Retail SMEs across the country are making use of Amazon Marketplace, eBay and myHermes for their business needs.

At the start of last year there were an estimated 5.2 million SMEs in the UK, which accounted for more than 99% of all businesses across the country. For many people it is a lifelong dream to start their own business, but they are often put off by high start-up costs, a lack of experience, or not having the confidence to push ahead with that killer idea.

However, the growth of the internet has provided an opportunity for the creation of a new wave of SMEs, especially within the retail sector in the form of internet power sellers. With a host of easy-to-use platforms readily available – such as eSeller, Amazon Marketplace and eBay – a new breed of entrepreneurs are dipping their toes into the world of retail, often starting out single-handedly from a spare bedroom.

While Hermes works alongside a wide range of leading high street, catalogue and online retailers in the UK – including Next Directory, Asos, Tesco, John Lewis, Debenhams and Arcadia Group – myHermes is providing delivery solutions for small businesses, niche online retailers, and anyone wanting to send a parcel.

One satisfied myHermes customer is Holywell Tools and we asked the owner, Mick Day, to share some information about his growing business and what it is like to be an internet power seller.

Can you tell us a little about Holywell Tools?

Of course, I set up Holywell Tools two years ago and the business has gone from strength to strength. I sell anything from drills and lawnmowers to tool bags and multi-purpose saws. I do not have a shop and I purely trade through Amazon and eBay, and I operate the business from a unit in Leicester.

Do you have your own website?

No, I don’t really need my own website, as Amazon and eBay both have fantastic platforms that are easy to use. By providing quality products at good value, and by looking after your customers, you can achieve a five-star seller rating. That is the best marketing tool.

How long have you worked alongside myHermes?

Since the very beginning. All of the products I ship are through myHermes. I have an excellent account manager and a myHermes vehicle arrives each day at noon to collect the items. This allows me to ship products as quickly as possible. I sell approximately 1,600 items a month, and up to 2,000 on a good month – extra volumes could be a result of Black Friday, Father’s Day or bank holidays.

What do you look for in a delivery partner?

Punctuality is important to me and it is also vital to make sure a delivery partner will look after your parcels. Also, if I pay for a signed delivery, I expect that to be honoured. I’m very happy with the service myHermes provides.

What are your aspirations for the future?

More of the same really. I don’t have an ambition to be a millionaire, but business is going well and I’d like that to continue. My son has just started working for me too, which is fantastic. I like the freedom of running a small business – you can finish early one day, and put the hours in the following day.

What advice would you give to someone looking at starting a business on eBay or Amazon?

I’d tell them to take it slow and take your time – you don’t need to sell hundreds of items from the off. Make sure you do your research when looking at different product ranges, and also only work with suppliers you can trust.

  • Joanne Morley is marketing manager at myHermes