This is a follow up story for Delray Watch Supply. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi, my name is John Pietrasz, Co-Founder and Chairman of Delray Watch, DelrayWatch.com. With my business partner, Federico Iossa, we have built an e-commerce company that enables watch collectors buy, sell, and trade the watches in their collections.
Also, we run several YouTube channels that educate and inspire current and future watch enthusiasts.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Since the last time StarterStory covered us, the business has been up to a lot! We have grown considerably by re-skinning our website, expanding our inventory by diversifying our product offerings, and building out our team.
The more expensive option will yield a better outcome- more than enough to cover the cost.
First, we have fully migrated our website, DelrayWatch.com to BigCommerce. Also, we have tailored the experience to insights on our customer base. Using analytics and heat mapping tools, we were able to fine-tune our website and prioritize pages, models, brands, and other content that users were most interested in. After using these tactics to also modify a few of our other existing pages on the site, we have seen overall traffic increase by 40% and conversion increase by 7%.
Next, since checking in last, we have expanded our inventory. In our industry, luxury watches, inventory tends to be the most powerful lever to pull to change the outcome of the business. In other words, we have found that by adding more diverse inventory more sales are generated. While we do have 5-6 brands of watches that make up the majority of the sales, the rest of the sales are scattered almost evenly across other brands. By adding more uncommon brands and models, we were able to attract more customers that did not know of our business previously.
Along with adding more diverse models and brands of watches, we have also begun to offer new watches through a broker service. Previously, our business worked only with pre-owned watches. Now, a customer can come to our website, find one of the hundreds of watch SKUs, and we can find this watch for them at the absolute best price possible using our leverage and pre-negotiated rates with a network of authorized dealers across the world. We launched this program 2 months ago and already have many happy customers.
Lastly, we are excited to announce that we have added members to our team. We have added a watchmaker to our service center, an additional operations associate, and a specialist senior photographer. Part of our current team is pictured below.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
This last year, I have learned further that it is incredibly important to focus on knowing your customer tirelessly. This can be interpreted as knowing your customer personally if you are providing a service or if selling goods, knowing the profile of your customers. In the case of our business, Delray Watch, we have found the interests of our customers have changed over time.
Our sales process now includes knowing the customer more intimately at intervals. Customers are asked the types of watches, brands, and models they are interested in, which is cataloged inside of our Salesforce build. With this data centralized, we can run reports on top-performing brands and models compared to the brands and models that customers said they wanted. From there, we can add these brands and models to meet the demand of the customers, thereby increasing sales.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
In the next year, we plan to further increase our inventory, add additional team members, and generate more content for watch collectors.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
There are many tips and tricks that I and we have learned along the way with Delray Watch.
First, I would suggest cutting too many costs. Sure, this will mean something different to everyone. Though what I mean by this is often, the more expensive option will yield a better outcome- more than enough to cover the cost. For example, over time we have automated most of our systems, which comes at a financial cost. On a small scale, it can be easy for entrepreneurs to overlook unnecessary things that come at an expense. Though, at scale, it becomes VERY expensive to do things without that automation. Frequently I see entrepreneurs wait until they hit that point before investing in their business foundation, though at that point it becomes difficult to manage. If there are any issues, there will be lost sales.
Second, I would suggest fellow entrepreneurs focus on building a community for their business. We are lucky and fortunate that watch collectors tend to be community-driven and enjoy engaging with other collectors. This paired with delivering to our customers consistently allowed us to grow quickly by word-of-mouth.
Third, I am a dedicated advocate for knowing the numbers of the business. With a startup, resources can sometimes be or feel limited. I believe it is incredibly important to make the most of every opportunity and resource. By knowing the numbers of the business, revenue, sales, profit, net profit, cash flow, top-producing models, source of cash, use of cash, etc, an entrepreneur can allocate or reallocate resources accordingly to achieve the best outcome. There are many free MOOC programs online that can help with this for those looking for a refresher or from a non-business background.
Last, I have learned that it is helpful to engage in entrepreneur networks. There are organizations of fellow entrepreneurs that meet to bounce ideas off of each other and grow together. I would recommend reaching out to fellow entrepreneurs people know or look for groups in your area.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes- we are currently looking to hire a general manager.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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