The RLC Team attended the Top 50 Retailer Awards during retail week last month, and we were inspired by the great achievements of the winners. Among these top retailers is Steven Perissinotto, Director of VetsShopAustralia. He also spearheads several businesses in the niche such as PetSavers, RSPCA Animal Health Products, and VetShopMax.
We sat down with him to pick his brain on how he turned his passion, wealth of knowledge, and eCommerce strategies into successful businesses in the retail space. Let’s give it up for Steven!
RLC: We learned that you have a wealth of experience in law and the online retail space. How are you able to merge these two things together and come out successful in business?
Steven: I was a commercial lawyer for 15 years before joining VetShopAustralia full time in 2007, and I think the skills that I developed as a lawyer working on big deals, breaking them all down to bite size manageable chunks and building processes to make sure they all get done, has helped us build our online retail business to what it is today. Commercial law is also an extremely client focused business – it’s all about delivering outcomes for clients. So the transition from “client focused” in the law to ‘customer focused” in retail was a pretty easy one.
RLC: We are also animal lovers in the RLC Team, and we’re passionate about animal welfare. Is handling multiple businesses in the pet/animal health niche a passion of yours that you always wanted to pursue? What are the key things that you’d like to share with retailers in terms of turning their passion into a winning business?
Steven: Absolutely. My co-founder, my brother Mark, and I, grew up on a farm and we’ve always had a love for animals. As a proud dad to 2 dogs, 2 budgies, 3 chickens and countless fish, my pets are a huge part of my family. Being able to help people care for the furry members of their family is very satisfying. Because both Mark and I are pet lovers (and he’s a vet!) we understand and connect with our customers. That is what I would say to other retailers – if you want to have a truly successful retail business, you need to be not just a salesperson, but also a huge fan of what you sell. The best way to get inside the skin of your customer is to be a customer.
RLC: What do you advise retailers in terms of setting up shop in the online retail space and sustaining it for years to come?
Steven: Its going to be harder than you think! Online retail gives you access to such a huge pool of customers, but it also has a huge range of challenges. Budget more time and money than you think you’ll need – then double it!
RLC: In terms of retail leadership, what are your thoughts in making a winning team and leading a successful business?
Steven: “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. It’s called the golden rule for a reason. It’s true for your customers and even more so for your team. People appreciate being listened to, valued and respected and if you model this behavior to your team, not only will you get the best out of them, but they will apply the same behavior to their colleagues and your customers.
About Steven Perissinotto
Steven is the Director of VetShopAustralia, a pet eCommerce site serving pet owners in Australia and around the world for 20 years now. He is one of the winners celebrated for his achievements in the retail space at the recently held Top 50 Retailer Awards. He has an extensive background in law and online retail, with him directing several businesses in the pet and animal health niche. He upholds the value of speaking plainly, but that actions really do speak louder than words.