A Conversation with TonerWorld.com11 Apr, 2001 By: Jason Ansley imageSource
A Conversation with TonerWorld.com
Ryan Hermes, President: Early in 1997 I noticed people were buying books, software, toys and other gift items from Internet sites like Amazon.com and e-bay. I thought if Amazon.com could do well selling items that people wanted, but didn’t need; how well would products do that people needed, but didn’t want to hassle with? A product with negative overtones whose image and service we could improve upon.
I came up with the initial idea of TonerWorld.com at the end of the 1997 tax season when I couldn’t find a toner cartridge for my laser printer. A few months later I put the idea on paper, and incorporated TonerWorld, Inc. August 14, 1998. It took six months to develop our site, and a week to develop our first radio spot, which aired March 9, 1999 in Los Angeles. Two years later, on February 28, 2001, we had our first day of over 100 orders with $84,677 in weekly sales. We anticipate continued strong growth and estimate gross revenues for 2001 to be over $4 Million and $7 Million in 2002.
Kevin Bishop, VP Vendor Relations: When I heard TonerWorld’s radio spot, I thought, “Now here’s a company with vision.” What struck me most was their enthusiasm and passion for making TonerWorld the best imaging site on the Internet. From accounting to their account representatives, TonerWorld is packaged better than any company I’ve worked for. It’s wrapped with positive, outgoing people, who smile and laugh a lot, yet maintain a focus on business.
When people come to our website, they will find over 77 manufacturer’s products. If we do not have a particular item in stock, we take great pride in finding it for the customer, even if it means referring them elsewhere. This approach has generated referrals from Staples, Office Depot, and other vendors. Within a year, we will branch out and open our first TonerWorld stores, at which time we will drop the “.com” from our name, just as AOL and Yahoo did.
Bruce Clark, Chief Technical Officer: I left Connecticut to join TonerWorld in February 2000. It was a typical California winter day, blue skies and 80 degrees. Like the weather, TonerWorld has proven to be an exhilarating and bright Internet company. Besides the day-to-day programming revisions with our design team, my focus is site-security.
Purchasing over the Internet is still a concern for some people. Even though statistical data proves that credit card purchases over the Internet, via a secure site, are more secure than shopping at your local store or restaurant, people still want reassurance. That’s why we never request personal or company information on a page that doesn’t encrypt data. In addition, we password protect all access to our client’s information. Verisign, the premier issuer of Digital ID’s, transmits our digital certificate.
On February 27, 2001, VISA Business.com and Onvia rated TonerWorld.com a “Strong Four Stars” saying, “TonerWorld makes shopping easy for consumers, and also encourages long-term loyalty.” Lauren Russell, Co-Founder of Findigo.com went on to say, “I scoured TonerWorld.com to find something that could have been overlooked by the design and development team, but I couldn’t even find a typo.” For our entire review, please go to http://www.news.onvia.com/x19613.xml.
Brooke Armand, Supervisor Customer Service: Customer Service is our #1 focus at TonerWorld.
· Satisfy respond ASAP to any e-mail or phone inquiry.
· Exceed promise well, deliver great.
· Recover turn problems into solutions.
· Vision create a one stop website for all imaging needs.
· Improve always focus on the details.
· Care it’s not how much you know, but how much you care.
· Effort 100% attention to every order, no matter who or how much.
Sara Hoban, Customer Service: TonerWorld takes to heart the philosophy, “the customer always comes first.” We offer all our members the value added benefit of having their own account representative that can assist them in placing orders, tracking, and/or addressing their problems via e-mail or phone. We pride ourselves in being available 6AM to 6 PM, 5 days a week, to answer all questions.
James Morris, Supervisor Vendor Relations: When I entered the toner industry five years ago we only cold called. Knowing there was a better way, I started my own business on the Internet. Kevin Bishop, a former co-worker, called me in September 2000 and asked me to look at TonerWorld.com. It took one meeting with Ryan Hermes, Tim Gartland, Bruce Clark and Kevin for me to join the team. From their cutting edge website, to their strong customer service team and ingenious marketing, TonerWorld is revolutionizing how people buy imaging supplies via the Internet.
Tim Gartland, VP Operations: TonerWorld’s continued success has always been dependent on its dedicated employees and monitoring of cash flow. In my opinion, the three most important factors in being a successful e-commerce site are: customer service, customer service and customer service. All our employees are trained and willing to go the extra mile, from personally delivering a customer package, to staying late to fill an order, or simply returning every phone call before going home. Our customer service is a direct correlation to our repeat business.
As the dot-com shake down continues in 2001, it will only leave more opportunity for TonerWorld to grow and establish ourselves as the premier imaging website.
Our motto since inception continues to be:
1. Provide the highest quality service
2. Ensure product availability
3. Never lose a good customer
4. Never lose a good employee
5. Deliver what is promised
6. Be #1 at what we do
Unlike most dot-coms, TonerWorld has done minimal advertising--9% of our gross income. We target key markets with “clever” radio commercials, and although we ship around the globe, our target marketplace remains the U.S. In that vein, we will soon expand to service the U.S. Latin communities by translating our site into Spanish, www.TonerMundo.com.
Ryan Hermes, President: We’re all delighted about TonerWorld’s good fortune and look toward the future with optimism. It is no secret what separates TonerWorld from the rest of the Industry--our employees. A quote from an article I read in the January 2001 Image Source, by Larry Breed, sums it up perfectly; TonerWorld’s “character is a reflection of its key executives.”
What lies in TonerWorld’s future?. To offer our customers a seamless Internet relationship. To that end, TonerWorld is looking to complete the B2B2B circle, either by acquisition or merger with a large manufacturer who has an international presence, and one who understands the marketing phase we are embarking on. It truly is a thought-provoking and challenging time to be in this business. And remember….”Don’t Call Us, Dot-Com Us, at TonerWorld.com.”™