When we have initial meetings with prospective clients they tell us their ideas and we are renowned for giving them honest feedback; if we don’t think an idea will work, we will tell them why. When clients discuss online shops their main weakness is usually their marketing (Things to consider when setting up an online shop) or lack of a solid business plan, but one client, Tim from Obstacle Kit had this conquered from day one.
Tim knew his target market perfectly, knew exactly how he was going to market to them and most importantly, had all of this well documented in his business plan.
Obstacle Kit specialise in providing clothing, footwear and equipment for obstacle and mud races. For those of you who do not know what these are, they are long distance running events which involve a lot of mud and various obstacles such as large walls, electric shocks, fire, and ice baths. (I did one for charity in 2012).
What Obstacle Kit sell isn’t unique, you can buy most of their products from other online shops or the high street, but Tim’s revolutionary idea was to fill the gap in the market for obstacle and mud races, and have a one stop shop for everything the runners need. Finding this niche is the first step to Obstacle Kit’s success.
This gave Tim a definitive group of people to market to, and using his contacts within the industry he has managed to arrange partnerships with various event organisers, meaning that they will promote his eCommerce website to their runners in exchange for him promoting their events. Obstacle Kit also target the runners directly by selling directly to them on event days, and Tim personally keeps “in” with the organisers by participating (and doing very well) in many of the races.
“From initial consultation through to design, delivery and ongoing support, Aaron and his team have been clear, concise and professional. They have supported me with great efficiency, really listened to my needs and actioned accordingly.” - Tim Lovett, Obstacle Kit
This is a prime example of how to market a business by not only contacting your potential customers directly, but finding a way of promoting to them in bulk from a ‘level above’, in this case the event organisers.
To ensure that the Obstacle Kit online shop remains the definitive place to go for obstacle and mud race equipment, Tim had another revolutionary idea. As Tim is very experienced at these races, he will personally review the items before they go online, and publish these reviews on the Obstacle Kit website. This has been so successful, and Tim’s opinions are so respected, that manufacturers now send Tim their items to test. Manufacturers want to be part of Obstacle Kit.
Obstacle Kit use their experience to suggest which of their products are best suited to each event, meaning that the runners themselves have confidence that they will be adequately equipped.
“They have also been incredibly patient through the consultation process no matter how many times I changed my mind and offered valuable suggestions based on their experience.” - Tim Lovett, Obstacle Kit
It’s fair to say that obstacle and mud races are usually for the younger generations, and as such the industry fits in well with social media. Tim has taken advantage of this and has a very active Facebook page with around 7,000 likes, a Twitter page, and a blog on the website. This not only provides awareness of Obstacle Kit, but Tim’s knowledge and involvement also defines it as the number one resource in the industry.
As this article makes clear, Obstacle Kit has been a success due to Tim’s ingenuity and solid business and marketing plans from the outset. Yes his website has been optimised for search engines, but this has never been relied on, and it was through Tim’s hard work and marketing ideas that this eCommerce website has been making money from the outset.
“I chose Webbed Feet from approx. 10 suppliers that I looked at both locally within Salisbury, nationally and internationally. I can 100% recommended them without hesitation and I am indeed looking to use them again for a future project already based on my experience.“ - Tim Lovett, Obstacle Kit
Obstacle Kit is a bespoke eCommerce website written by Webbed Feet UK. It has a responsive design so that it works perfectly on smart phones and tablets, has full payment facilities, discount codes, full product search, search engine optimisation (SEO), and lots of custom functionality behind the scenes. Tim and his team can update and manage everything from their admin area.
With the additional functionality behind the scenes, this website cost more than our normal eCommerce system; however a little look at the reports (with Tim’s permission of course) show that it should have paid for itself fairly shortly after launch, and is definitely a key part of making Obstacle Kit have a very successfully first year of trading.
Most online and offline businesses start off trading relatively slow but Obstacle Kit hasn’t, it really has started with a bang, and we believe that with Tim’s enthusiasm it will continue to do so.
You can view the Obstacle Kit website by visiting www.obstaclekit.co.uk.
If you have any questions about our eCommerce websites and online shops, then please contact one of our web developers.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Tim and the rest of the Obstacle Kit for their custom, and wish them every success in the future.