Do you know that person who is just impossible to buy for? Maybe Zak Edwards, CEO of Prezzybox.com can help! This site features thousands of gifts and even has a snazzy gift finder application you can use to find the perfect gift for that special person.
Prezzybox.com is more than an online gift retailer. Prezzybox.com has around 2000 unique and unusual gifts for birthdays, Christmas Presents and all other occasions. They have a wide array of customized gifts that you can personalize on their site!
MO: Was Prezzybox.com your first business? Tell us more about your entrepreneurial background.
Zak: Yes! I worked for my father who ran a number of shops and cash & carry’s throughout the UK in the motor trade. When he sold the business I had the choice of either working for the new regime or ‘going it alone’. It was the time of the .com boom, so I opted for the latter and launched Prezzybox.com. The rest is history…
MO: What do you enjoy most about running Prezzybox.com?
Zak: I love the autonomy of running my own business and determining the direction of each and every move that the company makes. If we want to redesign the site we can. Likewise we can spend Friday Afternoon in the pub ‘brainstorming’! Work has to be fun, if it’s not then what’s the point.
I also enjoy how nimble we are as a .com and how it enables us to gain a competitive advantage over our larger, more cumbersome competitors. Many of direct competition have a high street presence, whereas we are pure play Online. A decision that takes us hours, can literally take them weeks and weeks to go through their levels of hierarchy. This give us a huge competitive advantage! Take for example the new Google+ brand pages which were launched last week. Ours will be complete in a couple of days whereby I’d wager that a lot of our competitors won’t have it complete this side of Christmas.
MO: You have had great success with Prezzybox.com. Running an ecommerce site is not always easy. What advice would you give someone wanting to start an online business?
Zak: Research is really important. The beauty of the internet is that everything is transparent. You can see what your future competitors are doing and you can find lots of information out about the state of the sector you hope to move in to. You can then determine how viable it is to move into that sector without wasting a lot of money.
Another great piece of advice is that you can get a lot of things for free. From the platform that your site is developed on, through to marketing initiatives, if you know where to look, you could launch a fully function ecommerce website for very little cost.
MO: Gaining traction for a website is always scary at first. When did you know Prezzybox.com was going to succeed?
Zak: We were always pretty confident that we were going to succeed from day one for a number of reasons. We had good pedigree at the top of the company, we were passionate and believed in what we do and we kept our expenses to a minimum from day one. That was really important.
Reality soon set in when we launched the site and the orders literally ‘limped’ in. However, as we’d kept our costs so low, we didn’t panic, but followed our growth plan and after several years began to approach levels which we were satisfied with.
Success is relative. We could very easily run Prezzybox as a lifestyle business now. We are fairly successful and make a decent living from it. However, the other Directors and I are often at work before 7am, working most Saturdays, emailing one another in the middle of the night inter alia. It may sound clichéd but Prezzybox is more than just a job – it’s ‘our baby’ which we are determined to turn into a Global brand in our sector. Whether this takes 2 or 20 years we won’t rest on our laurels until we have achieved this goal.
MO: If you could go back and do anything different regarding the start of Prezzybox.com, what would it be?
Zak: That’s the million dollar question. LOTS is the answer, but one thing in particular stands out, namely how long it took us to launch the site.
We took an absolute age to launch Prezzybox because we wanted to launch with a whole raft of added value features – such as a Gift Reminder service and a Wish List scheme. In reality these features were not required to actually sell gifts. They were just ‘nice to haves’. In hindsight this gave us a competitive disadvantage to our main competitors were busy marketing themselves and building a brand name in the early days of the net, whereas we were waiting until the site was one which was all singing and dancing.
If I were to have my time again, I’d have launched a basic website straight away, market that site to generate sales and build a brand name and then add features as we went along.
MO: Can you tell us about the new marketing campaign for Prezzybox.com?
Zak: Prezzybox now market themselves in a number of different ways, but still maintain the dictum that marketing doesn’t need to cost the Earth. If you’re clever, research thoroughly and think a little outside the box, you can still gain some great exposure at very little cost.
True, we’ve recently TV advertised but we still leverage ‘free marketing’ through clever SEO and use of Social Media. For example we’ve recently launched a referrals scheme which encourages users to create a buzz about Prezzybox on social networks. The cost to us – £5 off an order, whilst the benefit – an acquired customer who previously was unaware of Prezzybox at a really low cost.
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