What are your thoughts on purchasing timber or building materials in general on line? Is it something you currently do? Is it something you don’t do presently but are likely to move towards? Or is the idea totally abhorrent to you, and you will always place your orders over the phone or across the trade desk?
This week we thought we’d take a look at the rising statistics for e-commerce, or online shopping as it is to you and I. E-commerce in the UK continues to rise at an impressive rate and is anticipated to continue growing at a rate of 11% for the next few years, with one in four retail purchases being online by 2016.
Whilst many of us have been berating the poor weather that we’ve seen so far this year it would appear that this benefits companies with an online store. In April the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 10% of retail sales happened online, which pointed very much towards the continued cold weather steering consumers to purchase from online sites rather than in store.
There has been a steep rise in the use of mobile commerce throughout the last year, which is likely to continue throughout 2013. Website visits and sales from either a smartphone or a tablet device were nearly four times higher at the end of 2012 than the prior year. Consumers are reaching a point where they’re spending longer on their phones shopping than making calls.
In light of all the major DIY superstores offering customers the opportunity to purchase on line it seems natural for the smaller independent DIY, building materials and timber merchants to follow suit. There is clearly a market for this type of product online, so perhaps it is time for the local retailers to move with the times.
At Forestrall Timber and Fencing Merchants we have already seen the success of online sales by partnering with TimberClick. TimberClick offer consumers the opportunity to buy a range of timber and landscaping products online from their nearest regional store, for home delivery. Forestrall service the orders for the London & South East area and we have been able to widen the spectrum of products offered on the site by adding in our standard stock items. Primarily a site for fencing, decking and sleepers, the site now offers cedar roof shingles, construction grade green oak, planed softwood, planed oak, timber claddings, internal doors, sheet materials, mouldings and much, much more. Visitors find the site easy to access and navigate, with helpful project guides and FAQ’s covering the commonly arising queries.
In addition to the success seen with TimberClick, there is now another way to purchase on line, offered by the Forestrall website. The online Q-Deck shop, found via a link on the Forestrall homepage, traditionally offered visitors the opportunity to just purchase the Q-Deck decking range, however this has now been expanded. Visitors that click through to this link will now find six sections – “outdoor & garden“, “timber, joinery & sheet materials“, “building materials“, “screws, nails & fixings“, “adhesives, sealants & decorating” and “ironmongery & security“. Whilst this is still only a selection of products available from Forestrall, it still widens the opportunity for those customers wishing to purchase on line.
We hope that the next step will be a dedicated Forestrall online store which will provide a seamless experience for those wishing to gravitate from purchasing directly from the yard or over the phone. Watch this space!