streamlines the way we work.