How Two Young Entrepreneurs Capitalized on Fun

If you live in the United Kingdom, you have the opportunity to become well-prepared to fend off an imminent zombie attack, thanks to the efforts of Richard Kershaw and Stephen Pavlovich, founders of the wildly successful Wish website. Since its launch in July 2011, Wish has grown and now sells 95 percent of all zombie experience tickets in the entire United Kingdom. The success of this site can be measured by earnings: they turned a profit within six months of launching, earning more than 1 million British Pounds Sterling in the first year of operation. This shining example of efficient entrepreneurship provides a unique and effective learning opportunity for anyone with dreams of starting their own online business.

 Do What You Know Best

 Kershaw and Pavlovich continue to focus their own efforts on what they do best: online marketing and conversion rate optimization. Kershaw has been busy working in affiliate marketing since 2005, publishing websites and driving traffic to other companies in order to earn referral fees. He runs and went full time in 2006. On the other hand, Pavlovich is the founder and CEO of the conversion rate consultancy, Conversion Factory, which helps improve ecommerce conversion rates for some of the largest brands in the UK. The two always knew they wanted to work together, and when the opportunity to purchase the Wish domain name arose, they both jumped at the opportunity.

 The Anti-Groupon Approach

 The Groupon approach, shared by many other business models, is to tempt customers by offering heavily discounted deals on specific items. By contrast, the Wish approach is to offer a fun experience at a fair price, with service that is second to none. Where purchasing a Groupon deal can sometimes be an exercise in reading the fine print or cutting through some serious red tape, doing business with Wish is seamless, according to Kershaw and Pavlovich. The approach of making shopping easy and fun has allowed Wish to carve out a unique niche, freeing it from the need to compete with “big box” retailers. Instead, they concentrate on offering fun adventures to their customers, beginning at the moment they enter the website – and they rely on those same satisfied customers to recommend them to their friends and family, proving that word of mouth advertising is powerful – and highly effective.

 Website Optimization Equals Success

 A visit to the website can be jarring if you’re not prepared. A ghoulish zombie figure reaches out from the browser page as if in an attempt to grab you and pull you into its grasp. This attention-grabbing display advertises the site’s most popular offerings – an assortment of zombie-themed challenges. The bright colors and simple navigation add to the ease of the visitor’s experience. However, if you need help, chat assistance is just a click away and available during business hours.

 The website is fun to navigate and this emphasis on fun has allowed to buck the trend of non-essential services suffering sales downturns during economic hard times as customers tighten their belts. The pair attributes their success to the fact that their services represent a form of low cost escapism to a stressed populace. Kershaw and Pavlovich point out that their fun-themed experiences are less expensive than booking a weekend at a hotel.

 Kershaw and Pavlovich also optimize social networking to increase website traffic and sales. For instance, the site includes a number of testimonials from satisfied customers, including star ratings. The site also lists the number of “likes” it has received on Facebook and allows customers to post directly on the site through their Facebook accounts.

 A Crucial Component: Customer Service

 This pair of entrepreneurs has managed to maintain their success by directing a small, dedicated staff of remote contract employees that address customer concerns in a timely manner. Wish has built a reputation for stellar customer service, and when it comes to business success, customer service is crucial. Ask anyone to relay their own personal experiences of excellent customer service and they will be able to provide you with at least one story. And the same goes for poor customer service; most people can share an instance of terrible customer service they will never forget. No matter how great the company is, bad customer service will always be a deal breaker.

 To cater to customers, Wish implemented a no-hassle exchange policy, with transactions possible right on the website. Customer service is available through live chat or by telephone during business hours. Email is always available, with responses usually made within 24 hours of inquiry. By making it simple for customers to solve problems via self-service, and then adding a crew that is easily accessible, they’ve solved the most common problems consumers experience when having problems with a product or sale: prompt service and one-on-one assistance. This is a valuable lesson for sustainable business success.

 Investment is the key to creating a customer service team and policy that shines. For example, Kershaw and Pavlovich invested a lot of money and effort into the front end of building out the customer service aspect of their website, contracting with As a result, the site competently handles more than 140,000 hits per day and is easily scalable as demand continues to grow for zombie invasions and disaster-themed offerings.

 The Wish site is an example of how businesses can achieve success quickly, and then maintain that level of success long term. By following in their entrepreneurial footsteps, emerging online businesses can focus on what customers really want; a fun environment to shop and buy products without the worry of red tape and poor customer service. When it comes to consumers, respecting their time and efforts pays off in a big way.

Jack Harding enjoys researching upstarts and the entrepreneurs that make them successful. He mainly shares his tips and insights on entrepreneur blogs. Visit to find out more about their business model.