A Swansea-based company selling non-invasive medical devices is planning to expand into the veterinary sector after using digital technology to help increase online sales opportunities.


QOL’s buddy®cover products - reusable, waterproof protective covers for wound dressings on legs - are available on NHS prescription. But the firm has also been able to make the complete range available to purchase online, including on Amazon and eBay.


The company, which was founded by managing director Joanna Winslade in 2011 and started trading in 2014, relies on digital technology to deliver its expanding product range to customers in the UK, Europe and even Australia.


Woman using laptop


Digital-first approach has proved key


Now, Ms Winslade, who started the company aged 55 after spotting a gap in the market while nursing elderly relatives, is developing a product line for animals. She is also developing a new product for the operating theatre called `Prep Shield’, which is specifically designed to protect the tourniquet and patient from skin preparations.


She believes the firm’s digital-first approach has proved key to increasing its products’ exposure and expanding its reach globally. June 2018, Ms Winslade says, has been her most successful month yet.


“I had occupied various administrative roles before I became a hands-on carer for my elderly uncle and my mum,” she said. “It was while I was helping to care for an elderly aunt that I first realised there was a need for this product. Starting the business was a daunting journey. I have had to learn a great deal in a short period, including about the digital technologies that are helping my business run more smoothly.”


Superfast Business Wales helped me focus on what the business needed to do to succeed


buddy®cover’s primary and most profitable sales platform is its website, which has an online shop that provides it with the best profit on products. The company receives online orders almost daily, so having an effective website has been crucial.


Having designed the site independently using a Welsh Government grant, Ms Winslade sought external support from Superfast Business Wales to boost the company’s web traffic and maximise the site’s efficiency. Ms Winslade attended a workshop and received an audit of the website, which included tips to boost its readability and performance. The company has improved its SEO ranking by following expert guidance on Google Analytics and Google AdWords. It also reviews its website content weekly to maximise its reach.


“Superfast Business Wales’ support has helped me focus on what the business needed to do digitally to succeed,” said Ms Winslade. “I was being pulled in all directions. The workshops and guidance helped me to rein things back in.”


Our clients are benefiting from increased security through cloud data storage


A reliable and speedy internet connection has been vital for Ms Winslade’s business, particularly as she uses Skype and email to communicate with clients and distributors around the clock.


The company has also shaved hours off administrative tasks by adopting digital. It uses accounting software Xero and online payment portals, such as PayPal and Global Iris. Its clients are also benefiting from increased security as the firm uses cloud data storage system Synology, which helps ensure the company meets GDPR requirements.


Ms Winslade said: “The digital support we have received from Superfast Business Wales has given me the confidence, and the right tools, to do my job. It has helped my firm become more professional quicker.”


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