Online beauty retailer automates back-end in time for big growth spurt
With A2X, Silver & Beauty’s Marek Lasisz never has to worry about his invoices again
It’s not surprising that Marek Lasisz is the creator of online beauty business Silver & Beauty – some would say it’s in his DNA. Marek’s mother owns a beauty parlour in Germany, where he spent most of his childhood. It’s also perhaps why he moved into retail, working as a general manager for Aldi supermarkets in the UK for 11 years.
But in 2017, Marek decided to turn his retail experience and beauty product knowledge into a side gig, and one day run an eCommerce store full-time.
He spent a year meticulously planning and ordering stock – and began selling on Amazon. In 2019 when the company was incorporated, he added eBay and his own Shopify website to his eCommerce platform mix.
Fast-forward to 2020, a week before COVID-19 hit the UK, Marek quit his job at Aldi. Most would say it wasn’t ideal timing, but the move worked in his favour.
“Health and beauty are the most important sections in any retail business – especially during a global pandemic. Amazon contacted me and said they wanted me to bring more items into FBA – and they worked directly with me to do that,” Marek explains.
Today, the business ships between 5,000 and 7,000 items a month to customers all over the world through multiple eCommerce platforms.
But as Marek explains, that accelerated growth came with back-end problems.
Overwhelming volume of transactions
Within a matter of weeks, sales had scaled quickly and Marek’s business was booming. While your initial reaction might be a fist pump, that type of growth can also be a shock to your back-end systems.
Being VAT-registered was another milestone, but that added sales tax requirements. And when you’re dealing with thousands of sales per month across multiple platforms – things can start to get messy.
On top of all that, Marek had problems when he first started selling on eBay – he found it difficult to sort out what fees he owed and how much. He also couldn’t get payments from eBay to match up with his sales and all the associated fees.
In the end, VAT was the straw that broke the camel’s back – and that’s when Marek came across A2X.
With A2X, “I never have to worry”
Before A2X, Marek relied heavily on his accountant to keep his books in order. As he added more platforms and sales increased, he realised it wouldn’t be long before the work was costing him time and money.
“I’d never have been able to process 5000 to 7000 invoices by myself, and if you ask any accountant to do that – they’d probably laugh at you,” Marek says.
Marek started using A2X across Amazon, Shopify and eBay just as he registered for VAT, “so the good thing was, everything was bang on – right on time.”
He worked with his accountant to map his codes and accounts correctly and within a matter of minutes, the issues between his sales data and accounting system were sorted.
“The great thing about A2X is your set of reports are much more accurate because you know your sales transactions have been captured and settled automatically.”
Marek says it’s also very easy to fix a mistake – without taking hours to wade through all your data.
“If something goes wrong, it’s very easy to delete the transaction and send it again.”
The icing on the cake? Marek can use one app to manage all his eCommerce channels.
“Even though I believe A2X is well worth the investment, I also like how reasonable the pricing is – even as you scale your eCommerce business.”
Building an empire using the right tools
Marek is a one-man band – alongside Amazon FBA and dropshipping, he picks and packs orders himself – and he firmly believes there’s no way he could have survived this long without using digital tools to support his growth.
He might be stating the obvious, but just because something says it’ll make your life easier doesn’t mean it will, he says.
Marek was one of the first eCommerce retailers to test A2X’s eBay integration, which allowed him to give feedback on how the tool worked for him as a seller. Beyond the fact that the tool works well, he says A2X is continuously improving its product.
“I didn’t like the platform [eBay] when I started using it, it wasn’t easy to operate. A2X has helped change that for me.”
Digital tools like A2X have been critical to the recent growth of Silver & Beauty. Marek encourages other eCommerce sellers not to be afraid of expanding their business to other platforms – just make sure you find the right software to ensure your business does grow.
“There was a point where the business wasn’t as big, and I was only selling through Amazon. But I knew I needed software as soon as I started creating the website and adding eBay.”
If that doesn’t convince you, Marek says focusing on increasing profit – rather than sales – should.
“There’s no point trying to grow your sales if your profit margins are low – because you’re spending too much time doing processes that could be automated with tools like A2X.”
With his eCommerce platforms and accounting system seamlessly integrated, Marek has big plans for the future of Silver & Beauty. He wants to continue growing his reach in international markets and hopefully, release his own line of beauty products one day.
One thing he knows for sure – taking an initial leap of faith has paid off.