Want to start your own online store? Stephen is the founder of www.gameseek.co.uk and has been on the net since 2000, still going strong today! But how did he last so long? Read on to find out how..
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your web business background?
Sure, i work hard and play hard. Set up GameSeek over ten years ago now selling video games on the internet using my own design skills. After 6 months hired a programmer and things progressed quickly. We now supply much more than just video games. We have moved into Toys, Electronics, even about to move into home appliances next.
You are one of the oldest game-stores on the net, many web stores have come and gone, how do you stay around so long?
Most companies go bust because they don’t make a profit. We do. It is the most obvious of things. People are too bothered about market share. They are willing to make a loss in order to get more customers. Odd. How do you go from being a game enthusiast to having your own online store? What knowledge is needed? You have to be of a particular character to run & own your own business. Knowledge helps of course but what is crucial is your own drive and determination.
What are the challenges of running a web-business that did not exist in 2000 when you first started?
It was easy really. I had the skills, i didn’t have the contacts, but i soon found them. There was little competition to be honest, alot of the large high street chains took too long to get online.
What do you think when you see new people pop up like Shopto with masses of funding behind them, do you have to re-arrange your business model?
Shopto are a distributor turned retailer. They have been about for years under different names. We don’t see them as our competition due to them dealing heavily in new releases where as we are a specialist game retailer. They are desperate to get market share off the bigger companies and i wish them the best.
What is the best part of running your own business and the worst part?
Best – Growing the company, overcoming the challenges. Taking on the big companies. It’s fantastic.
Worst – When things go wrong. I can’t stand disappointing our customers due to being very passionate. However i understand no business can be perfect and often opportunities can come from bad experiences.
Has your site changed much since it first started?
Yes. We have had 4 website updates since launch and we are about to having our biggest update in September. We are having a whole new relaunch to take advantage of ever increasing monitor resolutions! Also we are always trying to make it as easy as possible for consumers to order from us.
What have you done to keep your audience engaged and did you ever have any failed projects or big successes? What has stood out for you?
We don’t bombard our customers with emails all the time however we do engage with them when we have special offers on. We also engage through social networking (Facebook / Twitter and GameSeekTV on youtube.) I see the whole business as 1 project and am determined to keep it as a success.
What is your work day like?
Challenging. There is always obstacles all the time trying to stop you being successful. All can be overcome.
How could someone create an eCommerce store like your own? Are there any “secret tips”?
First and foremost the secret is hard work. Are you prepared to work 16 hours a day / 7 days a week? If so, come join in. What is the biggest thing you learnt in your time running your own web business? I have learnt about people.
Can you get rich running an eCommerce store?
Absolutely! Although that should not be your main focus and reason for starting an online store.
What is your favourite website right now? Other then your own?
I would have to say eBay right now. I am having a moment of buying up alot of boys toys. Quad bikes, boats, retro video games. I haven’t used ebay for years and noticed it has improved alot over this time.
What advice would you give to young people looking to start their own online store?
Do your research. Find out everything there is to know about a business start up. Be aware that most companies don’t make any profit during the first year of business. Work out a realistic business plan. Find your niche and work very hard. Enjoy it. Make sure you are passionate about what you are doing, otherwise you might not succeed. Find out what drives you and work with that. Speak to anyone you know that has set up a business and share their experiences. You can also speak to your bank manager.
Thanks so much Stephen!
Thanks so much. Stephen Staley, Managing Director, GameSeek LTD
Go check out www.gameseek.co.uk, had to mention, “GameSeek.TV” spell checker thought it meant GameSpot hah. Want to start your own online store? Check out how to start an online store. I think game-seek more of a pleaser then a player in the sense of “grabbing market share”. What do you think? What is important in an online store?