Hobium E-Commerce Director Ali Aygün which is the largest hobby e-commerce website of Turkey talked about the developments in the sector during a pandemic. Aygün said, “We see this Hobium is equal to e-commerce. We think that the most important thing is product management and marketing.”
Ali Aygün answered the questions of WORLDEF. Ali Aygün shared information about logistic operations, delivery process, e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce targets, sector estimations and informed about the problems they faced during the pandemic.
“Cross-border e-commerce is the most important topic for us”
Ali Aygün explained the importance of e-commerce and cross-border e-commerce for Hobum as follows, “currently, 60% of our revenue is from the goods that we sell abroad. We are making hobiumyarns.com operation stronger. We are selling outside of Turkey with this website. At the same time, we have FBA operations in 8 different Amazon countries. Soon, our operations in the United Arab Emirates, Malesia, Japan and Singapore will start. At the same time, we are interested in Ukraine. Currently, there are no flights to Ukraine but we will solve the software and warehouse as soon as we can and make a special operation for Ukraine. At the same time, we will step into retail in London and İstanbul when the pandemic ends in the following months. Cross-border e-commerce is an important topic for us and we work hard to increase our sales.”
Aygün stated that the biggest problem for them was shipment cost due to cross-border e-commerce product category. Aygün said, “our goods are bulky and have a high weight. Currently, we are in a good position around the world for knitting yarns and other supplies. We want to have more hobby categories and consolidate our online reputation.”
“We are working on boutique delivery solutions.”
Ali Aygün provided information about the situation they faced during the pandemic and e-commerce sales and said, “our sales in Turkey and on Amazon increased positively. When lots of countries closed the borders, our hobiumyarns.com operation was negatively affected. We couldn’t cross the products from the border even though the people wanted to buy them.”
For the status of e-commerce sales in the new normal, Aygün said, “we are happy with this jump and we want to continue from this stage.” “We wished to have more opportunities to meet the basic needs of women during the pandemic. All our products are inventory and we didn’t experience any stock out.” In terms of e-commerce operation problems faced by Hobium Aygün said, “the most important problem for us has always been shipment. This is necessary for Turkey and outside Turkey. Since there are lots of products in the order due to the nature of our products, we are constantly trying to make package optimisation. Other than conventional shipment companies, we are working on more boutique delivery solutions that offer delivery in one day.”
Ali Aygün provided information about domestic or international return processes: “We accept an unconditional return from all channels. Because the shipment costs are high, we only do refund on hobiumyarns.com. We say, “do not send the product, this is our gift.” Unfortunately, there is a high shipment cost for returning products.”
“We see it as Hobium is equal to e-commerce.”
E-commerce expert Ali Aygün answered some of the following questions:
“What are the must-haves of e-commerce in Hobium?”
“We see it as Hobium is equal to e-commerce. We believe that the most important thing is product management and marketing.
What is the e-commerce profile of your target audience? How do women who knit have interest in e-commerce?
They are very interested. 90% of our customers are women. We constantly audit the marketing efforts, apply surveys and try to measure customer demands.
Do you sell on marketplaces?
We used to do it but we closed it. We will start with a firm in Turkey soon but we will have different work.
What do you think do marketplaces have advantages and disadvantages for sales processes? Your own e-commerce website or marketplace?
For us, our own website. But if you will start for the first time, the marketplace is a good school to experience e-commerce. These two are not alternative nor competitor of each other. You must not look at it like that. But if you want to create value, you must have your own website.
How did you form your e-commerce team and how do you manage it?
When we need someone new, we recruit new graduates to solve it and we teach them. It is better if they know anything. We upload our own data. We focus on talent. At the same time, our interns give strength to our team. We try to work with a high number of university or high-school interns throughout the year.
What do you recommend to firms that want to do e-commerce? Which points should they consider?
Shortly, I can say this: Product management, inventory, inventory management, cash management and flow, cost accounting, marketing.
Can you write down the first sentences that come into your mind when we say “e-commerce”?
I try to say this everywhere all the time. E-commerce is at the basis a solution for payment collection problem. You get cash!
Do you have an e-commerce professional that you take as an example?
Do you have any statement of an e-commerce professional?
In this sense, there is a really good book translated to Turkish by Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos: Delivering Happiness. I can recommend this to those who want to enter e-commerce or working in the sector.
What would you like to be if you weren’t an e-commerce professional?
I can say I am one of the few people in Turkey who turned his hobby into a job and I am really happy. I never did anything else. I worked as a Philosophy teacher for 1 year in a public high-school. I was never that happy in my life. I also would like to be a teacher.
Is there a message you want to give to the sector?
I can especially invite my friends from social science generally to internet sector and especially to e-commerce. I think they would be successful.
Who is Ali Aygün?
Ali Aygün was born in 1980 in İstanbul. He graduated from İstanbul University, Sociology department. He has been active in e-commerce since the beginning of 2000s and actively involved in the process by working in the software sector. He introduced more than 2000 firms to e-commerce and pioneered for these firms to take important steps. Ali Aygün worked in e-commerce software seller firms and involved in system development and advancement process. He had multiple e-commerce start-up and he focused on this area to move forward. He worked in e-commerce and software world for a long time. He is still the manager of Hobium.com. At the same time, he manages hobium.com, hobiumyarns.com, Amazon and orgumodelleri.com which is a knitting festival and content project.
Ali Aygün provides the following information about his career: “I got my first computer in 1994. I am interested in everything about computers since then. When I was a university student, I was introduced to e-commerce. I can say my interest to build websites turned into e-commerce. I have been in Hobium since 18 February 2018. This started when I met our founder Kemal Karabel via a common friend.”
Ali Aygün is at the same time a member of Ecom Leaders Club (ELC) jury member under WORLDEF.
What Is Hobium?
Hobium.com was established in September 2014. Hobium which is the largest hobby e-commerce website of Turkey has more than 5 thousand hobby materials from more than 30 brands. Hobium attracts attention with a wide range of knitting yarns and knitting materials and it is possible to access all types of materials from cotton yarn, acrylic yarn, knitting matic to crochet and knitting needles with just one click. At the same time, the brand manufactures Yarnend, Loren, La Mia brands. The products of these brands can only be found on Hobium.com.
In addition to Hobium.com website, orders from abroad are collected from Hobiumyarns.com. Hobiumwanrs have a wholesale area under “Wholesale”. orgumodelleri.com website is under this brand with knitting model articles. Projects completed with Hobium products can be shared with a large audience on orgumodelleri.com that was opened on September 2018.
The brand continues its operations with “from local to global” vision. According to information provided by Ali Aygün, Hobium offers products to women who knit as a hobby. Hobium plans to grow for women and continues to open new hobby categories. The firm at the same time focuses on meeting the basic needs of women from one place and launched underwear category. The brand plans to open a sock category soon.