Case studies

Raising a glass to selling online

Release date: 10th July 2015

Claire Hall

Claire Hall, creator and owner of Percy's Vodka Iced Teas, has opened the door to a number of great opportunities since first exploring the ecommerce market.

In 2014, the Boston-based drinks entrepreneur decided she wanted to open up her business to new markets and began selling her range of alcoholic iced teas online. As a result Claire was fortunate to secure a deal with leading online marketplace notonthehighstreet.com and also started selling her product via her website.

Online marketplaces enable retailers and independent sellers to market their products without setting up their own online store. Advantages of using third-party retail websites such as eBay, Amazon and notonthehighstreet.com include free or low-cost set-up fees, straightforward product listings and administration, and the use of integrated payment systems such as PayPal.

Claire said: “I had spent a vast number of years overcoming challenges and I’ve found that selling online has been one of the best solutions.

“I’ve seen an increase in product sales since launching Percy’s Vodka Iced Teas online. For example, all of my products sold out within the first week of listing them on notonthehighstreet.com!”

Prior to focusing on ecommerce, Claire relied on showcasing her products at tradeshows and selling them to independent retailers.
Claire said: “Attending food and drink trade shows were a great tool for increasing the awareness of my brand and building relationships with independent suppliers.

“However, since understanding the full effects of online marketing I have discovered I am able to achieve similar results using social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

“Attending workshops organised by onlincolnshire has helped me understand the importance of social media for my business. I am able to connect and build a relationship with my customers and journalists, as well as gain new business opportunities.

Onlincolnshire is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and aims to promote good connections and encourage widespread use of digital technologies by businesses, residents and communities.

As well as taking part in the onlincolnshire workshops Claire attended the Lincolnshire Digital Conference 2015 in March featuring guest speaker Jason Bradbury.

During the conference delegates were invited to take part in a number of practical sessions covering topics such as digital marketing, digital law and 3D printing.

Claire, who went to Liam Lally’s session on digital marketing, said she’s really taken what she learned on board.

“During the session I received training on SEO, which I will continue to use to raise the profile my website and deliver a better customer shopping experience,” she explained.

Claire has achieved a number of successes since starting her business. Most recently she was crowned the winner of the Angel Manna Award, which was presented to Claire by Lincolnshire Chef Rachel Green, at the Angel’s Business Women Awards 2015.

Earlier in the year Claire pitched her unique product to Virgin’s Pitch to Rich 2015 project, in the hope of winning a £250,000 marketing campaign. Percy’s Vodka Iced Tea thrived in the public voting stages by maintaining a top 50 rank throughout and getting shortlisted in the top 550 companies.

“Although Percy’s Vodka Iced Tea didn’t get shortlisted in the semi-final round, I’ve noticed an increase in business enquiries via LinkedIn and other social media platforms,” said Claire.

“The competition was great exposure for my business as I received lots of coverage in the local press.

“I will continue to get involved in competitions and marketing opportunities in the future as they’ve been beneficial in building the awareness of my business both online and offline.”

For more information about Percy’s Vodka Iced Tea or to make a purchase visit: www.percys-t.com or http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/percys