Set up an online drugstore because otherwise you will no longer be able to sell electronic cigarettes. It sounds cumbersome, but it turned out to be a golden move. Within a few years, DeOnlineDrogist.nl was already the market leader and this position still holds the company firmly in its hands.
At first sight, the trade in electronic cigarettes does not seem to have much in common with the sale of drugstore products. Nevertheless, this was the reason for launching DeOnlineDrogist.nl in 2007. “The sale of e-cigarettes was a golden business. But because of stricter legislation, they were only allowed to be sold when there was a qualified drugstore in the house.”
Since there were hardly any online drugstores active yet, Joachim and his companion saw a gap in the market. They brought in a biochemist and then tried to make a difference in the industry with a fast, service-oriented web shop. “At the time, I made webshops, so I knew what a good shop had to meet. The wide range of 35,000 articles and the convenience of online shopping ensured that DeOnlineDrogist.nl soon managed to conquer an important market share.
‘We like to do things ourselves’
DeOnlineDrogist.nl still runs on the largely self-built shop. “The competition is almost all on the same module. We are a bit of a stranger in that respect, but as a former programmer I like to do things in my own way.” Meanwhile there are 5 programmers employed, who are fully occupied with the further development of DeOnlineDrogist.nl. “I don’t like to outsource things to external parties. The idea that we have the knowledge in house and can realize things quickly, gives me peace of mind.”
Also in the field of SEO, the company has kept everything in-house for a long time. According to Joachim, agencies often come in with nice sales talks, and after signing the contract they leave everything to a junior marketer. “Then you actually take a step back and that’s not an option for us. Because findability is essential for us, we liked to keep it in-house.”
Yet Joachim made an exception for AdResults. “I started talking to the sales manager during an event and he was the first to be able to tell me things about SEO that I didn’t know yet. And not only that: he was also able to convince me, because AdResults only works with senior consultants, who really know how SEO works.”
Not only is SEO important to DeOnlineDrogist.nl, the Google Ads campaigns also deserve the necessary attention. In many sectors, running a targeted campaign – provided you have enough to spend, of course – can be partially automated. But as a drugstore, you have to deal with a lot of rules, which are not always easy to understand. “You would think that Dutch legislation has many rules, but Google’s guidelines are even stricter.
“Address results convinced me, because AdResults only works with senior consultants, who really know how SEO works.”
‘Google Ads accounts for 30 percent of revenue’
For DeOnlineDrogist.nl this means that every Ads campaign has to be studied manually. “We used an automatic link, but when we got a penalty from Google, we quickly came back to this. Joachim says that Google Ads accounts for about 30 percent of the turnover. “So it’s worth the effort to do this right. With regard to homeopathic products, we know that we are not allowed to advertise them, because their effect has not been scientifically proven. But the tricky thing is that there are many other products that Google can stumble upon and you’re not always aware of that.”
According to Joachim, a shampoo with hemp extract can already cause problems at Google. “Even with cross-sell articles, we must take care not to accidentally display a prohibited product. In order to prevent a (temporary) suspension, AdResults has developed a tool with which a first check is done. After that, each campaign is checked manually. “Since we have been working with AdResults, the fear of penalties has become much smaller.
‘SEA is becoming increasingly important, especially on mobile phones’
Since the collaboration with AdResults at the end of 2014, the turnover from Google Ads campaigns has increased by 350 percent, while according to Joachim the costs remain manageable with an increase of 20 percent. “SEA is becoming increasingly important to us,” he says. This is especially the case for searches that are placed via the mobile, because the organic results disappear under the fold.
Where many other players are moving abroad, opening brick stores or trying out other forms of advertising, Joachim still sees plenty of opportunities for growth in the current way of working. “We have been growing by more than 30 percent for many years in a row, purely through the targeted use of SEO and SEA. Google is constantly updating, so I’m convinced that just by further optimizing our paid and organic Google results, we will be able to maintain this growth for a while to come.