As part of our ongoing customer success feature, we’re profiling one of our long-standing customers, a business with a bit of an edge: Dash Tech. The business consists of two main verticals; Pet-tech.co.za and Rataja.co.za. The websites offer a very niche product selection and a promise of short delivery time.
The founder Raoul Smith found a gap in the South African e-commerce space for niche products like anti-bark collars and training tools for pets. The business came about as a way to deliver these products to South African consumers at affordable prices and short delivery times. We asked Raoul a few questions about the business; how it came about and how having an online presence assisted in the success of the business.
Tell us more about your business?
Dash Tech (Pty) Ltd was founded in 2014 by Raoul Smith. Dash Tech came about as a concept more than a trading entity; the concept around Dash Tech is to define a repeatable dynamic supply chain model to allow speed to market for cutting edge products using technology as its crucial enabler.
Why did you start your business?
There was a notable lack of niche products in the South African eCommerce space, coupled with a host of unrepeatable drop shipment companies offering products with low credibility and long delivery lead times. Dash Tech aims to allow South Africa and surrounding countries to procure niche products without having to risk international transactions, high shipping cost and long delivery times for niche products.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?
I think the biggest challenge in the South African landscape is a reliable IT infrastructure. As the backbone of Dash Tech’s sales channels is online. A trusted infrastructure partner is required to maintain a reliable platform to conduct your business. We overcame that challenge by choosing the right technology partners & solutions.
What challenges has the business faced as a result of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown in SA?
Unfortunately, during COVID, and with the majority of the Dash Tech Catalogue not being essential services, we were unable to dispatch goods. However, we were still able to trade unaffected. However, our customers, unfortunately, received their products a little later than our 1-2 day turnaround promises. We also were affected by the replenishment of stock, and the sourcing of new cutting-edge products as the borders was closed for international trade. We did, however, use the time to source cutting edge local products which we will be launching shortly — watch this space.
When did you move your business online?
From the onset; in 2014.
What advice do you have for people who want to start their businesses?
The biggest advice I could give would be to use technology to your advantage. A proper system, trusted hosting, plus research ways to automate processes – plan and develop your business with expansion in mind. In the fourth industrial revolution, technology is the enabler to allow you to create a seamless offering for your customers, a pleasant daily method of operation for your employee and peace of mind for you; use it.
Where did you hear about 1-grid & What made you choose 1-grid?
Initially, as Web Africa – I found 1-Grid from word of mouth, and after some due diligence, it was clear they were the leaders in the industry. Reliable, easy to use, customer-centred it was the obvious choice, setting themselves well ahead from the other providers.
In summary, what is your impression of 1-grid?
1-Grid has been one of the technology partners that has proven invaluable in the Dash Tech journey. Peace of mind through reliability, easy to manage and expand services through interactive customer portals and friendly, knowledgeable staff to assist where necessary. 1-Grid has been an enormous contributing factor to the initiation and growth of Dash Tech.
Would you recommend 1-grid to your friends and family?
Most definitely. I already have.