An online tool company has reported a whopping 250 per cent spike in sales during lockdown as Brits spend isolation making home improvements.
With Britain’s retailers suffering successive slumps in monthly sales, the outlook remains bleak for businesses on the high street.
However, one online tool brand has proven itself resilient to the coronavirus impact and has seen a huge spike in sales during lockdown, compared to the same time last year.
Bristol-based Mad4Tools.com is an online retailer that specializes in power tools and workwear, to lighting and electrical equipment and stocks more than 30,000 products.
Though lockdown restrictions are easing, thousands of people are still working from home, practising social distancing, while many businesses, entertainment and leisure facilities remain closed.
As a result, Brits in stages of lockdown across the country have been attempting their own at-home DIY projects – that in some cases may have been on the ‘to-do list’ for years.
Paul Swain, a Director for Mad4Tools.com says: “In early spring we saw huge demand for our PPE products, including protective masks and hand sanitizer, which sold out within a month – but then the full lockdown happened. We saw sales drop drastically – by 60 per cent in the first week that people were consigned to their homes – which was obviously a concern.”
The online tool brand’s traditional customers include DIY enthusiasts but also tradespeople all over the world, and the company, like many, weren’t sure what the impact of coronavirus would be.
“After those first few days, we suddenly saw a huge spike in sales across our online channels for DIY and garden products, focussed primarily on our website and Amazon channels; it was way more than we could ever have anticipated”, says Paul. “That first week was a rollercoaster experience, and sales only continued to grow, meaning it was all hands to the pump, with the whole team spending hours in the warehouse to ensure items were packed and shipped on time.”
The brand says that lockdown pushed Brits online looking for DIY and garden equipment to complete projects that might have been on the ‘to-do list’ for years.
Paul says: “There were massive increases in demand for products like mowers and hand tools, and more unusual items that would be required for major projects. We’d never seen interest quite like it.
“With people spending more time at home, and wanting to make the most of the space they do have, suddenly the DIY projects we’ve been procrastinating over became pressing priorities. That, and perhaps we ran out of excuses for putting off these jobs!”
The tool brand also says that the closure of high street stores and other online competitors struggling to keep pace with the increase in demand were crucial success factors.
“We only sell online, which put us at an immediate advantage to companies whose focus was on the high street. We’re also able to offer Seller-Fulfilled-Prime because of our track record of super quick delivery and excellent customer service”, says Paul. “This proved crucial when Amazon stopped delivery of anything non-essential because our Badge meant we could continue to sell on that channel and ship from our own warehouse.”
The firm credits its tech partner, Brightpearl, a popular eCommerce operations platform, for its ability to capitalize on the lockdown boom.
“Consumers’ expectations don’t change – whether there’s a pandemic going on or not” explains Paul. “You still have to deliver on the promise you’ve made when they click ‘buy’. The main benefit of a system like Brightpearl is that sales can rapidly go from 100 to 10,000 and the platform doesn’t blink, no matter how many orders you have.
“Brightpearl automates all your eCommerce workflows, from order processing to inventory and shipping, which means you just need someone to pack it on the other end. Brightpearl was instrumental for us managing that sudden massive increase in demand while still retaining the same high levels of service and speedy fulfilment.”
The company forecasts stronger-than-usual trading for some time to come and believes its ability to continue delivering strong service will benefit the brand in the long term.
“Shoppers remember brands who are able to deliver exceptional service, even during testing times”, says Paul. “We win business because of our positive feedback and high ratings on review sites and we retain business because of the experience we provide – from great customer service, to orders being delivered as expected. We’re delighted to see our ratings remain exceptionally high – that’s not been the case for many brands that have struggled throughout the pandemic.
“Post-Covid, as we watch the pennies even more carefully, consumers are going to pay even closer attention to reviews and ratings before making a purchase, and we’ve put ourselves on a strong footing for future success.”