Pinion Watch Company: reassuring quality
The founder told us how, after a career in digital marketing, his attention turned to the tangible world of analogue watches: “I liked the design aesthetic. I just liked the simplicity of them. It was the polar opposite of the digital world.” When his partners bought out his stake in their digital agency, Piers founded Pinion Watches.
Online payments to encourage confidence
“It’s not easy for a new and unknown company to sell a product for £2,000 in the online world,” Piers told us. “Potential customers need to feel a certain amount of trust. They don’t want to think that they’re going to pay their money and receive nothing or get something that isn’t as good as they expected. They need the reassurance factor.”
A professional-looking website – with high-quality images, information and customer testimonials – was an important factor in building customers’ confidence, but Piers knew that offering a recognised and trusted payment method would also be critical. The market for premium, often built-to-order, watches is global. Any payment solution would need to be internationally recognised.
A further factor in Piers’ decision was cash flow. “With watches, you can either make them individually and sell direct, or you can manufacture en masse and sell through retailers. I didn’t want to go down the lower-cost / high volume route. I wanted to make a watch with a sense of quality to it.”
Website Payments Pro: “It was a no-brainer.”
Piers selected PayPal Website Payments Pro for his site. “PayPal was a bit of a no-brainer, really. I’d been using it personally for years and I knew from the word ‘Go’ that I wanted to integrate PayPal into my site,” he says. Piers also uses PayPal Invoicing and the PayPal Here card reader to provide payment options for different scenarios.
Reassurance, however people pay
“There are 3 ways that customers will pay, and the big benefit of PayPal is that it delivers all of those,” Piers explains. “The most popular way is that customers will go to the site, order a watch and pay online. Over the past 6 years, customers’ confidence in buying online has increased and having the PayPal brand on the site helps with that. Especially for international customers, people know that PayPal offers them a certain amount of protection. And, I want to be able to say, ‘We accept PayPal.’ That always gives people reassurance.”
As a watchmaker producing a highly regarded product, Piers finds that personal interaction is important for many customers. “People like buying something from the maker rather than a store,” he says. “There can be a lot of interaction, agreeing specs for a built-to-order watch. In those cases, I send a PayPal invoice for the deposit and, even if they don’t have a PayPal account, customers can pay online.”
Other customers prefer a more traditional approach. “Some customers just have to see the watch in person, before they buy it. In those situations, I use a PayPal Here card reader. It’s a very easy process and customers are reassured that I’m not wanting cash. They can see I’m doing it properly and they know they have protection through their card if something were to go wrong.”
Faster cash flow to build the business
Having positive cash flow is important for any business, but a small and growing business specialising in expensive fine watches needs to be sure it gets paid quickly. While Piers’ customers are individuals who pay direct, there is still a chance that funds are delayed by payment processors, as he explains.
“When I first started, I was using a merchant bank to process card payments, but they were taking about 2 months to pay me the money. From a cash flow point of view that’s just impossible, so I moved to PayPal for card-processing, too. Initially, PayPal held back about 25% of card payments for 30 days, but now I get all of it. That’s brilliant for a growing company.”
Doing better, not doing more
As Piers explains on Pinion’s site, “Our ambition in making fine watches is to succeed not in doing more, but doing better.” Today, Pinion Watches sells around 200 watches a year with 25% of those going to international customers. Piers continues to introduce new lines and has a loyal body of customers, some of whom own 5 or more Pinion Watches.
Of his relationship with PayPal he says, “PayPal has been with me right from the start. It's been invaluable to me and I would never consider leaving.”
You can read more about the Pinion Watch Company, admire and perhaps buy its watches at pinionwatches.com.
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