Spotlight on Costumes.com.au
Market intelligence was a key to the formation of Nathan's first e-commerce business, and he still remembers how he discovered his initial product niche.
“My research,” he continues, “led me to investigate fishing and tackle products, which represented a sizable market on eBay.com and little supply in Australia at the time." With this nugget of data in hand, Nathan moved to capitalize on his discovery.
Using eBay-analytics, I compared purchase patterns in the United States against international markets, with the goal of identifying unmet demand in Australian eBay categories.
"My business partners and I founded a fishing and tackle supply store on eBay called Tacklemania in 2004,” he says. “We connected with suppliers like Alibaba and DHL and seeded the business with a few thousand dollars.” Nathan’s research and his willingness to act on it led first to rapid success, then to a deeper understanding of the challenges that e-commerce sellers face.
“The growth,” he says, “happened very quickly. Our monthly sales climbed from 10K to 100K in just six months. Unfortunately, we didn't remain alone in that niche for very long. Within a couple of years, we detected many competitors moving into the same categories. Margins became much tighter and we had to work hard to maintain market share. Eventually Tacklemania expanded to a physical retail operation, and we sold the business in 2010 to pursue other opportunities."
After Tacklemania, e-commerce remained a passion for Nathan. "Next I authored the Australian version of ‘Making Money on eBay for Dummies’,” he says. “I began making public speaking appearances, presenting topics such as multi-channel retail strategy, freight and logistics, online marketing and search engine optimization.”
As he continued to develop his expertise, Nathan became an early adopter of Magento, a software platform and shopping cart solution for merchants. Soon he was providing consultation services for sellers seeking to integrate Magento into their business models.
Nonetheless, Nathan wanted to return to online retail himself, and when he eventually did, he turned to marketplace intelligence again for direction. Nathan analyzed several arbitrage opportunities in Terapeak and identified another promising product niche in the eBay costumes category. Soon afterward, he reunited with his former partners and founded Costumes.com.au.
Nathan took a slightly different approach with his second business. "What is unique about Costumes.com.au,” he says, “is the emphasis on traffic and sales through our online store. We are less reliant on any one sales channel, which adds to our overall stability. We probably use Terapeak a little differently than retailers who only sell on eBay.”
“We have a greater interest,” he continues, “in multi-channel sales data, and the eBay statistics that are important to us are used to represent a slice of the overall e-commerce market. eBay sales activity helps us to identify new trends, and to monitor category saturation and market competition."
Going multi-channel has changed Nathan’s e-commerce perspective. "Selling on eBay,” he says, “has always been a great experience for me. Even though we are focused on growing traffic and sales for our online store, eBay is still a significant sales channel for us and Terapeak is important in growing that component of our business.”
Though he is a serial entrepreneur selling across multiple channels, Nathan is quick to emphasize eBay’s importance for sellers. “I would encourage any new retailer to experiment with selling on eBay,” he says, “because of how useful it is as a staging ground for entrepreneurial strategies. eBay teaches you how to deliver great customer service experiences and I think it is a very worthwhile business component to refine early on."
Costumes.com.au currently boasts an enviable 100 percent year-over-year growth rate and multi-million dollar sales activity. We’re proud to have been an integral part its success.
Browse the impressive selection of costumes for all ages at www.costumes.com.au