Terry McGinnis of Online Shop recently announced that the popular British marketplace platform Online Shop would pivot into a subscription style model from a marketplace only model. This comes after immense growth ever since its inception back in 2021, with warehouses and office HQ being opened at the heart of UK, Yorkshire several months thereafter.
Terry who is the founder and acting Chief Executive Officer of the company and a marketing maestro also works with other companies to help them grow, or even their clients, joining as innovation director for marketing company Multiply, co-founded by Josh Kalms and George Mack and previously being one of the co-founders of Veriaty, an asset management firm based in Miami co-founded by investor and real estate mogul Robin Vauvelle with investments in various tech startups across the US.
The startup Online Shop now aims to help more independent businesses and entrepreneur go-getters to quickly and effortlessly launch their own shops on their own domains rather than having to compete for sales cross the entire Online Shop domain. This provides most people with the advantage of having robust software at their fingertips without having to worry about competition from other sellers.
Terry who has a varied background and skills which he acquired by working with some of Hollywood’s top studios, startups and agencies managed to utilize all of his knowledge to achieve precedented growth which many businesses fail to realize and capitalize on. In just several months of launching the company started receiving thousands of hits a day mostly via organic traffic and social media.
We composed a questionnaire for Terry after a survey of our readers hoping to provide helpful and free insights for those looking to utilize growth strategies for their own business ventures.
Q: When you started Online Shop, what was the first growth initiative to attract buyers to sellers?
Terry: Social media definitely helped, we spent a lot on Meta [Facebook/Instagram] and utilized Google Merchant advertising frequently to help accelerate our growth, increasing cart value was our number one priority to give the best value to all of our sellers. We developed quite a sophisticated system that we added to our existing offering, matching shopping patterns and third party data to match customers with best sellers.
Q: Many say the marketplace space is crowded, how did you manage to grow so quickly?
Terry: It really isn’t one thing, it’s a combination of a lot of things. From branding to SEO [Search Engine Optimization], everything is necessary. I often times tell other founders that they must have an entire marketing mix in play or else they will fall behind, even if they have a crazy good solution, it’s important to have your finger on every aspect – you never know where you may see growth or even improvement. Just having a Facebook and a LinkedIn page can greatly boost your social signals. Investing in SEO will also improve your domain authority which in turn help with your e-mail deliverability.
Everything should be in place, marketing is no longer just about being seen and heard everywhere, it’s also about being reliable, transparent with your audience and represent the best your product or service can be, and you need to do it on every medium if you want longevity and relatability within the market for years to come.
Q: How did you fall into marketing, and what you enjoy most about it?
Terry: I’m a coder by trade and passion, although nowadays I tend to focus more on the executive level decisions, back in my younger days I had to learn every aspect of digital. You couldn’t be just a designer or a programmer to push a good product out, we didn’t have so many collaboration tools or freelance services at our disposal.
I started all the way back when I was 6 years old with my first PC. As I grew older and older, I undertook more and more projects from web design, to 3D modelling to programming for video games. I had to learn Photoshop to design icons, use 3Ds Max to rig models and Unreal as the engine – then when you finish a game, you need to market it, you need to design and host a landing page. It all fell into place eventually.
My favorite part is the challenge presented, you might solve an everyday problem for potential customers but you face another problem, how do you get out into the market? That’s one of the most enjoyable aspects, and one of the reasons why I joined Multiply. I see a lot of startups facing such challenges, and I love helping them overcome them – I love collaboration. And I am able to multiply the challenge across different sectors, all that have different solutions.
Q: Raising money for a business is hard, do you have any tips for the perfect deck?
Terry: Start with the team, put your team and the people that will make your company successful at the forefront. Investors want to see confidence, expertise and history of doing. Instil confidence and allow them the satisfaction of going through your pages, knowing that the company is in good hands.
Q: You said that your team is everything, would you say that Human Resources are important for businesses?
Terry: Definitely. You cannot have a successful company without people – a successful company is just that, it’s a group of people working towards solving complex issues for others. That’s how I view it anyway. I wouldn’t be able to do this without or tech, marketing and customer support teams.
We recently had Siraaj Ahmed and Michelle Byun join, two superstars in their own rights alongside Alan Zadeh and Ziad Barakat who are all working very hard to put us in the US market right now, with our new offering and expand from there with new teams and new challenges.
Q: You’re one of the oldest crypto evangelists, what are your thoughts about the current market and do businesses need to adapt quickly to this recent change?
Terry: I think so like with anything its all about recognizing the requirements of your business. Of course having a way for customers to pay in crypto is great but should businesses speculate on the market? I don’t believe so, like with everything careful considerations must be taken when investing in absolutely anything, no matter how much.
Providing a way for your customer to pay in their favorite method is a great way to attract a wider audience, I believe businesses that think about the future of commerce, and how to adapt to market changes quickly are the ones that will really drive crypto as a homestay.
Q: You managed to make a success of yourself in the crowded e-commerce market, do you have any advice for others that are trying to start out?
Terry: E-commerce in my eyes will always remain a safe bet, its like investing in water or bread. People will always need ways to buy and sell. If you can make their life even a bit easier, then it’s a win and an improvement to an ever evolving way of life.
Focus on something that improves a persons life, or helps them make the right choice – it could be a new e-commerce platform or a new product.
Q: What is the one core focus every business should focus on when it comes to online growth?
Terry: It’s hard to answer, for me personally, it is all about organic growth. Think SEO.
Investing in ad spend is a great way to see results quickly and engage the market. To think about it in laymen’s terms – you’re buying traffic on keywords your customers search for, or a spot in a feed for the audience you think you need – organic is different.
You’re investing in something long term; it makes you focus on producing quality content, and providing real value for immense potential. But a lot of businesses are turned away from the prospects of what SEO may offer, or even a simple blog authoring strategy because to see any worthwhile result takes effort and patience. But its key for long-term success.
Q: What is your one digital tool you use most often in your day to day line of work?
Terry: Google. Ha! I couldn’t survive without SEMRush and Stack Overflow.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of marketing?
Terry: Probably having to attribute budgets and see what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes you may think a marketing campaign that you thought of might be the next big thing – and you may spend seven figures on it just to find out that it didn’t bring as much traction as you wanted or expected.
It’s important to do A/B testing, to understand your audience and more importantly start small and have the ability to adapt and scale. And to also have those connections in the industry that can lend a helping hand or two, but that doesn’t come easy. It’s hard to build trust with so many competitors out there overpromising and underdelivering. And a lot of small businesses are suckered in by the attractive numbers that they are promised, thankfully there are agencies like Multiply that are transparent and honest with their approach to marketing. It’s amazing to be able to help support so many different changemakers and be part of their story.
Q: If you weren’t in e-commerce, what other field would you excel at?
Terry: Probably fashion. I like art, I enjoy trends and most importantly I enjoy the story you are able to tell through garments and the way you wear them. I worked with fashion houses before, from production to digital marketing – so its an area I enjoy. One of my good friends, Taimur is dominating the garment production industry with Chambers by Q. He is doing some revolutionary stuff and its exciting to see the amount of planning, work and effort that goes into it.
Q: Growing up in Malibu must have been fun, you’re very active when it comes to ocean conservation and sea life, how can businesses do more when it comes to sustainability?
Terry: Growing up by a beach is always fun – it also attracts you to appreciate the beauty of our oceans and the complex lifeforms which inhabit it. I urge everyone to donate whatever they can, whenever they can. No matter how big or small the donation is, it goes a long way. You can always find more information by visiting OnlyOne and taking action.
I think businesses need to realize the impact they have on the planet through day to day operation, and to of course understand the impact they can have in promoting better business practices and more ethical choices. This is why we’re working towards becoming a B-certified corporation.
Q: You managed to grow your own audience substantially, especially on LinkedIn and Instagram, what are some top tips for growth?
Terry: Focus on quality content. For LinkedIn try to be a thought leader in your selected field, for Instagram – it was more about the things I did during my travels and the environments I was in that helped expedite growth. Showcasing travelling, cars or other ‘clout’ content is great way to ‘boost’ engagement short-term as it’s a candid look into what other people perceive as you online, however its not sustainable. I use Instagram now to mainly to keep up with friends and post updates occasionally on stories.
I think LinkedIn is a great platform to build up an audience of those that are really interested in your area professionally, and Instagram can be a candid look into you as a person, or you as an organization.
Q: You helped some of the biggest studios and companies achieve organic and paid growth, what was the most challenging niche to make wins in?
Terry: I think its real estate, definitely. Many people may not realize but there’s a lot more competition than one may think. I have helped quite a few large national and international developers promote their builds and plots, and found it to be quite challenging in narrowing down the best audiences. It’s a real collaborative effort between sales and marketing.
Q: As a small business owner, what should I invest in first when it comes to a digital footprint?
Terry: Definitely a website. Having the ability to quickly set something up and process payments online as you would do in store is as important as having a card reader in your shop floor. This is one of the pain points we’re answering with Online Shop.