It’s Just Cricket is putting customer care at the forefront of their business and doing things just a little bit differently.
Managing director and owner Paul Cole set up the business in 2011 and it has gone from strength to strength.
They are the only specialised cricket store in central London (zone one) and believe that putting the customer and the love of the game above all else is what sets them apart.
It’s Just Cricket hand-pick all the bats they sell to ensure their quality, operate a club commission service, have an active social media presence and their own YouTube channel.
Cole believes there is a simple explanation as to why people keep coming back to spend their money at It’s just Cricket: “Quite simply, it’s our customer service.
“We are the highest-ranked cricket store in the world on leading reviews’ site, Trustpilot, with a 9.7 out of ten rating spread over nearly 400 reviews.
“We do our very best to ensure a top service for each customer, regardless of order value, making them want to come back for more on a regular basis.”
They travel across the country to visit factories and warehouses and often, they find bats which should be well over £400, that are under £200 - something which is impossible without hand-picking.
Chris Beaumont-Dark, Sales and Marketing Manager, said: “Competing on price with some of the bigger, online only stores has been a challenge.
“It’s meant we have to be selective with what we stock and find other ways to compete.
“We are incredibly picky about who we stock. “We only stock brands who we trust in - and who we know where they make their bats.
“We only stock brands whose bats we can hand-pick.
“That’s why, despite their popularity, we don’t stock New Balance bats, or Gunn and Moore.
“We’d probably make more money, but we do this because we love it and believe in it.
“We look to introduce smaller brands into the market - Phantom and Boss are two major examples.
“They provide incredible value for money that the bigger brands simply can’t compete with - and the quality is second to none.
“We are always looking for new brands to stock which conform to this ethos.
“Even within the bigger brands we do stock (Kookaburra, Gray Nicolls, TON) we only stock the individual products that we think offer the best value for money in the market.
“Essentially, any bat on our shelves comes with our personal guarantee - we can tell you why we picked it and the story behind it.
“We are the only shop in the country which hand-picks each and every one of our bats, senior and junior.
“We pride ourselves on our honesty as a company, and see ourselves as educating the market as well as being just a shop.”
That’s not the only thing that sets It’s Just Cricket apart they also based themselves in what many would think is an unusual location in Kennington Lane.
Beaumont-Dark said: “Business has changed as our customer base has grown.
“We have moved into a Big Yellow Self Storage Building - away from a normal high street location.
“This allows us to keep our prices competitive, and to have special rooms - like our Platinum Lounge.
“It’s a luxurious space in which clients can have a free beer or coffee and snacks, sit on our leather sofa, and sift through our best 20 or so bats on our handmade, custom bat rack.”
And they don’t want to rest on their laurels as they look to the future and aim to break into new countries, keep growing and educating the market. Beaumont-Dark added: “We’ve had a very good couple of years, but we don’t want to take anything for granted.
“We have launched our own range of bats, in collaboration with world famous brand Newbery, and these have proved popular - The Gold by Newbery and The Platinum by Newbery.
“We want to keep growing by ensuring every customer receives the customer service that we pride ourself on - while expanding our premises, our social media presence and our stock.
“We are at the forefront of emerging cricket markets.
“The US is our second largest market, and we regularly ship to Canada and the Scandinavian countries too.
“With Brexit meaning the pound is weaker, and with our cheapest shipping rates yet, we are expecting to continue to see a surge in orders from these locations.
“We think our promoting to overseas customers, through targeted newsletters, social media promotions etc, will allow us to nail down that untapped market as a big region for growth.”
It’s Just Cricket engage with their customers through social media and their website. It also helps them to pick out new trends and discuss them online.
Beaumont-Dark explained: “This is something we often cover in our blog.
“Duffle bags are incredibly popular for example, and we see this continuing.
“Further, bats with a slightly shorter blade and longer handle will continue to boom, as seen on BOSS and Phantom Performance models already this season.
“We’ve got a feeling some companies will move away from big edges and towards a more small edge big spine situation, or fuller bats with less concaving, GN already has a model in the pipeline with this type of shape.”