Ben Panzarino was not looking to make a quick dollar when he bought Condomania during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a digital marketing expert turned entrepreneur, he bought the business, which is one of the largest condom retailers in the US, as a passion project. No pun intended.
His goal was to continue to build an awesome brand and take Condomania down the long road toward being the number one player in his industry. While some have said that buying a business during a global pandemic is insanity, Panzarino discovered that it is not that bad if you are willing to give it all you’ve got.
Tip One: Commit to a serious relationship
The first thing Panzarino learned is that you should not purchase a business if you are not ready to commit. To own a business is to have a special relationship with that business. It is not a casual relationship. You need to be its ride or die.
Whatever the business is, whether a 100 percent online shop like Condomania or a more traditional brick and mortar, in order for it to succeed, it needs to be a big part of your life. You need to be willing to change some of the things that you are currently doing. You will definitely need to change your schedule. You will probably need to change your mindset.
Typically businesses do not grow themselves. You need to put the resources into them. If you really want it to succeed, be willing to put your all into it. You need to love it.
Tip Two: Spice it up
Condomania was doing well when Panzarino bought it, but he believed it could be doing better. He saw an opportunity from the start and he still sees a huge opportunity to take a brand that needed a little love and give it some of that love. So he took some steps to invigorate the business.
One of the things Panzarino decided to do was spice up the customer experience. This included some simple steps like sending out more consistent and more engaging email messages to Condomania’s clients. After fulfilling an order, they follow it up a couple of days later with an email that includes advice on the proper way to put on a condom or what types of lubricants they recommend.
More importantly, Panzarino took some steps to make sure that his customers have an awesome experience when they open up their order. He explored what he could do to take unboxing to the next level. Now when people receive their items, they find stickers and pamphlets and word searches, making it a more exciting tactile experience.
Panzarino tries to put himself in the position of the consumer. He asks himself, “What would be really exciting to me to get in this box?” If it makes him excited, hopefully it makes some other people excited and they will keep coming back.
When deciding what this looks like for your company, lean it to your personality. Panzarino has a quirky personality and he tries to put in everything that Condomania is doing. Don’t worry about copying your competitors. Add your own fun flair to the experience.
While efforts like these take time, energy, and resources, it communicates to your customers that you care about more than just a sale; it says you want to have a long term relationship with them.
Tip Three: Become intimately familiar with your product
When it comes to business, Panzarino wants to know how everything works. He believes that it is critical to understand how things have been done in the past and what changes need to happen for things to be optimized. While you cannot always be the one running everything, until you get involved and determine the way to do things, you will not be able to know who the best people are to fill in the blanks when you need to move on to another part of the business. Leave no stone unturned.
One thing he did at Condomania was move their warehouse in house. Many ecommerce brands have warehouse providers, which means that the boxing is completely out of their hands. At Condomania, they had a lot of shipping hiccups during the first year. They responded by taking that aspect of the business in house.
Once they brought the inventory in house, everything became so much easier for Panzarino and his team to visualize. They knew what inventory they had. They knew what it looked like. They knew the difference between an eight ounce tube and a twelve ounce tube. They could hold a product in their hands and get a feel for the quality. If it seemed like the quality was poor, they could cut it out right there and avoid the complaints and returns.
The change was not only about being able to physically touch products and see what they look like and see what the customers would experience. It was also about making sure that the company was shipping out products on the same day that they were ordered, accurately, and packaged in a way that would give customers an awesome unboxing experience.
Managing packaging and shipping in house was a much better experience for Condomania than they were having with a third party shipping company when the items were literally out of their hands. You can have a really cool quirky brand experience and a fun website, but at the core of it, people want to get their products and they want to get them fast. That is the core of Panzarino’s business and he made sure that part of his business was optimized.
Overall, you need to stay focused on the idea that the business is your baby. You need to commit to it, know it well, and help you customers to experience it. If you don’t love your business, why should anyone else?
Published December 4th, 2021