Trust is a MAJOR asset in online businesses and we are always looking at ways to prove our trustworthiness and show customers why to trust Cheap Sheds. What’s more, we have to defend our reputation against the competitors who try and undercut as.
Look, the reality is, we have been serving customers for over 7 years and just like any business we have our challenges to deal with. Recently it has been the small competitors or so-called ‘no gimmick’ one-man shows who are targeting you and trying their best to persuade you not to trust Cheap Sheds.
But we are onto them… we have been in business long enough firstly to know what they are up to and secondly, know not to care.
However, it is these competitors we worry about more so that they could potentially be a disadvantage to YOU as a customer.
So today I would like to share with you some insights about the online garden sheds industry, so you can make an informed decision when you buy your storage shed.
Our Foundation: Creating a Better Buying Experience
I remember the day when I started to share my idea with friends and my family…
Every single person I told I would be setting up a business to sell garden sheds online told me it wasn’t a good idea.
Some tried to be polite, some were straight to the point and told me it was a very bad idea and it would never work. Nobody would buy a shed online, there are too many risks.
However, when I experienced the difficulty of trying to buy one myself offline, I knew there had to be a better way and I was going to find it!
I did a lot of research and convinced my wife, Maria that we had a huge opportunity in front of us. The chance to create a better buying experience for people wanting to buy a good garden shed easily.
We started immediately and to our surprise grew rapidly. Word of mouth was a huge driver in our initial growth and it still is today.
Over the years as the industry grew, more and more storage shed stores started popping up online, and competition has grown tenfold. We have enjoyed the growth and loved the challenges, even competing with the big box hardware stores which certainly has been the biggest challenge of them all (I could write pages and pages about it).
However, as much as we are competitive, we also appreciate the fact that healthy competition brings innovation, and in the end, it benefits YOU, the customer.
It keeps everyone on our toes, and it should be this way.
Along with the big box hardware stores, there are some competitors that come and go. These little guys are usually only around for a few months or even a few years at best.
They are the ones I want to discuss & warn you about today.
WARNING: They are not there for you for the long run
I am personally concerned about the impact some of these businesses are having on the market and community, and not in a good way.
I’m not concerned about the challenges we face with these businesses, we can hold our own, but rather the lack of value they bring to their customers.
We have dealt with competitors stealing our content entirely. Believe it or not, another business once swiped our site entirely, all images, even the videos with me talking on it. Put it on a very similar domain name to ours and was hoping to pass off our reputation. We often catch them with customers spotting it and letting us know.
However, the latest tactic we have experienced is competitors boycotting our ads to bad mouth or advertise their own brand.
A business with an unknown reputation is trying to pass off on our ad and ‘one-up’ Cheap Sheds by posting to our Facebook ads.
See an example from the owner of a company that calls itself i-Sheds on our own Advertising on Facebook:
We don’t know anything about this business apart from being a new unknown website to the industry.
It is not my intention to put this business down, however, it makes me think…
“Why wouldn’t a business owner, that claims to take customer calls and be so great, be looking after customers instead of trying to spray ugly ‘graffiti’ on a competitor’s billboard?”
At the time Facebook charged for every comment on the ad (this has changed since then), so the competitor is trying to promote himself not even caring it cost money for Cheap Sheds.
It should make every customer weary about what kind of ethics such a business owner would have if they think it is okay to go down this road?
It is exactly the same as climbing up to a competitor’s billboard beside a highway and spraying your own URL over it instead.
Yes your URL is up there and everyone will see it but:
Didn’t you consider what everyone who sees it will think of your business if you operate in this manner to get exposure?
Did you think customers would think, “WOW, this must be an awesome business to deal with”? I think not!
If YOU ever run into trouble during a transaction, do you think a business that operates this way will be there to assist you or run things ethically?
Don’t Underestimate The “Big Guys”
It is not long ago when we were starting out and basically developing the industry and now, the ‘one-man shows’ and very small businesses, are looking to us as the “big guys”.
Some make the mistake of thinking we are too big to notice the small things like the ad and that it would go unnoticed. We take so much care in our service that we monitor every ad we run and get back to each and every customer who comments or ask questions. We are very particular in our customer service.
Competitors don’t understand that the entire Cheap Sheds business is built around the customers and servicing them post-purchase.
Everyone thinks it’s about the cheapest price, however, that is not the case.
Let me explain…
This is not an easy industry for support because it is a DIY market and sometimes it can be challenging. The DIY skills may vary from customer to customer, so there is a different level of support required for each scenario and you need to be able to be there for everyone.
Cheap Sheds Products are the cheapest we can offer, while STILL sustaining our business and providing long term service for our customers.
We have been around a long time, unlike competitors who have come and gone, sold inferior products to their customers, and then disappear. This happens either due to the fact they cannot sustain their businesses and look after their customers or other more sinister reasons I need not mention.
Over the years we witnessed 2 competitors going undertaking hundreds of thousands of orders and desperate customers actually ended up contacting us to help them to recover their losses. Even though they purchased from a competitor, we helped out several ‘victims’ of competitors’ that could not sustain their business and went under, taking customers with them. Many other small players who started out after we are long gone, we are actually the longest-standing online shed store.
We don’t always get things right, but we certainly go to extreme lengths and go out of our way to make sure that we are always there and assist our customers. From having this business model based on excellent customer service we have become the leader of storage solutions online.
So Why Trust Cheap Sheds?
Cheap Sheds has been voted as the Most Trusted Australian Retailer recently, beating the giants like Kmart. We are regularly referenced by the media and have been acknowledged by the Australian Government for the work we do for our customers (click here to watch the interview)
Any competitor that thinks they can outsmart years and years and years of hard work of literally building the online shed industry and all the relationships we build with our customers is not only fooling customers but fooling themselves.