Pictured – Founders Megan Scaddan and Wade Smith.
Online and high street food retailer enjoys strong growth throughout the 2020 pandemic, increases customer delivery choice, accesses ‘pooled volume’ discounted shipping rates and saves hundreds of hours annually on order processing, thanks to the introduction of Parcelhub, the leading provider of multi-carrier delivery management and outsourced tracking support.
Total UK consumer spending is expected to fall by a staggering £183.6 billion (14.9%) this year due to the COVID-19-induced lockdowns, according to new research from Mintel’s flagship British Lifestyles report. Despite this, the same study has found there will be a total increase in consumer spending on food of £6.9 billion (8.1% which equates to £249 per household).
Meanwhile, city centre retailers continue to be devastated by low footfall and poor sales, due to a permanent and accelerating shift in consumers’ shopping habits, with online sales accounting for more than 30% of total retail sales in the UK for the first time, up from 21.8% in 2019.
For Nottingham-based online and high street food retailer Doughnotts, this year has presented a range of challenges and opportunities. Doughnotts is an independent doughnut company that began in in 2015. Founders Megan Scaddan and Wade Smith, the duo behind Nottingham’s favourite doughnut company, started off in Megan’s mum’s Kitchen “with a tenner and a wok”, says Dan Byrne, the company’s marketing manager.
Dan added: “We started on markets before opening our first shop in Nottingham, producing in a small bakery. Since then our order volumes and following have increased organically. As of 2020, we’ve moved into a larger Nottingham shop, opened our biggest store yet in Lincoln, gave Leicester a refit and in January we moved into a 5,000 sq ft bakery and office building in Nottingham.”
Doughnotts’ shift to online
While Doughnotts has since 2015 predominantly sold purely from their physical stores, consumer habits have evolved and thanks to a growing social media presence, in 2020 the SME retailer launched an online shop on the WooCommerce eCommerce platform, to cater for burgeoning demand. Wanting to give their customers greater choice, they introduced Click & Collect from their bakery, bespoke order Click & Collect from their shops, and have begun working with a growing number of wholesalers across the Midlands.
The impact of the pandemic on Doughnotts’ sales
Dan continued: “On the high street, we’ve seen a small decline in footfall but have been able to react and adapt to meet these challenges. We refitted our Leicester store earlier this year which has boosted the footfall and sales in the store. The Launch of Doughnotts Delivered has been a big help in the sense that we can reach more of our customers who aren’t visiting the stores at the moment or can’t use Click & Collect. It’s helped us gain new customers too and with our mailing list growing every day, we can use this new audience to keep growing despite the many challenges at the moment.
“As part of our plan to give customers greater choice, we were aware that Parcelhub offers a single collection regardless of carrier choice, giving us access to a range of carrier partners and delivery options, while maintaining the flexibility to retain our existing carrier contracts where required. It’s been incredibly easy to integrate Parcelhub with our Woocommerce store, and so far, we have rolled out DHL Parcel UK to handle our often-fragile parcel deliveries, directly to our valued customers. The real benefit of Parcelhub so far is that our orders are now being automatically completed as customers purchase from us, saving us hours of time that would normally be spent manually completing the hundreds of orders.”
Leigh Sissons, Business Development Manager at Parcelhub added: “When discussing going online with Meg and Wade, we immediately figured out that with the items being freshly prepared on the day of dispatch, we needed a next day courier with strong on-time delivery performance to ensure their customers received their goods as soon as possible. We also discussed the importance of proactive customer service. It wasn’t good enough to just ‘sit there and wait’ for their customers to call in and ask where their order was. If something was wrong, we needed it flagging and for someone working on it as soon as possible, and that’s what our Customer Services can do.
“To meet this need, we introduced carrier partner DHL Parcel UK’s one-hour delivery window text message feature, which has made a big difference in getting the orders delivered at the first attempt. If the customer isn’t going to be in, they can select a leave safe place or arrange alternative delivery options. Doughnotts not only benefit from our Proactive SMART Notifications offering, but they also benefit from the discounted Next Day pricing we can offer.
“With Doughnotts being new to online deliveries, most carriers want a minimum number of parcels per day, or offer a really high rate until you get to a much higher number of daily parcels before accessing their cheaper prices. It’s tough for new start-ups; you need the lower prices initially in order to be competitive online. Doughnotts and Parcelhub have been working with each other for a few weeks now and their projected volume is way higher than what we initially thought. It’s really great to see a local business doing so well in difficult times.”
The future of Doughnotts
Doughnotts’ founders aim to constantly rebuild and refine their online shop. Their main focus is to make it as easy as possible for customers to order doughnuts. Dan concluded: “If we can do that then we’ll see more customers and more sales. To start with we’ll be redesigning the checkout to make ordering a smoother easier process, we have a growing mailing list which has been a huge benefit for directly marketing to customers, if we have a new product, special offer or such like, we can offer it to the 3,000+ members directly and track the spending habits of those customers to gain an idea of the kind of marketing they react to and don’t.
“In the next three years, we aim to have a few more shops across the UK and expand our Doughnotts Delivered service to include more products, and delivery areas. We can use the delivery service to build up a map of areas that we deliver to and then from there plan pop-ups before launching a new store.”
About Parcelhub – where proactive delivery management comes as standard
Parcelhub is a bespoke multi-carrier delivery management and proactive tracking support solution. Flexible and scalable, its unique portfolio of services integrates seamlessly with marketplaces, eCommerce platforms and order management systems, providing hundreds of multi-channel retailers, global brands and wholesalers with one access point to 20+ carriers and 600+ delivery options.
Distributing more than 6 million parcels on its own carrier contracts every year, Parcelhub’s free multi-carrier shipping software grants hundreds of national and global businesses access to ‘pooled volume’ discounted rates from its carefully selected range of carrier partners, including Yodel, Hermes, DPD, DHL, UPS, DX, Parcelforce, CollectPlus, SkyNet, ArrowXL, Interpost, Panther Logistics, Direct Link and Palletforce. Dedicated proactive parcel management comes as standard.
Parcelhub is part of the Whistl Group. Whistl is the leading delivery management company enabling customers to get their letters, leaflets or parcels to customers efficiently and cost-effectively both in the UK and internationally. It is headquartered in Marlow with 8 depots and 2 fulfilment centres across the UK handling 3.8bn items a year. The company is privately held with over 1,500 employees and a turnover in excess of £600m. It has grown significantly over the years and is now expanding its presence in the eCommerce sector offering fulfilment services to customers through a seamless experience from first click to final delivery.