We’re always learning more about fascinating new business models from our incredible customers. Today, we’re profiling South Africa based Sensational Kids - an eCommerce business that fosters a community of like-minded parents who want to have fun with their children, all whilst meeting their developmental needs. A family business, Debbie takes care of product selection and content while Andrew manages the technical aspects of the business (for those of you that are UK-based, Andrew also runs The Hatchery, a web design and development business).
Founder Debbie Mobbs is an energetic mother of two young boys, who wanted to combine her love for being a mom with her career passion of being a paediatric occupational therapist.
Previously, Debbie worked in a cerebral palsy unit associated with the world renowned Red Cross children’s hospital. With experience in a wide variety of conditions and difficulties, Debbie is well aware of the challenges that parents face in managing their children’s development. Channelling those insights into the development of Sensational Kids has been instrumental in the success of the business.
What sets Sensational Kids apart is the additional value they offer to their customers. Too often, children are given toys that are either too easy or too difficult for them, resulting in them losing interest in the toys quickly. Toys are thus frequently under utilized - and Sensational Kids is filling a gap by giving parents a guide to solve that problem.
We wanted to push people to think about toys and games in a different way - to help parents choose developmentally appropriate toys for their kids. - Andrew Mobbs, co-founder of Sensational Kids
To help parents make the right selection, all the products on the Sensational Kids are categorized by age, type, as well as key developmental skills. Each toy also comes with a list of extension activities in order to maximize the impact of each product.
Take the Edubeans bean bag as an example.
The five brightly-colored bean bags have numbers and corresponding dots to help with perceptual skills. The weight of each bean bag differs from the next, which can help children grasp the abstract concept of heavy vs. light...- Sensational Kids website
Each product also comes with a guide to help parents grasp which key skills the toy targets.
Sensational Kids considers themselves a service-oriented business. While maintaining the core principle of only offering quality products alongside quality service, the entire purchasing process has been built with one thing in mind - to provide the most value for the customer.
As eCommerce becomes increasingly saturated, online retailers face an interesting challenge - when your competitors are just a mere click of a button away, and products are available across so many platforms, it can be a struggle to stand out.
Sensational Kids is intriguing because of the amount of emphasis placed on fostering a sense of community and sharing information within that channel.
Like many small businesses, Sensational Kids started out on spreadsheets. As the business grew, however, it became increasingly difficult to track inventory movements - and stock outs became a real concern.
Prior to transitioning to TradeGecko, a lot of time was being spent on ensuring that stock was represented correctly. This means making constant checks of stock information against purchasing and sales information - an administrative nightmare which drove a lot of their day-to-day decision making. It's a challenge that many retail businesses face. With a manual system, increasing the number of available products will also force the business to scale the amount of administrative time.
Like many of our customers, Sensational Kids are using TradeGecko alongside Xero. Prior to using Xero, they were spending 3 days a month to do accounts across 3 sets of books. After implementation, they were spending just 4 hours every quarter.
The results have been similar with the implementation of TradeGecko, says Andrew.
We no longer have to think about stock! Nowadays, the time we spend on ‘managing’ stock consists primarily of planning our purchases. It feels like executive decision-making instead of the complex, repetitive administrative task it once was. - Andrew Mobbs, co-founder of Sensational Kids
As the eCommerce business model becomes increasingly popular, the market will become inundated with more players. It's important that businesses keep up and continue to offer an added value to their customers to stay competitive.