The E-Commerce Growth Hacking Podcast: Key Takeaways from Pocket Timer

Growth Hacking podcast with Pocket Timer

My biggest tip: be creative and innovative and have a story, a product, a message that is newsworthy and stands out . Something that will get you written about, linked to, talked about, reeled about, Tik-Tokked about – because there are so many other companies out there fighting for attention.

– Richard Longhurst, Founder of Pocket Timer. 

For this episode of the Lightning 50: E-Commerce Growth Hacking podcast, we interviewed Richard Longhurst, inventor of the new golf gadget Pocket Timer, and Co-Founder of e-commerce success story Lovehoney.  

Richard took Lovehoney from a small idea to a $1BN global phenomenon since the online sex toy retailer launched in 2002, and is now testing the waters of the e-commerce world once more with a new golf invention. 

Richard reflected on the differences in launching an e-commerce brand over 20 years ago to now, and how much harder it is to be noticed in such a saturated online market. He also shared his biggest achievements with Lovehoney, and his advice for new brands looking to break the e-comm world.  

Here are some of the highlights from the transcript… 

  • ”What made Lovehoney different was we had a very strong focus on customer service. Online customer service was something of a rarity in 2002; people didn’t trust online shopping – and they certainly didn’t trust the sex toy business. So we just laid it on really thick. Whatever you bought from Lovehoney, you’d have a fantastic time, and if you didn’t, you could return it to us for a full refund. We did a 365 day returns policy, so you could return within a year even if you’d used it. All of these things made Lovehoney unique and really set us apart from our rivals from the start.” 
  • “The challenge for startups now is how to get traffic without spending any money. If consumers don’t feel as well off or have less money to spend on discretionary items, then that makes it tough for a lot of e-commerce businesses – it all brings us back to creativity and the ideas that you can have to essentially get free publicity.”  
  • “Anyone starting a business now should work with ‘good enough’. There’s so many plugins, but even just Shopify makes it simple to begin. So just go off the shelf, create a minimum viable product just to get a website up, and start selling. Get real customers to give real customer feedback. If something’s good enough, get it out there and start making some money rather than refining and refining.” 

Pocket Timer’s Top Growth Hacking Tip: 

  • “My biggest tip is being creative and innovative and having a story, a product, a message that is newsworthy and stands out – something that will get you written about, linked to, talked about, reeled about, Tik-Tokked about – because there are there are so many other companies fighting for attention.”  

 Key Stats 

  • Richard took Lovehoney from a £9000 investment to a billion dollar company, despite the restrictions over marketing adult content in mainstream media. 
  • His new pocket-sized invention, Pocket Timer, aligns with the new rules of golf, and counts down the three minutes allowed to search for a lost ball.
  • Customer service is key when it comes to an e-comm experience. This means offering the best and copying the brands doing it better. 
  • As media restrictions meant Lovehoney couldn’t market through traditional routes, Richard praises the old methods of PR – getting a newsworthy story related to the brand that gets customers talking. 
  • It’s easy to setup as an e-commerce business now due to Shopify, e-commerce plugins and retail-focused operational platforms – but customer service is as important as ever.  

Richard’s Top Growth Hack: 

  • Be creative about getting yourself noticed – newsworthy angles get big traction.  

Want to hear more of what Richard had to say? Catch up with the full episode, and subscribe to upcoming ones, here.