East Midlands-based housewares manufacturer and importer Charles Bentley & Son is expanding its operation with the launch of a dropship service.
Dropshipping is a retail fulfilment method where a retailer doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a retailer sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party – usually a wholesaler or manufacturer – who then ships the product directly to the customer.
The company says the initative will enable retailers to easily expand their online home, garden and leisure product ranges without major upfront investment, by using Charles Bentley & Son as a fulfilment centre.
The supplier will effectively stock, pack and dispatch products directly to customers on behalf of retailers who are looking to explore new product lines.
Approximately 1,500 products will be available through the service, covering garden and outdoor, home living, sport and leisure, DIY tools and hardware, toys, games and pets.
Charles & Bentley & Son has chosen garden trade event Glee, held from September 12 to September 14 at the NEC in Birmingham, to unveil the service, which will be based at its 202,000sq ft warehouse in Loughborough.
The move means that other businesses will be able to echo the success of Charles Bentley & Son’s ecommerce operation, BuyDirect4U, which has reached a £10 million annual turnover after launching in 2005.
The company has used dropship to develop its own catalogue, which now includes 1,500 products and has increased the average number of visitors to its website to 100,000 per month.
Managing director Charles Bentley commented: “We have trialled our new dropship operation with two major British omni-channel retailers, and following its success, we are now rolling this out nationally by offering independent retailers and garden centres access to our expanding product portfolio of Charles Bentley branded products.
“The major benefit that this fulfilment strategy offers to retailers is that it minimises risk and cost. They do not have to invest in stock or the warehouse space to store it, which offers an avenue of expansion which does not require major investment.
“The new service will be available across a wide range of products, so retailers can use this to trial new product lines and as we pack, pick and ship on the retailer’s behalf, they can also save time.
“We’re really pleased with the success of this service so far and expect it to become popular with a range of retailers, particularly those that are looking for an easy way to sell online for first time.”
The new dropship service coincides with the launch of Charles Bentley & Son’s rebrand, which has given the 156-year-old company a fresh look as it prepares to further diversify and grow its services.
Charles Bentley & Son is a Loughborough business. Formed in 1860, the company is still owned by the original Bentley family and originally started out providing brushes for Victorian chimney sweepers. It is now a multi-million pound operation, with specialisms in the equestrian, cleaning and household sectors.
The Charles Bentley and Son senior management team at its warehouse in Loughborough
COPYRIGHT: BETH WALSH