It took Bruce Dally a mere two months to get his first 100 orders, selling drone parts online. Less than six months later, he had received his first 1000 orders.
The world of drones consists of several niches, some of the more well-known ones include defense, surveillance, movie production, etc.
Bruce focuses on the racing niche, a market that consists of drone hobbyists who buy parts and build their own drones for racing.
As the drone racing market grew, Bruce noticed that there was a lack of compact, high performance parts that worked well with existing drones.
These are the kinds of parts that drone racers wanted the most, but no one was manufacturing them.
So Bruce began tinkering and designing what his market was hungry for. Within months he had a product design and a manufacturer in China ready to build them. He was excited about being first in market with these products.
And then he hit a roadblock.
A few weeks before Bruce was to launch his new product line, a bigger competitor began shipping a similar type of product. Except they had a significant market presence and lower costs associated with economies of scale.
This new competition put a dent on Bruce’s first launch. But he soldiered on and managed to sell his inventory over time.
Bruce was able to hit his first 1000 orders in the first 6 months because he is highly engaged with his customers.
In fact in February 2016, 80% of revenues came from repeat orders from current customers. He does no online advertising except spending some money sponsoring local drone races.
Bruce’s fast growth was powered by using following tactics:
- Providing a high quality product
- Providing great customer service
- Using RewardCamp to offer rewards and keep customers returning
- Using Facebook to stay engaged with customers
Below are more details about the tactics Bruce used.
Implemented a customer-friendly loyalty program to keep customers coming back
Bruce tweaked his loyalty program in the following ways to convert new customers into repeat customers:
- Bruce knew that by making it easy for customers to earn rewards, they were more likely to return. So Bruce chose the most customer friendly rewards app on the BigCommerce app store. He configured it so that every customer who placed an order, earned a cashback reward for their next order. This gave customers a reason to come back and they did.
- He configured the rewards app, so that customers would not have to redeem their rewards. It would be automatically added to their checkout cart. This surprised and delighted customers at the most important conversion point – during checkout.
- Used rewards to brand his store. He called the rewards Bruce bucks and even created a humorous image of Bruce bucks.
- He setup the rewards app to send monthly reminders to those who did not spend their cashback rewards. This lead to customers who forgot, to return and order.
Used Facebook Groups to interact with customers and keep them engaged
Bruce created a Facebook group as soon as he opened his online store to keep his customers engaged. He followed these eight principles to grow his Facebook group.
- Bruce never added anyone to his group without their permission, including customers.
- Since there was no activity in the group in the early days, Bruce would post content every 3-4 days. Mostly this included videos of him building drones or flying drones.
- Whenever anyone posted in his group, he would respond right away. If someone posted a picture or a comment, he immediately gave it a like or commented.
- He was a part of several public groups in the drone niche. Instead of blatantly promoting his products or group, he offered advice and helped others in the group. This established his personal reputation in the community.
- He performed a giveaway promotion in one of the other groups. But first, he asked the permission of the group moderator. Once he got their permission, he did a simple giveaway promotion. The giveaway promotion was very successful and lead to those members being curious and checking out this group.
- After a period of time, customers began posting pictures of products they bought in the Facebook group. Soon they were also cross-posting these images to other drone related groups, giving Bruce free publicity.
- If arguments broke up in the group, he’d handle it by sending private messages to both parties and asking them to calm things down.
- Bruce also does not allow talk of competitors in his groups, just like no one goes to Target and starts promoting Walmart. If he sees anything he does not like, he quietly deletes it without making big fuss about it.