An open day at the company’s new premises in Plymouth last week (20 September) saw Construction Materials Online (CMO) celebrate its phenomenal success of the last decade, joined by architect and television presenter, Charlie Luxton, as well as key roofing suppliers.
Established in 2009 in Plymouth, CMO’s began its business with the opening of Roofingsuperstore.co.uk – a market-disrupting, online only, roofing merchant which entered a UK roofing market unused to sourcing trade products online.
Yet the roofing sector soon saw the benefits of an internet-based merchant service and roofingsuperstore.co.uk was quickly joined by Insulationsuperstore.co.uk and drainagesuperstore.co.uk. The company has grown exponentially and last year moved to its custom-designed premises and increased its turnover – already exceeding targets for 2018.
“It’s quite an exciting business,” says Andy Dunkley, Chief Executive of CMO. He sums up the company’s success in one word: choice. “Where traditional merchants might offer around 5,000 products with complex pricing structures, we offer 60,000 products online with consistent, competitive and transparent pricing.”
The success of such an online business rests on the quality of its interactions with customers and CMO adds an average of three customer advisers to its team every month. “Fifty per cent of customers speak to an adviser before purchasing,” explains Andy, “it’s therefore critical that they can get through to us quickly and access knowledgeable and friendly advice about products to enable them to make a choice they’re happy with.”
“Our core strengths are our focus on the customer and price,“ Andy continues, “our strong customer service is shown by the excellent rated reviews we have.”
With over 600 roofing calls alone daily, topping 800 on a typical Monday, Roofing Superstore’s Customer Service Supervisor, Liam Revell sits in the hotspot of the business, while also dealing with an extra 200 calls on insulation per day on average.
Managing a team of 60 customer advisers, Liam stresses that they don’t have individual sales targets and never work from scripts.
“It’s a genuine conversation,” Liam explains, “our advisers develop excellent product knowledge and are often asked for advice on installation methods. Sometimes it’s the consumer who just wants to know how something should be done so that they have a rough idea of what their roofer will be doing. Sometimes we offer advice about complying with standards or compatible products.”
CMO has also recruited a team of seven web developers who keep the website running in tiptop condition, as well as designing and programming their own bespoke customer relationship management system.
During the Open Day, visitors enjoyed a tour of the CMO offices, warehouse facilities and a drone demonstration from Red Air Drones, as well as Charlie Luxton’s presentation.
In a wide-ranging talk, Charlie says his first test of a roof’s material is to ask “would I eat my dinner off it?”, assessing its environmental credentials. Talking the audience through the construction of his own bungalow, Charlie explained the environmental rationale for the decisions he made at each stage of construction. The process gave him a renewed respect for tradespeople he says, but he urged a greater focus on air tightness, avoiding performance gaps and using breathable materials.
Next for CMO is the launch of Trade Club. Rob Martin, Trade Accounts Manager, says “Roofing Superstore trade customers will be able to log in to their own customer account page. They’ll be able to see their orders, print off VAT receipts and keep track of products that have worked well for them. It’s all about making trade orders as easy and seamless as any other kind of online shopping, which is what the younger generations of roofing contractors expect. Why should they have to take valuable time off the tools to purchase their materials, when they can just order off their phone? It can be that straightforward!”