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Grow fast by listening to customers

StylishUnderwear launched just 3 months ago and is already enjoying 100-120 percent growth per month. Here, the husband and wife team behind this successful start-up reveal how their focus on customer service is creating a solid base for the business to build upon.

StylishUnderwear was born out of a market desire for just that – stylish, affordable and high quality men’s underwear, provided at a competitive price and conveniently available online. Launched online just three months ago by husband and wife team Emil and Souzie Khoury, StylishUnderwear has already seen solid sales growth, which can be attributed to a genuine focus on providing quality customer service, and more specifically taking time and preparation to understand their customer.

According to Emil Khoury, although the business launched just recently, around seven months worth of preparation went into the business – including research, design of the product, manufacturing, and development of the website.

“We did our research. We knew there was a need for quality, affordable men’s underwear, and we decided to follow consumer demand and launch purely online in order to offer our product to as many customers as possible,” Khoury said.

Setting up an online business came with a number of challenges, with Khoury revealing StylishUnderwear faced three primary issues. These included: 

  1. Getting the product right – finding suppliers that meet our standards of design and matching the product to our customer’s needs;
  2. Cashflow – the age-old small business problem. Start-up capital is always a risk, but this is the excitement of starting something of your own;
  3. Finding the right target market for the product, and then ascertaining the best channel to market to them.

The founders were able to count on their payment system from the get-go however, and recently decided to upgrade to the PayPal PayFlow system.

“We started with PayPal from the beginning. As a trusted payments provider, offering PayPal to our customers gives them the confidence to shop on our site without concern for the safety of their personal and financial details.”

The ease of integration was another bonus for the business. Setting up their site with PayPal saw it ready to take payments immediately.

“The management and tracking of payments through PayPal was also really simple, and using the PayPal App we are able to monitor any payments from the convenience of our mobile phones anytime. We are also aware that our customers want to be given the flexibility to choose their payment option, so we have integrated PayPal’s Payflow system which has been a huge success so far.”

Smart marketing

StylishUnderwear has seen 100-120 percent growth per month since launch which Khoury attributes to the smart marketing approach they used from the outset.

“Reinvestment into the marketing of our website and product is the absolute most important single thing that has accelerated our growth.”

Unlike a bricks and mortar store, which can be a case of ‘build it and they will come’, online stores need to drive customers to their site, and Khoury learned this lesson very quickly. Social media marketing has been the focus for StylishUnderwear, launching a Facebook campaign and partnering with a number of the group-buying deal sites to offer deals to their customers and get the word out there. Emil also heralds the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as a key factor in driving sales.

On advice for other business owners

“Research, research, research,” Khoury said.

“Make sure you do your research before taking the step to launch any business – on everything from marketing to manufacturing to competitor analysis – do the work before you start.  Don’t overextend yourself too early, make sure you test a product in the market first and see how it sells.”

Listening to customers has also been a real focus for the StylishUnderwear business, which Khoury believes is the key to success for any commercial endeavour 

“We have had some great feedback – even to the point where customers are asking that we email them when our women’s line comes out, just so they can buy it for their wives!”

As well as listening to their customers, The Khoury’s operate StylishUnderwear with a focus on three key areas: 

  1. Providing a good quality design at a competitive price point;
  2. Investing in marketing – This may seem daunting at the beginning but if it is done right, these will be the most important dollars any business will spend, and;
  3. Ensuring great customer service and developing strong relationships with the business’ customer base.

What’s next?

StylishUnderwear currently stocks the CrazyBones brand of underwear exclusively. When asked if there would be a possibility of selling other brands on his site, Khoury is very clear.

“We are focusing our energies on developing and nurturing the CrazyBones brand. Our plans are to continue stocking only the CrazyBones line on our website, so we can ensure the highest quality of design and manufacturing.”

The future for StylishUnderwear also includes plans for expansion into a women’s line of CrazyBones underwear.

This case study was produced to support the Driving Business Online program, a national educational initiative founded by PayPal Australia with support from its industry partners. The Driving Business Online program consists of an educational roadshow educating businesses to launch or grow their business online in addition to the Driving Business Online website.

Lorna Bretthttp://www.dynamicbusiness.com.au
Lorna was Dynamic Business’ Social Web Editor in 2011/12. She’s a social media obsessed journalist, who has a passion for small business. Outside the 9 to 5, you’re likely to find her trawling the web for online bargains, perfecting her amateur photography skills or enjoying one too many cappucinos. You can follow her on Twitter @DynamicBusiness