When we started sharing Bruce Hershenson's story, we gave you a glimpse into the seller's successful movie poster business, emovieposter.com, as he prepared to hold his millionth auction! We also shared the story of how he got to that great achievement.
Content is a great way for Hershenson to provide service to his visitors and encourage them to become customers, too
In our interview with Hershenson, we learned of his passion for movie posters and comic books. But underneath the collections was another passion: His devotion to providing customers with the best customer service he can. Here we explore that further.
Content is service
As you may recall from Part 1, Hershenson first used his website to attract customers to his catalog sales. He didn't have any auctions on the site then, but he wanted a place where he could be among his customers.
Today, his website is robust with the articles he's written, auction histories, information, and overall content that would happily occupy any movie collector who wants to simply browse and learn more about the hobby.
All that content is a great way for Hershenson to provide service to his visitors and encourage them to become customers, too. He's feeding their passion for their own collections and showing them ways to improve those collections at the same time. Hershenson and his staff strive to give visitors great content.
"Obviously, we've built this up over a super long time," he says, but he encourages other sellers to do the same and to "give as much content, advice and photos as you can."
No 'buyer beware' here
Of course, he didn't grow a following overnight. Hershenson's associates all expressed concern when he launched his own website.
"People worried I wouldn't get enough visitors," he tells us. He worried, too, and started out by paying $100 a day for Google Ads. "I spent about $20,000 and didn't have any more than a few hundred new customers," he recalls.
That's when the seller decided to put his money and efforts into offering great content and better customer service. "I feel now it's all word of mouth," he says. "I get 20 to 30 new customers a week through this."
I sometimes find the thing I thought was a first printing was not. I go back to the customer and offer to make it right
"Buyer beware" has no place in Hershenson's vocabulary. "I give a lifetime guarantee on everything, and it's come back to get me," he admits. "Years later I sometimes find the thing I thought was a first printing was not. I go back to the customer and offer to make it right."
That's the type of customer service customers never forget!
And despite the huge number of orders the merchant and his staff process every month, customers are free to pick up the phone and call if they have questions or concerns. When they do, Hershenson will be the one who answers.
Does that seem like a good use of time for the head of the company? "Actually, it hardly rings," he admits. "I only get two or three calls a day because my staff does such a great job."
Hershenson also stays mindful of the ever-increasing cost of shipping as he sells. Today his typical package costs about $11, so he's instituted a program for buyers in the U.S. to help keep their shipping costs down.
"I give them three weeks to buy whatever they want and ship them all in one shipment for $12," he explains.
Because Hershenson is a collector himself, he understands the way his customers think. It's a trait that keeps his inventory front of mind for his customers.
As you may remember from Part 1, Hershenson has gone from comic book collector to comic book dealer, to movie poster collector, to financial broker, to professional poker player, and now to life as an online entrepreneur with a multi-million-dollar business. With each step, there was a bit of a gamble that appealed to him.
Look to get off eBay and Amazon in pieces because you don't want your whole business in one place
But even more constant was a passion for his product line and the collections he's treasured. That passion spread to his devotion to his customers. He's built a life centered on other people who love their collections as much as he loves his. He's found his people!
Advice from an old friend
At each new step, others warned Hershenson of what could happen. Plenty of the voices wanted to dissuade him. When he grew frustrated with eBay and decided to strike out on his own, he had doubts.
"I wondered if I could really do it," he admits. Now he knows that his decision was the best he could have made. Hershenson credits Todd Mueller, an autograph seller who took the plunge first, with encouraging him.
"I called him up and asked for advice," he recalls. "He said I was just where he'd been when he went out on his own. 'I can tell you on every level it's better. The one thing I would say is why didn't I do this years ago?'" his friend told him.
Hershenson has found this advice to be just right. "I tell people this all the time now," he notes. "Look to get off eBay and Amazon in pieces because you don't want your whole business in one place. Look for any kind of method for starting something new. Even if it's only 5 percent at first, that will grow."