Online Accounting with Integrated Ecommerce
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Baitsonline to SportingKit - Inrax Case Study

Baitsonline started as a farm diversification at about the turn of the millenium. At the time it allowed a small 100 acre farm to suplement a barely profitable cattle and arable business with income from worms sold to the fishing industry. Once its potential was realised, the business was spun off into its own company, Cedarstone. The directors of the company learnt how to produce worms efficiently indoors where conditions could be controlled. It supplied the local wholesale market in tackle shops.

It was realised that the worms could be sold more profitably online. In fact it was realised that the web could be used to build an entire angling bait business online, by making use of redundant farm milling equipment and reselling third party baits. Baitsonline was born and is now arguably the most successful online bait business in the UK. However before Inrax ecommerce was available Cedarstone had to take the decision to start with a standalone web shop. This started well, but exhibited all of the problems that this site claims are such a drawback to separating the web shop from the accounting and stock control.

By the time Baitsonline switched to Inrax ecommerce, Cedarstone were close to needing to hire a dedicated book keeper to keep up with all the online transactions. As soon as the site was live on Inrax, almost all transactions generated as a consequence of web sales became automatic, or required minimal clerical effort. Cedarstone was able to bank this saving directly.

By definition fishing bait is a highly seasonal business with most sales occurring in the summer. It was realised by the directors that the Inrax set up and the fulfillment operation could sell just about anything which would sell. The hunt was on for another idea, preferably for one which would be busy when Baitsonline was quiet in the winter. It was recognised that Inrax' unusual ability to support more than one web site feeding into a single accounting system would allow marketing of entirely different products from bait.

In the end Cedarstone selected sporting clothing and accessories as a target market. The new web site went live in November 2004. From a standing start it quintupled turnover of the company in December, which is a slow month for fishing bait. The increase in turnover has continued.

You can see the two sites at www.baitsonline.co.uk and www.sportingkit.co.uk . Both sites have made active use of some of the more innovative features of Inrax ecommerce for marketing. For instance both have used vouchers to good effect to boost sales, and Baitsonline has an active and highly successful policy on selective emailings, which typically double sales in the three days after the email drop. Baitsonline has banked its first cheque from use of Google Adsense, supported by Inrax. Both sites make active use of Froogle, again supported by Inrax. In summary Inrax has allowed a rural business cast aside its disadvantages of location and go after new retail markets on equal terms with other established offline retailers.