This Is It Stores is a general goods retailer based in Devon. The company was established over 20 years ago and specialises in selling a wide variety of products from respected suppliers and well-known brands, including home and garden items, sports and outdoor goods, toys, luggage and more.
This Is It expanded into e-commerce in 2010, initially building a website to sell its products online. Although sales were slow to come through on the website, it was a good route into the wider e-commerce industry. In 2011, This Is It decided to expand further by selling on Amazon and eBay.
When starting out, This Is It began by manually writing and entering all of its product descriptions for eBay and Amazon. This was a very time-consuming task for This Is It’s team and restricted how many products they could list. The company used its website as the hub for its inventory data, so the team had to copy and paste product details to the marketplaces and update the quantity each time a product was sold.
‘We realised immediately that automation would be needed for us to scale on marketplaces,’ said Josh Piercy, online retail manager at This Is It. ‘eBay was a great success for us from the onset and we were under pressure to get more and more products live on that channel.’
This Is It began working with a provider who built a bespoke integration for them to list on marketplaces. The automated system took pressure off the e-commerce team, but any changes to eBay or Amazon’s requirements meant that the integration needed to be rebuilt, which took time to implement.
In July 2013, a heatwave in the UK caused a surge in sales of leisure goods for This Is It. However, during this peak selling time, This Is It discovered their integration solution had a limit on the calls that could be made on eBay’s API, causing their automated system to crash during peak summer trading. At this stage, it became clear that the company had physically outgrown its solution and needed a robust platform to help scale its business.
This Is It began using ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces to list on eBay and Amazon. From one integration point, ChannelAdvisor enables This Is It to list products faster, optimise listings for more sales and manage fulfilment easily across multiple marketplaces.
‘It was immediately clear that ChannelAdvisor’s relationship with global channels meant that we were always a step ahead. If any new features, best practices or category changes are made in a marketplace, the changes are made in ChannelAdvisor immediately. Not only has this kept us ahead, it means we’re future-proofed against any industry shake-ups,’ said Piercy.
Based on its success in the UK, This Is It decided to grow its business into Europe. With ChannelAdvisor’s support for over 40 marketplaces globally, This Is It was easily able to expand into new regions. ‘We started out by selling to Amazon Germany. It was a seamless launch as all of our data was already in ChannelAdvisor.’
Following on from its success using ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces, This Is It turned to ChannelAdvisor to automate and optimise its digital marketing campaigns. The company had been manually managing its campaigns on a small budget. When the results were positive, the company decided it wanted to do more with Google Shopping.
‘We had been manually running our digital marketing campaigns ourselves and wanted to expand on this success. However, we were downloading three or four different Excel documents to try to stitch together a plan of where we should allocate our budget,’ continued Piercy. ‘Once we started using ChannelAdvisor Digital Marketing, all of this became simplified. Now we have insights into product performance that allow us to grow revenue on this channel. The product is easy to use and is helping us thrive on digital marketing channels.’
Since joining ChannelAdvisor in 2014, This Is It has been able to scale its business and expand to new channels and regions with ChannelAdvisor. The company now aims to continue expanding to new regions across Europe and begin listing on UK marketplaces such as Rakuten.co.uk and Tesco.
‘Our relationship with ChannelAdvisor has helped us to significantly scale our business,’ said Piercy. “If we weren’t working with ChannelAdvisor, we wouldn’t be able to list as many products to as many channels, and we wouldn’t be as successful as we are today.’