Bono: 'Much faster growth due to outsourcing of fulfilment'.
Bono, at the time called Verbeterhaar.nl, grew from a study project to the Benelux market leader in the field of hair products within a few years. Founder Justin Regterschot explains how he managed to conquer this competitive market so quickly.
During his software education, Justin was advised by a friend to launch the web shop Verbeterhaar.nl, in order to immediately put theory into practice. "At the time I was suffering from hair loss, for which I bought products from America. Because of this, I knew that customs considered most of these items to be unregistered medicines, which made importing them difficult."
'Was soon sending forty orders a day'
After Justin received permission from his favourite brand to bring this line to the Dutch market, things moved quickly. Although he spent most of the day studying, within a few months he was at around forty orders a day. " I didn't have time for SEO, but through Google Shopping, Google Ads and Facebook ads, I managed to reach my target audience well."
In 2017, Justin graduated, hired employees and decided to outsource fulfilment. "This was the best choice ever. Where I used to spend almost all day processing orders, I now had time to expand the product range and explore other marketing options," says Justin, who now has four hundred to five hundred orders a day.
Presentation, innovation and service decisive
When choosing a fulfilment company, a number of aspects were decisive: presentation, innovation and service. Justin visited three fulfilment providers, after which Active Ants was chosen. "They were one of the first to use robots on a large scale. With my technical background, I found that to be a nice added value."
However, the decisive reason was the presentation of the fulfilment company. "We sell luxury products. The last thing we want is for our items to be stored in a dusty, old warehouse," explains the owner. Packaging was also important. "Where other parties were still working with dark brown boxes, Active Ants already had beautiful, sustainable packaging."
Focus on Benelux and DACH region
Since Justin has been working full-time on the company, not only the number of orders has increased significantly. The sales area and the product range were also broadened considerably. Because Verbeterhaar.nl no longer covered the range, the shop was given the more generic name Bono at the beginning of this year. With Bono.nl, the company focuses on the Benelux, while Bono.de serves the German, Austrian and Swiss consumer.
The focus on the Benelux and the DACH region is related to the shipping costs. "In contrast to shipments to southern Europe, for example, we hardly pay more for these countries than for domestic orders. Also, thanks to Active Ants' good partnerships with the carriers, we can deliver quickly, which makes us competitive with local providers in many areas."
'Half sales come through marketplaces'
Justin serves consumers in other European countries through Amazon. The company is also active on Bol.com. "We get half of our turnover through marketplaces, which is far too high. We may score very well on the marketplaces now, but if they change their conditions so that our products fall into a grey area, things can suddenly turn out very differently."
A lot of interest from the retail channel for our own label'.
With its own line, OASE, Bono is now also targeting the business market, making it less dependent on consumer marketplaces. "Under our own label we now sell hair vitamins and a face roller, but we will soon be expanding the range with five more products."
Although the assortment is still limited (for now), there is plenty of interest from the retail channel. The OASE products are available at Bijenkorf and Douglas, among others. The brand is also sold by some large beauty shops and hairdressers. For foreign markets, Justin prefers to work with local distributors. "You can find OASE in the Middle East and Scandinavia, for example," he says.
'Thanks to best techniques, we can easily scale up'
As Bono receives hundreds of orders every day, which also come in from different channels, a streamlined logistics process is essential. In addition to the central storage at Active Ants, the company has part of its stock at Amazon and Bol.com. In total there are eight different warehouses, all supplied by Active Ants.
Active Ants also plays a role in supplying the resellers. "Our distributors are responsible for the shipment, but Active Ants takes care of all the documentation and makes sure the pallets are ready", says Justin, who wants to scale up considerably in the near future. "The fact that we have used the best techniques since the start, both internally and externally, is paying off now. With two or three more people we should be able to at least double our turnover in the next few years."
Grow your web shop by outsourcing fulfilment to Active Ants.
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