After a long career in the food retail industry, Mark Crowhurst saw an opportunity to create an ecommerce business selling models and slot cars. Like many categories in the hobby, entertainment and collectible space, product searches were starting online. There was an opportunity to meet both collectors and hobby enthusiasts where they were spending time—online.
After establishing Mcslots as a business in 2013, Mark managed sourcing, product photography and listing in-house. He set about building a multichannel strategy, combining a direct-to-consumer website and listing a range of products on a variety of ecommerce marketplaces.
Mark’s business soon found an engaged and loyal customer base online, with organic growth on its Shopify storefront. Etsy, eBay and Amazon proved initially successful in reaching UK shoppers, and Fruugo helped the retailer reach shoppers in international markets. Wish also became an emerging sales channel.
The problem: Avoiding overselling in-demand collectibles.
Building up a range of popular SKUs was critical to the business’ success, ranging from must-have slot cars to rare collectibles.
Mark Crowhurst, founder of Mcslots adds: “shoppers in this category can be very particular. They may be searching for a niche product to complete a collection, or be casually browsing for their next purchase. It’s important that we offer a wide variety of high quality products to choose from, as we know shoppers will return to us again if we can offer a strong range, and can offer them a positive buying experience.”
As product ranges grew across multiple channels, listing management, order management and inventory management became more time-consuming processes. Mark found himself spending time on manual tasks rather than focusing on customer experiences or expanding product ranges, thus limiting his business growth.
What’s more, manually updating available stock across all channels put Mcslots at risk of overselling, missing out on valuable selling opportunities and potentially damaging brand reputation.
The solution: Seamless multichannel inventory management.
After selecting Linnworks to manage channel listings, order management and inventory management, Mcslots soon saw the impact of a centralized platform for ecommerce workflows. Mark comments: “I can bulk list new products to various selling channels, ensuring that popular product ranges are available on eBay, Amazon, Shopify, Fruugo and Wish in a timely manner. As orders come through from each sales channel, stock levels automatically update in Linnworks which means we don’t have to hold stock back or manually make updates to avoid overstocking. This eliminates any errors or delays, and by always having an accurate picture of how stock is performing across all our channels, it has helped us to capitalize on opportunities on all our sales channels.”
The future: Building a loyal multichannel customer base.
With more time to focus on the business, Mark is investing his energy into improving the customer experience, first by continuing to expand product ranges for popular franchises and best selling items. Initially the business was focussed on model and slot cars, but now includes action figures, model kits, toys and branded merchandise such as t-shirts.
With an engaged consumer base, Mark is aware of the importance of an engaging shopping experience through to a positive customer experience for delivery and fulfillment.
“We have a 24 hour turnaround for orders by using next day services from DHL and Royal Mail, which we connect through Linnworks,” adds Mark. “We have also put time into developing bespoke packaging, as well as ensuring packaging is more environmentally friendly and cutting out non-recyclable materials. That is important to our customer base, but also to our values as a business.”
Mark also has more time to focus on building out Mcslots marketplace presence even further, and sees great opportunity in Wish as a sales channel.
Mark comments: “Wish has become a key selling space for us and as we manage all inventory and order management through Linnworks alongside our website and other marketplaces, it's a seamless experience. Wish gives consumers a mobile-friendly and engaging shopper experience, and are very supportive for new merchants. After seeing initial success, we plan to increase the range of SKUs we list on Wish and I'll be investing more time improving our sales on Wish in 2022."
Alan Small, Head of Business Development for Wish Europe, says: “Wish focuses on fun and entertaining shopping through a cross-border ecommerce platform. We are committed to supporting merchants like Mark from McSlots, in order to help scale their Wish businesses using Linnworks. We’ve recently introduced the Wish Standards program, representing our long-term commitment to rewarding exceptional merchant performance and elevating the Wish experience for all.”
Mcslots plan to trial further categories on Wish and other selling channels in 2022 to tap into scheduled theatre releases, major franchise anniversaries and growing fandom amongst hobbyists and collectors. In order to further support business goals, Mcslots are also keen to explore the wider Linnworks ecosystem by integrating further apps and functionality into their ecommerce workflow.