Magento Merchants Enhance Delivery Experience with Parcelhub
Pictured: Chris Elliott, Founder of The Bamboo Flooring Company (second from left) with his team and Nick Dean, Regional Sales Manager at Parcelhub (third from left).
A recurring theme amongst successful startups seems to be entrepreneurs quitting their job to launch a company in the same industry. Bucking that trend, Chris Elliott launched The Bamboo Flooring Company in 2004 following a career in product manufacturing and engineering.
Chris witnessed the demise of British manufacturing and the shift to reliance upon cost-effective East Asian production, stating “if you can’t beat them, why not join them?” and decided to go to the bank, get a loan and start importing from China.
Well-read on the latest trends and product innovations in home décor, Chris launched a website on the Magento platform (which is trusted by over 650,000 merchants worldwide), selling custom bamboo flooring and accessories and managing stock from a floor above a local retail store.
Chris explained: “Magento is in our view the market leader for building a professional eCommerce website. While initially it’s more expensive than other platforms such as Shopify, its flexibility pays dividends. Because they don’t charge a percentage of your sales means it’s a more scalable solution than other options would have been. As Magento 1.0 is currently being phased out, over the next six months we will be switching over to 2.0 which we hope will be more powerful and versatile.”
Starting off with a range of four bamboo flooring products, 14 years of trading has resulted in the retailer increasing this figure to over 20, and close to 300 different hardwood, laminate and vinyl floors and tiles.
Chris continued: “We actively encourage prospects and our customers to order free samples directly from our website, which are delivered in a pizza box-style parcel containing six samples. We offer this because our customers often require three to four months to decide which type or design of flooring they require; in many cases the flooring is the final stage of a project so this is a high involvement purchase within a long decision-making process; sampling has been a key component of driving digital demand generation.”
To support strong growth and product diversification, in 2006 Chris introduced Amazon and eBay as new selling channels for accessories, along with sister website Ambience Hardwood Flooring. In 2014 Chris upscaled his operation from a small unit to his current 13,500 sq ft warehouse in Leicester, which supports their eCommerce, and brick-and-mortar operation; showrooms in Leicester, Central London and Swindon.
Powered by Parcelhub
“Prior to our relationship with Parcelhub we were unable to negotiate large enough shipping discounts to enable us to compete on a national scale; dealing with multiple account managers wasn’t practical, and relying on a single carrier would have been too inflexible. Some of our items are long length, some short, some are really lightweight, some heavy, some orders more urgent than others, so we needed the versatility that Parcelhub empowers us with to be able to pick and choose the most appropriate carrier and service for each product. Having worked with Parcelhub for more than five years now, we have found Nick Dean (Regional Sales Manager) a pleasure to work alongside.”
“Over Christmas for example, one carrier’s poor performance was pre-empted by Nick, who proactively recommended and then executed the switching across to a better performing carrier before things made a turn for the worse; relying on a single carrier in this instance would have cost us dearly. Nick’s deep expertise in eCommerce logistics, combined with the enormous effort he has put in over the years has helped our business scale and realise its true potential.”
“In summary, Parcelhub’s software support, customer services, account management and sales teams have been great to deal with. Their seamless carrier integration, combined with enhanced label printing and order processing efficiencies have saved one of our staff four hours per day on average, which speaks for itself.”
“As for the future of The Bamboo Flooring Company and Ambience Hardwood Flooring, we would like to continue operating from our Leicester headquarters, and having experienced 20% annual growth in the last couple of years, to continue this would be amazing.”
About Parcelhub – The bespoke parcel shipping solution.
Parcelhub is a multi-carrier shipping and eCommerce customer services solution. Flexible and scalable, it integrates seamlessly with order management systems, providing hundreds of multichannel retailers, global brands and wholesalers with one access point to many of the largest UK and international parcel carriers.
Multi-channel eCommerce platforms are easily integrated and dedicated proactive parcel management comes as standard.
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, UK Mail, DHL, Whistl, UPS, DX, Parcelforce, CollectPlus, SkyNet, ArrowXL, Interpost, Panther Logistics, Direct Link and Palletforce.