Three merchants launch online as lockdown hits

Three independent builders’ merchants went live with an advanced eCommmerce solution just days before the country went into its second lockdown.

The specialist builder of eCommerce for merchants, eCommonSense, delivered the award-winning solutions with just a few hours to spare before the country once again was subject to restrictions to halt the increase in the coronavirus pandemic.

Merchants going live over the past week with an eCommonSense solution were:

  • Gardner and Scardifield – established nearly 100 years ago in Lancing, West Sussex, a mixed merchant including builders’ merchants, electrical wholesalers and DIY suppliers across Sussex
  • Norgrove Building Supplies – based in Kidderminster in the West Midlands, Norgrove also have showrooms for kitchens, bathrooms and tiles
  • South Coast Building Supplies, the independent merchants based in Dorset and Hampshire trades from four depots – two in Southampton, one in Bournemouth and one in Andover

The last lockdown saw a massive surge in online trading for those merchants with an advanced eCommerce solution. A lot of the sales were out of regular opening hours, and there was a significant increase in the number of retail consumers using the merchants for the first time.

The merchants that fared the best were the ones that could organise their business to allow easy trading online with efficient delivery and click and collect options.

Jack Norgrove, MD of Norgrove, said: “It’s all about offering customers what they want and, increasingly, they want to be able to order online and arrange delivery, easily and quickly. The solution we have offers all of this and more.”

Tim Payne, of South Coast Building Supplies, said: “The trend for online buying has been accelerated by the lockdowns. We needed an advanced eCommerce solution to make sure that we continue to offer excellent service levels.”

Nick Neale, Director at Gardner and Scardifield, said: “We have been trading for nearly 100 years but we continue to adapt to the needs of our customers. Increasingly these demand that we offer an advanced eCommerce solution that allows our customers, both existing & new, an ability to trade and manage their accounts online.”

eCommonSense CEO Andy Scothern said: “We are seeing a lot of merchants wanting to go live after the experience of the first lockdown. This meant a huge surge in demand for our solution that will not only future-proof merchant businesses but also provide some protection against future lockdowns and social distancing restrictions.

“While it has been a real challenge for our implementation team, we can deliver due to the vast experience that we have within this market. Lessons from previous implementations have been pivotal to help us overcome most problems we come across with any merchant.

“This has been a challenging period for many merchants, and we are trying to do whatever we can to support them during these uncertain times.”