What’s Missing From Your Online Business: An Interview with Neto
This week, we’re taking an in depth look into Neto, the Australian hosted all-in-one eCommerce solution and exhibitor at Retail Global 2015. They share their triumphs, mistakes and their top tips for online businesses.
Q: Why was the idea of Neto created? What was the need that you saw in the market?
A: The Neto platform came about in 2007 because of a lack of suitable and more importantly, affordable eCommerce solutions in the market for Australian warehouse operations. Essentially, Ryan, the founder, was running an online business (Bigshop) through his parent’s warehouse in Capalaba, Queensland. The rest is really history, but one of the core strengths of Neto is that the platform is very robust and easy to use around warehousing, logistics and shipping. These features are a core part of the Neto platform unlike most competitors, who do not directly deal with many of the complexities around warehousing and shipping; they pass this off to 3rd party apps.
Q: You’re an online solution that has your own ecommerce site. What challenges do you face because of this?
A: The Neto vision is to create the most flexible, all in one, global commerce platform that connects wholesalers, retailers and their customers. So, yes we are an eCommerce platform with a shopping cart at the core of the platform but the Neto solution provides retailers and wholesalers with a whole solution to run their business.
Probably our biggest marketing challenge is how to simplify the very rich Neto feature set and to show potential merchants how the Neto platform is substantially superior to virtually all of our competitors. Unfortunately and disappointingly, there are too many people entering the online world and seeking the absolute cheapest solution. As far as eCommerce platforms go, let the buyer beware and remember the old saying, ‘you get what you pay for’. If you value your business and are serious about making money through the online channel, then be very careful signing up to the cheapest shopping cart platform.
Q: Your business has grown, quickly. What do you attribute to this?
A: Partly due to the core strengths and features of the Neto platform (which in almost all respects they are superior to our competitors), which when merchants understand how these help them make money and scale up their businesses with little pain or increased costs, they make the decision to change to Neto.
Up until 12 months ago, Neto was essentially a software development company, which just loved building amazing eCommerce software. Around this time, as directors of Neto we realised there is a window of 3-5 years in which we need to gain critical mass in order to become a true global player. To this end we have set about actively marketing Neto and building a sales and customer support team to help onboard new merchants. Prior to this we were really just growing organically through referrals.
Q: What does success mean to you?
A: Helping our merchants grow rich using the Neto platform – we want to provide a solution which ‘enables’ merchants to scale up their businesses and have the tools to grow their businesses infinitely using our Neto platform.
Q: Being at the forefront of ecommerce, you see a lot of stores. What are the 4 don’ts of having an online store?
Don’t try to over complicate your site with too much text or difficult navigation.
Don’t try to be too smart with different price points in different channels – the transparency of the web brings most people undone when they follow this strategy.
Don’t skimp on your website design, make sure you have a responsive template design.
Don’t try to be ‘all things to all people’ – focus on your niche.
Q: What are the 4 do’s?
Keep it simple.
Integrate and automate as much of the back end as possible.
Multichannel – give your store the best chance to be found by your customers.
Invest in good quality product images.
Q: What are the website tools that you can’t live without?
A: A good integrated email-marketing tool.
Q: What was the biggest mistake you made? And what did you learn from it?
A: To offer custom programming on the back end. The majority of merchants just do not value the difficulty in scoping, writing, implementing and then maintaining custom code for their platform. After many headaches and write offs on customer back end code customisations, we learnt that it is better to try and satisfy 90% of your target market and don’t waste your time on trying to educate the other 10% because most of them aren’t interested in listening anyway. Let them experience the pain, costs and delays associated with doing their own customer platform coding. Their competitors will be in the market selling to your customers and learning while you are still trying to build your site.
Q: Neto seems to have a really fun company culture. Can you tell us a little about this?
A: We like to work hard and play hard. It is a young culture but as we grow, the dynamics change. We try to be inclusive and try to also have a sense of social and community responsibility.
Neto will be exhibiting again at Retail Global 2016.
Follow Neto on Twitter