When quality handmade knife manufacturer SA Knives needed a cutting-edge fulfilment solution that was completely on point, they turned to Bob Go. Now their stunning kitchen, hunting and folding knives are being delivered direct to doorsteps across South Africa, and they’ve been able to cut through a whole bunch of red tape. We sit down with founder, Michael De Necker to chat about their incredible #SuccessStory.
When you built your online store, how long did it take you to complete the journey from concept to launch? You can include a background as to why and how you started selling the goods you sell.
Initially, I purchased handmade knives for my personal collection on eBay. However, upon receiving them, I realised that some did not fit my collection. As a result, I began selling these knives on Facebook. It was then that I realised the demand for high-quality handmade knives, which led me to establish my own online store.
Prior to launching my online store, I frequently purchased items for myself on Bidorbuy. This experience inspired me to sell on the marketplace myself after opening my store. I also utilised the auctions functionality to sell my products. This marked the beginning of my ecommerce journey approximately 15 years ago.
What did you find was the easiest or simplest part of getting started online?
One of the easiest aspects of my online journey was purchasing items on eBay and then reselling them on Bidorbuy or Facebook. However, my business has since progressed to the point where I now have my own suppliers who create products according to my specific requirements.
Thinking back, how did you approach the task of online marketing and what resources do you use nowadays for inspiration or functionality?
When I started selling online, I relied primarily on Bidorbuy and Facebook as my only resources. Today, I employ a diverse range of marketing tools, including Google Ads, Bob Shop (previously known as Bidorbuy), my Shopify store, Facebook posts, print media, and other platforms and websites. By leveraging these resources, I have been able to effectively promote my products and connect with a wider audience.
Which platforms would you recommend for ecommerce, accounting, shipping, marketing (etc) and how do you stick it all together?
I have developed my website using Shopify and have seamlessly integrated it with Bob Shop and Bob Go. To manage my shipping and orders, I rely on the efficient services of Bob Go. Additionally, I use ShoppingFeeder to manage my Google feed. To expand my reach, I have listed my products on Takealot, in addition to Bob Shop.
What obstacles are you facing in the online space at the moment?
Selling niche items, such as handmade knives, is very challenging due to the many limitations in place. These items are often categorized as “dangerous weapons,” making it difficult to market them online. As a result, many online platforms, including Facebook, prohibit the sale and promotion of knives. Even marketplaces like Takealot and Bob Shop are unable to feature handmade knives on Google due to these restrictions.
If you’re considering selling products online, it’s essential to ensure that your items don’t fall under these restrictive categories as it can impact your paid advertising campaigns.
Sell online or in a traditional bricks and mortar store? What prompted your decision?
I can’t think of any reason for someone not to sell online. Personally, I opted not to have a physical store due to my remote location and work-from-home setup. Selling online was the most viable option for me. I began as a sole proprietor and have since registered my company with SARS as an importer. Over the past few years, my business has experienced significant growth.
Moving on to Bob Group now – how long have you been a Bob Go and Bob Shop merchant?
I have been with Bob Shop for close to 15 years now, and a Bob Go merchant for about 7 years.
What improvements would you like to see on Bob Shop or Bob Go?
I hope that the recent updates to Bob Shop will help boost my sales, which have taken a significant hit over the past year. While listing items on auction has generated some sales, it has proven challenging to ensure that costs are covered. Nevertheless, auctions have been a valuable tool for selling old stock when new items arrive.
What I am really hoping for from Bob Shop is the ability to feature my listings on Google and increase awareness of my store as a direct sales channel. Despite adding promotional categories to my listings, this has yet to happen. It is crucial for my business to be visible to potential customers, and I believe that Bob Shop will be able to assist in this regard.
What advice would you offer someone that is considering starting an online business in 2023.
My recommendation is to launch your online store and gain extensive knowledge about ecommerce from the experts in the field. One such expert is Warrick Kernes, the founder of Insaka Ecommerce Academy, who can provide invaluable assistance.
Get your quality handmade knives from SA Knives today.