Nottingham success – how to start a successful online business

Many have dreams to capture the business potential of the internet but Midlands-based business owner, Andrea Guzyova, has done it. From a standing start in 2011, bakerdays now employs over 20 people and has a turnover of £1.5 million.

bakerdays’ core business involves designing and personalising cakes then ensuring their safe and quick delivery. What sets the company apart from others is its innovative letterbox cake which has been rigorously tested – one involves a 30ft drop to ensure the cake remains intact – to ensure it lands safely through any post box.

Having seen the rise of mass customisation and the decline in greeting card sales, bakerdays knew the greetings industry needed a new, innovation-focused, online company. Andrea Guzyova, managing director at bakerdays, explains: “To be unique in the greetings industry, we made an upfront and significant investment to create a highly innovative, bespoke website which offers the customer a personalised, 3D image of their chosen product and unique design – all accessible from their preferred device – mobile, tablet or desktop.

“bakerdays is a customer-centric business. There’s an emotional connection between us and our customers and we do a lot of customer service training with our team. When we first started out, we didn’t have the big budget of some companies for advertising, so we relied on word of mouth and online reviews. That’s how we started to grow, and we could tell we were on the right lines because our repeat order ratio was phenomenal.

“Today, we’re most proud that our Google rating stands at 4.8 out of 5 and our Feefo service rate is also 4.8/5.  That’s a remarkable and real score of how happy people are with what we do and how we do it. The gift we’ve come to really appreciate is the review. There’s no better, single source to inspire my action list of how to improve our service – from every department’s perspective – and we now read every one.

“However, we want to build a bigger, better, faster service for our customers – they are our top priority.  If we can ease their journey – from finding the perfect cake design to choosing the best option – then we’re half way there.

“Being a relatively new business, we’re still pretty much in our infancy so as far as the future goes, we do have big plans, so we can say with certainty that there remains a lot of hard work ahead to achieve what we have set out to do. We’ll continue to innovate in the personalised market for any occasion but we’re particularly excited to be expanding our gift shop for this ever-growing market. Soon you’ll be able to have two and three tier wedding cakes as well as cupcake towers from bakerdays, all bespoke and personalised of course.

“It’s a very exciting prospect as we are constantly growing, and our ambition remains as strong as ever. As with any successful business, once we achieve our goals, we set ourselves new ones, so we won’t be putting our feet up any time soon!”

 Andrea’s top tips to launching an online business:

  1. You’ve got to do your research. Look for the gaps in your market. Know your market inside out. Understanding your target audience as if they were your best friend. What makes them tick, which lifestyle brands they love and loathe. For bakerdays, bloggers have been crucial to our success.
  1. 71% of all internet users, globally, are also social media users. Today, we have over 100,000 followers on social media. For us, we had to learn how important social media was for marketing, who our target audiences are and when best to post. Our customers are mostly women aged 35-50 and we post on Facebook every day between 7am and 9am.
  1. A lot of people try to take shortcuts with e-commerce, but we believe it’s better to be thorough and patient. At the beginning I worked 14-hour days and the hard work paid off.
  1. My personal advice would be to test your website through an independent web company – it can save you a lot of time and money – trust me!

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