CASE STUDY

Blinds Downunder

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Blinds Downunder Set-Up to Succeed with A2X

Find out how this eCommerce start-up uses a combination of Shopify, A2X and Xero to simplify its bookkeeping and avoid any unnecessary paperwork. That means it can focus on growing the business, without having to worry about sales discrepancies.

That trifecta of accounting software is supported by other digital tools like HubSpot and Order Printer, as well as a custom selector giving customers the ultimate roller blind purchasing experience.

From builder to blinds: new eCommerce venture

Alan Mathewson has spent the past 20 years carving a career from the ground up, literally. Pre-COVID, he ran a small home renovations business, and for many years before that, he worked as a builder.

Restrictions have limited his ability to work on-site but, rather than sitting at home twiddling his thumbs, Alan had a lightbulb moment.

As the name suggests, Blinds Downunder is an online roller blinds retailer. Each blind is designed and manufactured to the customer’s specifications, everything from colour, fabric and rail style to width, drop and roll direction.

Starting a business was a spur-of-the-moment but well-researched decision, and it’s taken Alan some time to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together. But he couldn’t be happier with the way things have rolled out.

“I wanted to give homeowners more choice because the roller blinds market in Australia is fairly stock-standard. We also help people through the step-by-step process of choosing and installing their blinds, which is the fun part.”

Bringing custom blinds to Australian market

Trading in his hardhat for an entrepreneur status has been a learning curve for Alan, who admits he’s used to more physical labour. But he’s relishing the opportunity to work in people’s homes in a different way and navigate the exciting, sometimes rocky waters of eCommerce.

Since launching in November 2020, Blinds Downunder has established a solid client base, and despite ongoing restrictions, has watched its sales grow month-on-month.

According to Alan, a lot of that comes down to preparedness.

Before: Alan says no to data entry

Although the idea of starting an eCommerce business came somewhat out of the blue, Alan’s previous business experience had taught him some important lessons.

First, as your sales increase, so does your paperwork. Alan was adamant he didn’t want to waste his time with unnecessary data entry. Second, those same manual processes would hinder his ability to scale the business.

“I knew this time around, with the sales that we can make and the potential to upscale, we needed accounting software that would help us track our sales information.”

After: books balanced with A2X bow on top

A long-time Xero customer, Alan decided to stick with the accounting system for his new eCommerce venture. But he quickly discovered there was a disconnect between his Shopify store and Xero account.

Between further research and his accountant’s contacts, Alan was pointed in the direction of A2X for Shopify. He says it came so highly recommended, he decided to get it set up before he’d made his first sale.

“I thought of it this way: if I wasn’t paying for A2X, I’d be paying a bookkeeper to do it or I’d have to do it myself. I knew the double-handling that involved, and I was determined to start this business as clean as possible.”

Alan adds that A2X automates the transfer of his sales data from Shopify to Xero, which means he doesn’t “really have to do any paperwork” and can focus on running the business “instead of worrying about discrepancies.”

A2X is important part of business “running smoothly”

Although Alan hasn’t been in the eCommerce game long, what he knows for sure is “with technology around, why would you do mundane data entry tasks the old-fashioned way?”

He was intent on setting up his online business the right way from the start and believes with a combination of Shopify, Xero and A2X, he has strong foundations.

Alongside the accounting software, the business is further supported by other digital tools like HubSpot and Order Printer. It also invested in developing a custom variable product configurator, which allows customers to create their dream blinds online.

Alan’s advice to other growing online businesses is, “Explore what tools are out there to make your Shopify website more powerful.”

His long-term goal is to make “our platform 100% automated (or close to), so things run like clockwork.” A2X has done a lot of that heavy lifting already, eliminating unnecessary data entry, “that we’ve relied on them for so far, which is fantastic,” Alan adds.

“Without a doubt, A2X has made launching easier. It was the one thing that I didn’t have to think about and gave me peace of mind that it was just done and dusted.”

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