Motorcycle Accessories Retailer Boosts Profitability with Proactive Delivery Management Platform
BDLA Motorbikes maximises operational efficiency with single multi-carrier Parcelhub collection, increases profitability by 5% thanks to collaborative buying power, and enhances delivery performance through deployment of Parcelhub’s free software and innovative SMART Notifications platform.
Pastime becomes pursuit
Motorcycle fanatics and co-founders Billy and Diane Coulthard decided to start sourcing and selling motorcycle boots and helmets on their own eBay store, and soon after eCommerce website in 2009, following difficulty finding a customer-centric outlet in this category. Billy explains: “One Sunday roughly 10 years ago we went to a local shop to buy some clothing and gear after not having ridden a motorcycle for far too long! We realised there and then that many shops in the trade just simply don’t go the extra mile for customers, and really don’t cater to their needs. There really was a lack of customer support both in-store and online. So, on that day BDLA was imagined with the customer being at the forefront of that vision. No matter the product, we have researched it extensively and can offer you both the benefits and the negatives associated with your choice.”
Leigh Sissons, Business Development Manager at Parcelhub with Billy Coulthard, Founder of BDLA Motorbikes
Subsequent strong marketplace sales led to shipping volumes of up to 100 parcels in a weekend, the introduction of a 400 sq ft warehouse and recruitment of daughter Laura and son Adam in 2012, to assist with product sourcing, marketing and order management. Billy continued: “Our growth really ramped up in 2012 when Laura and Adam joined. You can only do so much on your own so increasing our staff count enabled us to create more listings, focus on procurement and ensure customers are happy. Since expanding our operations we are proud to have introduced major brands such as HJC, Oxford Products and Alpinestars to our product range.” By 2014, the merchant experienced growth in weekend shipping volumes to as high as 400 and expanded to their current 2500 sq ft warehouse in Daybrook, Nottingham, at which point Warehouse Operatives Kieran Bexon and Adam Sycamore joined the team to cater for the increased demand.
Investment in technology facilitates growth
Billy: “I’ve always been a bit of a spreadsheet wizard and in the early stages of this business I managed all of our stock levels, customer data and revenue from a single Excel file. As the business expanded it became too much to handle. When my son Adam joined the team in 2012, he badgered me to look at getting an order management system and we happened upon Linnworks, which has enabled us to synchronise all of our business processes from a single platform, giving us greater control of listings and stock levels across multiple sales channels such as our WooCommerce website and marketplaces.”
Bespoke portfolio of carriers and services
Billy: “Sending such a broad range of products (more than 14,000 SKUs) in varied weights and dimensions led to a reliance upon multiple shipping providers. Dealing directly with an assortment of carriers led to problems with sporadic and unreliable collection times. Furthermore, parcel carriers lacked sufficient integration support. We were very fortunate to have been recommended Parcelhub by Linnworks earlier this year who have been able to provide a single collection for multiple carriers. Parcelhub’s business development and account management teams have carefully analysed our dynamic and diverse product range and granted us access to a full range of services in one place that is tailored to our business’s needs; in our case a combination of domestic and international services from Hermes, Yodel, DHL Parcel UK (formerly UK Mail) and DPD.”
Increased visibility and improved seller feedback
Adam Coulthard explains Parcelhub’s benefits: “Prior to partnering with Parcelhub, we had to react to customer queries. By introducing Parcelhub software, their SMART Notifications platform enables us to be more proactive with our customers’ delivery experience and has resulted in strong positive feedback across our digital real estate; this is best demonstrated by our 99.9% feedback on eBay and 99% positive status on Amazon.
BDLA sells direct-to-consumer, and dropships a diverse range of motorcycle products, working with major brands such as LS2, MT, GSB, MOMO, Viper and ARMR. [Pictured: Adam Sycamore, Warehouse Operative at BDLA Motorbikes.]
“Parcelhub software is a great tool that provides us with increased visibility of delivery issues and enables us to respond or react swiftly and efficiently to resolve delivery queries, reclaims and returns should they arise. We now have heightened awareness of each carrier’s delivery performance and are confident that any issues that need to be addressed are all in hand, thanks to the transparent nature of Parcelhub’s system. Investment in technology such as Parcelhub and growth in our product range have been instrumental in BDLA achieving 40% Year on Year growth for the last three years.”
Cross-border aspirations stunted by Brexit fears
Uncertainty over Brexit is at present front of mind for many retailers, brands and wholesalers when deciding whether to trade internationally and this Nottingham-based motorbike clothing, luggage and security retailer is no exception.
Billy voices his Brexit concerns: “Demand for our products is very seasonal, starting in February when the sun starts to come out, slowing around August when people go on holiday, with a final peak throughout the festive period. While we are already selling on eBay and Amazon throughout mainland Europe, our next area of focus is to expand internationally via dedicated international marketplaces to fill the gaps in demand from UK consumers. Italians, for example, commute via motorcycle most of the year, while France and Germany continue to be our biggest current international marketplaces. Exiting the European Union doesn’t necessarily mean that there will no longer be a free trade agreement, but for now we are holding back on investing in expanding our operations.”
Billy concluded: “Going forward we will to continue our investment in technology, increase our product range and expand into new marketplaces. We see partnering with Parcelhub as a key component of, and driving force behind our ambitious plans.”
Eparcels is a multi-carrier shipping and customer services solution. Flexible and scalable, it integrates seamlessly with order management systems, providing hundreds of eCommerce and wholesale businesses 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, eparcles 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.