Madinks.ie was set up to make it easy to buy ink online and offer the most competitive prices in the market. Having just won Best Micro eCommerce site at the 2014 Web awards and Best Digital Retail Experience at the Eircom Spiders, this Start Up is well on the way to achieving their goals and already has plans in motion to expand into the U.K. market.
We spoke with Managing Director Donal Ryan to find out more about their journey so far and how they plan to stay ahead of the rest.
Hi Donal. Can you explain to our readers what Madinks.ie is?
Madinks is a new innovative website that makes shopping for Printer Ink as easy as possible for the end user. We have developed a state of the art website that has simplified the process of buying printer ink, while offering customers the best prices available on the web. Our cartridge finder shows customers a picture of their printer, to help identify what cartridges they need to buy. Customers can then save their preferences making repeat purchases as easy as possible. We have also partnered with An Post Courier service ensuring deliveries throughout Ireland are speedy and next day!
When was the company launched?
We had been working on the website for almost two years before its completion in September 2014. In the short time we have been live, we have seen an incredible response to our service, which has helped to develop our customer database at an astonishing level. Currently we have almost fifty new customers a day, while doing very little in terms of advertising. We hope to begin our marketing campaigns in January 2015, to start increasing our sales at a National level. At present we have just started a campaign with University College Cork to inspire one of their students to design a new Madinks advert for us; we are very excited to see the results!
It’s been a busy awards season for you. Can you tell us about some of your successes?
Since we have gone live, within the first month we won Best Micro e-Commerce website at the 2014 Web Awards. This was an incredible achievement considering the intense competition, and acknowledged all the hard work that had gone into the site development over the last number of months prior to launching the website.
Shortly after this we managed to win Best Digital Retail Experience at the Eircom Spiders 2014 Awards ceremony. This was very much unexpected, and considering our competition we were absolutely shocked to have won in such a difficult category. The Eircom Spiders is a very prestigious award, and both ourselves and our development team at Artizan were over the moon to win in such a competitive category. The great thing about websites in Ireland is that every year the challenge becomes greater, and the competition more intense. To receive the acknowledgment of your peers is a truly inspiring experience.
What was the motivation for starting the company?
I had previously been trying to order printer ink, and found the whole experience soul destroying! All of the websites I looked at used really old outdated sites, which seemed to make the process as difficult as possible for the customer! Also there were no websites which were configured for iPhones, smartphones, iPads, or any of the new platforms. This in itself was an eye opener, as the industry seems to have stood still for the last number of years, unwilling to catch up with the times.
The new world is a hectic one, whereby people want to buy via their smartphones while watching TV, so I thought to myself why not? We then put a team together to investigate why the process was so difficult, and to try and make the buying experience a friendly and easy one…. And we did!
What would you say makes your company stand out from your competitors?
At Madinks we have taken the boring and difficult part out of ordering ink online. All the hard parts are already done for the customer, so the ordering process is made as simple as possible. We have a facility within your account that allows the system to remember your printer, so next time you are ordering, you are only two clicks away from finding the correct cartridges from your machine. This has sped up customer interactions and made the process exceptionally easy to follow.
We also have a unique web platform which operates on all new mobile devices, allowing for ordering via your mobile phone, smartphone or iPads with ease of use.
We also developed a brand character named “Carter”, who is our site mascot designed to help customers by guiding them through our website, and offering live support to answer any and all questions. We felt adapting to new technologies would separate us from our competitors in the market place.
Finally our pricing is the most competitive you will find on the market. We price check all our products and offer a next day delivery service via the An Post Courier network.
The printer ink market is pretty crowded space. How do insure you stay competitive?
In terms of competitiveness we have found that the majority of customers are more interested in service and support rather than focusing in on price. We have found an increasing number of students are now buying from the website to avail of our remarkably low prices! On average we have managed to price our product 20-30% cheaper than our competitors. Our high customer demand and low overheads have managed to keep our buying power strong, and all of our savings we pass on to the end customer. This strategy coupled with our cutting edge technology has secured our position in the market place and instilled thrust and loyalty from our customers.
Can you tell me about the team behind Madinks.ie?
Myself and Thomas were friends since college, both studying Business and Law in UCD and graduating back in 1999. Elias and I had worked together on a number of projects prior to starting Madinks, and so when the time came to put thoughts into action, we had a team of well experienced business partners, with a diversified skill set.
I myself came from a ten year Operations Management role with a large Multi-National Medical company, which of course has helped drive logistics, customer services and lean processes, through intensive six sigma training. Our Finance and Legal Director, Thomas Bullman has both a Masters in Commercial Law and a PhD, coupled with 15 years’ experience in the Private Equity Sector. Finally Elias Darwish is our Marketing and Sales Director with extensive experience from working in both Google and Microsoft. Together our team has many years of experience with a strong academic background, and practical training from some of the largest Multi-Nationals in the world. Why wouldn’t it work!
What’s next for Madinks.ie?
As Christmas approaches we are working furiously to launch our www.madinks.co.uk website. We hope to have it up and operational by January 2015. This is an exciting opportunity for us to compete in the UK market, and take our company to the next level. Our company mascot “Carter” is preparing for UK domination!!
What’s the best way for people to get in touch and find out more?
If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with me on [email protected]