Meet James Pitts-Drake, Founder & CEO of OptimizonBecca Donaldsonon January 18, 2022 at 14:00 TechRound
James Pitts-Drake started selling refurbished Digital Cameras on eBay from his parents’ garage 17 years ago, then went onto selling brand new products on Amazon and eBay. He also created a successful consumer electronics brand which he sold before starting up Optimizon in 2016. With years of successful selling, James saw a gap in the market to offer consulting services to blue chip brands looking to scale and grow on Amazon, eBay and other marketplaces.
This coincided with Amazon reaching a tipping point in 2017 that saw more sales on Amazon going through third party sellers than its own sales – a crucial moment that made blue chip brands really sit up and take notice of the shopping channel for the first time. It wasn’t just about wanting a slice of the pie in sales terms – they were also keen to protect the hard-won reputation of their brands, and make sure consumers were getting a consistent experience, whether shopping online, in bricks and mortar or on a marketplace.
Optimizon was one of the first UK born Amazon agencies and has managed thousands of products and achieved spectacular growth for clients on Amazon, eBay and Wayfair.
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What Challenges Have You Faced as a Business?
We have grown very fast in the last 2 years and have experienced growing pains in recruitment and processes. Making sure all staff and processes are set up is critical to the function of the business and serving new clients.
We have also been affected by Brexit, and all the new restrictions around shipping into the UK and Europe. Shortly after this, the global pandemic led to a worldwide shortage of containers and the cost of transport sky rocketed, so the cost to consumers went up dramatically. Some of the brands we work with ran out of stock due to this issue, which interrupts the flywheel, and it takes time and effort to win back those sales.
How Did COVID-19 Impact Optimizon?
At the start of lockdown, things looked bleak, but COVID led to a boom in consumer home shopping, which fast tracked our business into super mode! Even more brands wanted to get on to Amazon and other Marketplaces. We had our biggest growth year yet in 2020/21 as more consumers buy online whist the pandemic is still here.
What Are Your Plans for Growth?
We plan to continue to expand our UK operations as well as in Europe, USA and Australia. We no longer see ourselves as an ‘Amazon agency’ but as a ‘marketplace agency. We’ll keep adding Worldwide Marketplaces to our service offering and continue to build great relationship and help get more sales for our clients – all the time helping them keep control of the brand.
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