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Customer Experience

How the Little Big Company went from garage to glory

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Little Big Company is a predominantly online business using efficient communications to manage customer orders. As the industry evolves, so too does the company. All successful online businesses start somewhere. And Melbourne-based alternative party supplies retailer Little Big Company is no exception.

Louisa Line can remember what inspired her and husband Jason to start Little Big Company when they were both living in the UK.

“We walked down this lane in Oxford. It was a very tiny laneway and there was a shop that had bubbles coming out of it. We walked into the shop and there were all these whimsical treasures,” says Louisa. They wanted to develop a line of party supplies that were eccentric and offbeat to make occasions more memorable.

“Imagine how Heston Blumenthal makes his food. We want to be the other side of the coin in terms of having different party products so that people actually feel like they’re in Willy Wonka Land,” Louisa explains.

Little Big Company Founders Louisa and Jason Line in their internet dependent business.

From garage to warehouse

Louisa’s background in event management in the racing industry and Jason’s technical talent as an art director in 3D animation made for a powerful combination and the online business grew quickly. Initially, they relied on a website and their mobile phones while packing boxes in their garage. 

It was soon apparent they would need bigger premises and more sophisticated inventory, along with customer management systems.

Louisa was also finding she was more reliant on email to answer customer queries while she was busy sourcing new suppliers. The business was also becoming more dependent on (and sensitive to) social media.

Back at the warehouse, Jason says mobile phones were ringing every few minutes so Little Big Company needed another channel to receive calls − a business landline.

The largely online company took on a Telstra small business bundle, which packages phone and broadband into a single, easy-to-manage account.

“Telstra has that experience and knowledge, particularly with technology products that streamline things. I suppose it’s the same reason people come to us because they know that they’re getting a good product. And we know Telstra has that history of providing good product,” says Jason.

E-Commerce drives the warehouse

Jason also ranked having a single bill for the landline and internet connections higher than price considerations. “It’s easier to account if you’ve got a package, rather than having several bills coming in each month. It’s easier for the accountants to manage that situation.” 

Telstra helped Louisa choose a smartphone best suited to her expanding email-based client service. “If I am out of the office, I’m constantly checking my emails. If it’s something they want urgently, I touch base with Amy or Jason and get that done quickly,” she explains.

“The communication element is incredibly important for our company, because we don’t want to look like we’re just an online store without that human relationship.”

The company’s broadband has become critical to its administration and without it Jason says Little Big Company would need a much bigger headcount. “We don’t really have any admin staff where that is their only job because the website pretty much takes care of most of the administration.” 

For instance, the company uses the flexibility of its fixed broadband Wi-Fi connection and tablet devices for stocktake, which means data can be uploaded directly into its website customer management system. The company’s warehouse manager uses a headset to check stock for customers while taking calls in real-time. 

It’s clear that Telstra’s reliability will become more important as Little Big Company grows. The company is developing a website with sleeker customer order features and tighter integration with email.

Telstra insights

By their nature successful online businesses in the retail sector are more reliant on broadband and telecommunications services than other businesses. They also need to be highly engaged with consumers online through multiple channels, including social media, in order to develop and maintain a loyal customer base.

Therefore it’s crucial that these businesses choose a reliable and experienced provider that can scale with them.

Telstra’s small business bundles are backed by Australia’s largest and first telecommunications provider. They also offer businesses useful features such as the ability to have multiple services on one single bill, making it easier to identify costs.

Grow your online business with the right hardware and systems in place.

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Originally published 21st August 2014. Updated 28th August 2019.

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