Interview: Find Me a Gift managing director Adam Gore

Find Me a Gift (FMAG) makes 50% of its annual turnover in the six weeks leading up to Christmas, going from 1,000 orders on a typical day to 12,000 every 24 hours during the festive period.

Luckily, founder and managing director of the online retail business Adam Gore found time in his busy schedule at this time of year, to speak to us about the company, where its focus lies, and the challenge of online Christmas trading.

Interesting initiatives on the horizon include cost-per-click product promotion with suppliers, and new methods to increase conversion rates. But in December, it’s all about Christmas for Find Me a Gift.

Tell us about Find Me a Gift, and the business model you’ve created…

Find Me a Gift was started in 2000 from a spare bedroom with a £6,000 loan from HSBC. Our amazing team have grown it into the business it is today: with a £15 million turnover and over 56 permanent staff members, which increases to over 200 in December.

Our vision is to deliver happiness around the world with our memorable gifts and experiences, and through each interaction with our customers, suppliers and FMAG family.

What are the aims of the business and what are its unique selling points?

We strive to treat our customers like individuals with unique requirements, providing exceptional customer service, an outstanding user experience on all devices, offering unique memorable gifts and experiences for them and their loved ones. Our USP is our wide variety of gifts to suit all recipients, that shoppers wouldn’t necessarily find elsewhere.

Tell us about some of the brands you have on board…

We’re lucky enough to sell a few licensed ranges on our site that are very popular with our customers. In particular, we sell a number of pieces of Star Wars merchandise, which has been a best-seller over the past two years due to new films such as The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and the soon to be released The Last Jedi reigniting the series’ popularity with a new audience.

We also sell several Marvel products, Harry Potter, and Disney ranges which have an enduring appeal with our customers. We’re proud to sell licensed ranges with characters that are well-loved by all ages.

Talk to us about your team – how many staff, where are you based and what’s the company culture?

We’re based in Southam, a small business in the heart of Warwickshire, and we currently have 56 full-time permanent staff members. However, in November and December we employ over 200 additional temporary Christmas team members to work in our warehouse and customer services departments.

Our culture revolves around nurturing our Find Me A Gift family by creating a fun and professional team environment where people are given training, responsibility, and recognition to enable them to achieve and succeed. We treat all suppliers and partners with respect and bring them on our journey.

At Retail Connections we like to focus on technology, what examples of sophisticated systems/ecommerce tech/fulfilment options/payment methods are there at Find Me a Gift?

Recently, we’ve focused our attention on increasing our conversion rate. For example, we have adopted user behaviour-optimised merchandising which ensures we show the most suitable products to each of our customers. This helps make customers’ shopping experiences on our site feel unique, and increases the likelihood of them buying from us. We’ve also invested a great deal of time and resource this year to optimise our mobile page speed to give our customers the best possible user experience, which again drives conversion.

In addition to this, we are currently testing cost-per-click product promotion. This will give suppliers more power over the placement of their products in relevant categories of our website. We think it will be a great step in cementing good relationships with our suppliers and will hopefully lead to generating more relationships and partnerships with new brands and wholesalers.

Finally, we use feedback and survey software to allow our customers to give us information as they use the website and at friction points in their buying process.

We notice Trustpilot has pride of place on the homepage. What role does user-generated content play in the success of your business?

We’ve always seen user-generated content as crucial to the success of Find Me a Gift, as it gives customers a much more rounded opinion of our products. As well as our own reviews and Trustpilot we are also a Google certified shop with a score of 4.7 out of 5.

What business performance figures can you share with us?

We’re proud to announce that in 2016-17 we had a turnover of £13 million, and our revenue grew by 30%. Our 2017-18 target revenue growth is 30% again, so we’re currently on track for a great year. Seeing this continued stable growth provides us with confidence that our strategies are working and gives us some scope to try new, innovative techniques.

How much of your business is conducted at Christmas, and how do you ensure your site, staff and technology is prepared for peak?

50% of our annual turnover in occurs in the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas. For example, we go from 1,000 orders a day to 12,000! To ensure all orders get sent out on time, our warehouse goes from being open from 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, to being open 24/7.

It’s a massive challenge for all our team, but we stay prepared because we spend most of the year forecasting carefully and creating several contingency plans to cover any potential emergencies. We start recruiting temporary staff as early as possible to ensure we can cope with demand as soon as we hit our peak, and our expert purchasing team spend month carefully forecasting product sales to ensure we don’t run out of what are predicted to be best-selling products. Of course, we always have lots of chocolate treats to hand too that have helped our staff through many a busy day!

Lots of online retailers are opening stores. What considerations have you made to physical retail? High street shops? Pop-ups? Anything on the horizon?

While we have considered opening a pop-up shop in the past, we currently don’t have the expertise in-house to run a retail store. Therefore, we would need to recruit an entire new team. At present, we are happy with our growth but it’s worth taking into consideration for the future. It would be great to try something new and see how it all goes.

What are your key goals for the year ahead?

In 2018, we’re hoping to continue to innovate our company to make it more profitable, focus on designing and creating more of our own products to differentiate us from our competitors, and develop our brand reputation further to gain more customer loyalty.

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