Those that subscribe to our newsletter will have seen our announcement this week that we are shortly launching our own Forestrall online shop (…and if you don’t subscribe to our newsletter, where have you been?? Subscribe here!). This is a major step forward for us, to be ecommerce retailers in our own right, but we have to look back at the process we have followed to get here and recognise the key partners that have helped to bring us to this stage.
As with many timber merchants, historically we have been led by face to face sales via our yard and telephone orders being placed for delivery. We have a website but primarily this has been to give potential customers access to learn a bit about us, find our location and source our contact number / email address. However, a couple of years ago this started to change….
We joined forces with TimberClick, an ecommerce partner who created an online “shop front” for our products, so customers bought from their site but were still serviced by Forestrall when it came to the products and delivery. At the time, this was an entirely new concept for us, although it clearly wasn’t new to the TimberClick team who were busy setting up similar ecommerce joint ventures with timber merchants across the country. As we look at their site today, it appears that wherever you are in the country you can access an online TimberClick store, just a single click on their location map will take you to your nearest store.
This was an ideal way for us to test out online sales and ease ourselves into a new process. By monitoring not just the revenue from online sales but also the incoming telephone calls to the specific number associated with the online site, we have been able to effectively measure the level of success. As the marketing or the site has developed, and the search engine optimisation has achieved greater success, pushing the site to the top of Google searches, we have reaped the rewards of being part of this forward thinking concept. Revenue has increased steadily, making a positive impact on the bottom line from the very beginning of this venture. Incoming enquiries have made huge leaps forward – analysing the first twelve weeks of 2013 and comparing them to the first twelve weeks of 2014 shows us that TimberClick telephone enquiries have grown by 211%, which far outweighs even our expectations.
Not content with just driving our general sales to increase, the TimberClick team have continued to think about the bigger picture, and developed SleepersKent a site devoted to a key facet of our business, the sale of new and used railway sleepers. This site started to take off in early 2013, with the online team continuing to work on it and tweak it, and from an initial trickle of revenue and one or two calls a month it has now grown to an online arm of the business that drives approximately 5% of the calls.
We have a lot to thank TimberClick for and we certainly won’t be parting company with them as we move forward with our own online site as it’s their skills and experience that have helped us to achieve the levels of success we are currently seeing.
If you have any questions about Forestrall, please feel free to call us on 01474 444150 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you’d like to learn more about TimberClick or the ways they may be able to help your business, then you can reach them on 01303 814094 or email email@example.com.
You can read more from us in our timber blog here.