Since 2012 insulation4less has pioneered the dropshipping model in the building material industry in the UK and the United States. Convincing contractors to order their material online in the early days wasn’t straightforward at first. Contractors were stuck in the traditional method of buying their building materials in store. As mindsets began to change and contractors seen the value of online buying, organically the business grew year on year and has successfully launched 5 ecommerce websites: Insulation4less, Build4less and Tiles4less in the UK and Insulation4US and Roofing4US in the United States.
Over the past 5 years, the surge of online sales in the building industry suggests the building supplies sector is experiencing a transformation similar to what happened in the consumer retail sector a decade ago. This was accelerated by the 2020 pandemic which turbocharged the online demand for building supplies. Currently, we have not seen a drop in revenue or visits to our websites Build4less.co.uk and Insulation4less.co.uk due to covid crisis.
Our biggest concern right now is our supply chain. Keeping our supply chain up and running is the most important element to us in this crisis. As long as this is not impacted severely we can continue to supply our customers with quick delivery times. We have experienced some closures of factories and distribution centres around the UK and US, but we have been able to source material elsewhere or just temporarily remove certain product ranges from our online offering.
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Manufacturers over the UK and the US have recognised that trend and are embracing online portals much more than ever before. They see the online sector as a cleaner route to market, they now have specific product ranges and pricing they offer online retailers as they see this as a growing market that is not going away and is here to stay. During lockdowns all over the UK and US in 2020 the bricks and mortar stores had to close also.
This put a massive strain on the closure of manufacturers production lines. However, with the online sector booming due to the closure of bricks and mortar stores, manufacturers soon came to realise they needed online more than they thought as bricks and mortar had failed during the pandemic where online was thriving. This was an eye-opener for manufacturers. By constantly innovating and bringing more ranges of products to the consumer, Insulation4less and its sister sites have been able to carve a business online and compete with brick & mortar giants such as Home Depot in the US and B&Q in the UK.
Disrupting a market that was dominated by drive in warehouses all over the UK and US has been a challenging but thankfully very rewarding. We continue to disrupt this sector and provide an overall better experience for the customer to save them time and money on their building materials, while we also continue to grow and capture market share.