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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:28 am 
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Hey guys, I'm new to this and really want to find out a bit more about what means a lot to plumbers and other trades when it comes to buying supplies online. I'm in the middle of designing an online marketplace just for tradesman to make your lives easier. Any ideas or serious annoyances that you want to get rid of?!

An example that comes to mind is having to spend time driving to different merchants to get materials last minute...


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:36 am 
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Screwfix and Toolstation generally are the easiest. You can check on your phone for parts, check stock and collect. At a pinch you can use BnQ or if you have any still and independent . I find Plumbase crap and expensive for most things. I think that your idea would not make inroads into Screwfix and Toolsation as they are pretty well set up and work well in the main.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:51 am 
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Thanks DWD

Screwfix and toolstation are great as they have been established for a while, but no marketplace exists for all tradesman to shop for all supplies. For example we are already stocking over 100k products and want to focus on plumbing supplies in particular. If we were to supply competitive delivery options, a good range of products (way more than the merchants above) and supply real time order stock levels.. would you benefit from it?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:58 am 
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Not really, time is the essence and if I know I can pick up locally I would not want to wait for a delivery albeit next day. There might be some things that I cannot source easily that I would use a site like that but it is all down to convenience at the end of the day. This would be an additional, not a general replacement supplier for me. However, the amount of work I do these days no one would bother with my custom :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:16 am 
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Really! That's fair enough, I suppose what we are trying to achieve is saving different tradesman time and money when shopping online. So if you needed to source something obscure and know you could get it online cheaper and quickly.. you never know :) you may be convinced some day! Sounds like a convenient app would be handy too. Thanks DWD!



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:21 am 
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My 2p worth

onestopshop wrote:
but no marketplace exists for all tradesman to shop for all supplies. For example we are already stocking over 100k products


It sounds a lot, but over for over 20 trades its not a lot is it



onestopshop wrote:
and want to focus on plumbing supplies in particular.

But you just said
onestopshop wrote:
but no marketplace exists for all tradesman to shop for all supplies.


So which do you want to do? Plumbing supplies or everything?

Also why would any trades person want to come to you as opposed to where they go now? You only do delivery (I know you have to start some where) so that means they have to look on line, order it and.......wait for delivery

As I see it you are going to need an "edge" but if you only have one branch its got to be some edge.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:32 am 
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Everything, but you need to start somewhere and some trades are more traditional than others e.g. builders. Coming down to ugly freight and so used to going to local merchants or having to call different branches to get 10 quotes for the same thing! So... 100k is just the beginning and this is a mixture of plumbing, electrical and building supplies. Of course the goal is to be a one stop shop for ALL trades. We have chosen plumbers first as following on from market research that believe it or not, plumbers are the most active online shoppers! Especially as parts can be sooo expensive. one of the benefits of using us over merchants is choice. Screwfix for example only stock 25k products. We have 3000 boilers. This is just an example and demonstrates that over time tradesman can have a wider choice whenever they want it and have the flexible delivery options to meet their demands. If it saves you time and money comparing in one place off your phone or tablet then why wouldn't you!!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:37 am 
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A boiler is worth shopping around for and if the discount is good that can be a winner.?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:40 am 
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DWD the prices we have our good, but delivery can take up to two weeks which isn't so good... would you still go for it if you save quite a bit of money?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:57 am 
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Yes, I would. The supply source would be transparent to me, price would be the deciding factor.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:59 am 
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But you just said you stock them. So why a 2 week wait?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:17 pm 
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Question here is almost like the demarcation problem.... how many trades do 'cross-trade' work? A plumber won't normally do electrical work for example. Under which circumstance the relevant trades are already covered by their 'own' specialist suppliers or the existing multi-suppliers (Screwfix etc) for the very-occasional off-subject item.

I think you're trying to muscle in on an area that is pretty well cramped in the first place. Nowadays it's down to cost and reliability - the existing suppliers seem to have most of that covered already and if you're looking to trade as a drop-shipping type of website I don't think any price savings you might be able to pass on will make a massive difference to any tradesman who is equally happy to pop into the local shed for a ridiculously-priced one-off purchase (which the client pays for anyway).

Good luck in your enterprise but I think you're going to struggle to make it pay.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:05 pm 
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A good Heating guy will prefer to wire his own system, especially the bigger stuff because specialist sparkys are hard to find. It is not just a case of sticking a few wires in, you need to know how it has been designed to work.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:23 pm 
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Most established trades will already have favoured suppliers I'd have thought... What would be your USP ? what could you offer me that established companies can't ??

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:30 pm 
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Not sure how others think about the 'Amazon' experience either but if it turns out you (as a seller) are not recognised as who you really are but are just a 'subsidiary' of the huge Amazon name then half of all the work you do is just to support the Amazon brand (I believe they also take a cut from every sale made under their banner???).

No chance to build a reputation in your own name - throwing money at a third party for doing nothing other than being a centralised advertising point, basically working for the 'man' instead of for yourself.

When you last placed an order through Amazon did you even take notice of who the retailer actually was?

I suppose some businesses are built around the stack-it-high, sell-it-cheap format but that's particularly bad for businesses that rely on their good name and reputation (that they will have built up over decades perhaps) for their main business model.

:dunno:

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