Small Business Saturday Blog

Monday Seller Success with eBay: The game is afoot

Sunday, October 23, 2022 at 19:44
Monday Seller Success With Ebay

Red Herring Games is a murder mystery entertainment company that stocks a huge range of small group dinner party games and the widest selection of large group murder mystery games you will find anywhere on the internet. Their services cover the full spectrum from conception through to completion, providing custom writing, manufacturing, retail and wholesale of games, scripts, subscription boxes and event services both nationally and internationally.
The business started quite by accident. Founder Jo Smedley wanted to set up a coffee shop, but the bank refused her the start-up loan. Some friends suggested that she try to sell the murder mysteries she had been writing for friends and her church in order to raise some capital (Jo’s first novel, The Missing Witness, is available on Amazon), and Red Herring Games was born. Jo told us, “Needless to say, I never got to run that coffee shop, but it’s lovely to be able to take something like writing that I never thought would pay and turn it into a business!”
Red Herring sell their games through a wide variety of outlets, including their own website, ecommerce platforms such as eBay, social media, and distributors, as well as at trade fairs and markets. They told us, “It’s really important to be available and visible in the same places your customers are looking for you, so we sell through as many digital channels as possible. Every now and again, we even get a walk in sale – and when that happens we all run around squawking like chickens, because it just isn’t the norm!”
They’re grateful for the support of other small businesses, whose support, encouragement and advice has helped them go from strength to strength. A local business networking group helped Jo learn the business basics and also gave her the confidence to take the little steps, which in turn gave her the confidence to take bigger steps. Being able to get free and informal advice allowed the business to take flight.
Jo told us that after attending the eBay Business Roadshow, they signed up to the eBay 12 week training package to get some 1-2-1 support. They weren’t expecting much and thought it might just be a series of videos. However, they were delighted to have their very own marketplace advisor, Laura, who talked through everything step by step. Jo said, “There is no other market place site out there that offers this kind of 1-2-1 support from a real person and honestly it’s been invaluable, not just with what it’s taught us about selling on eBay, but also because we can apply some of the same information to other areas of our business to improve sales there.”
What’s the secret to their success? In part, it’s being exceptionally good at what they do, and because they provide such great customer service that people have turned into repeat customers and have been happy to spread the word.
However, Jo is always aware that half of everything is luck. She told us, “I’ve always believed you make your own luck. There are hundreds of businesses out there doing something very similar and sometimes it really is just luck that lands you where you need to be, right place right time. However making sure you are the person in the right place at the right time to take advantage of the luck when it comes your way – that is the secret. Treating customers like royalty, responding really quickly, giving them your best 100% of the time, and then going the extra mile – that is what puts you in the right place to get lucky.”
Unsurprisingly, one of Jo’s top tips in the current market is to work together with other small local businesses: she suggests finding businesses with the same customer base and working together on joint marketing. “We all have customers who aren’t feeling the pinch quite so much, so we just need to pool resources and work with other businesses who have similar clients and introduce them to each other.”
Red Herring are hoping to release a new escape game to celebrate the UK’s tenth Small Business Saturday, which will be free to play on the day. Watch this space!
Final word goes to Jo: “If you had told me 15 years ago I would be holding my own in the international market and be the first name big brands thought of for their office parties, I would never have believed you!” We can believe it – there’s nothing fishy about that.


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