It might not have the glamour of cocktails by the pool, but it’s anticipated that home improvement will be the activity of choice during the rest of the summer and beyond. In preparation for this predicted surge, Plumbmaster is making life a little easier for its customers with the launch of its first e-Commerce platform.
The new online store allows tradesmen to pick and choose from thousands of plumbing, heating and bathroom products that can be easily paid for and then ordered online for delivery direct to their door or the door of their customer, with a Click & Collect service soon to follow.
Existing account holders can login, while non account customers can apply online for accounts, as well as having the option to pay via card or PayPal. Account holders can also register their account (Trade Cash or Credit) online so they can login to see personalized pricing and create a quote for their customers (including their own logo, margin, labour, etc.), as well as accessing a virtual ‘back office’ where they can find invoices, statements, credit notes, transaction history, make account payments and even an Online Chat option for further help– all at the click of a button.
The Plumbmaster e-Commerce platform is now a dedicated section of Haldane Fisher’s e-Commerce website, making it a one-stop-shop where you can order everything you need to complete your job at great rates, from plumbing and heating supplies to building materials, home improvement products to roofing and timber, and from tools & workwear to internal finish products such as kitchens, bathrooms, doors and floors. Haldane Fisher partnered with award- winning company eCommonSense to create the integrated, easy to navigate virtual store:
“We are delighted to be able to offer the latest technology to our customers,” said Plumbmaster Director Eamonn McCarthy. “Myself and the team are excited about the project and how it will develop and grow as part of the Group’s broader expansion.”
The platform will initially be live for Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland customers ONLY, with England and the Isle of Man to follow later in the year. Plumbmaster was launched in 2016, with discussions and research into e-Commerce platforms having already started. Coronavirus, however, was the catalyst.
“Covid-19 has definitely accelerated the process,” Eamonn added. “The crisis brought it to the boil and now everyone wants to be able to order via their phones or with a couple of clicks of a mouse. Our e-Commerce platform is a one-stop virtual store where you can access everything from quotes to pricing and stock availability.”
The digital platform is also a contemporary answer to the reality of long working hours. The days of 9 to 5 trading are long gone. Immediate access to available stock, 24/7, has to be a given.
“The company’s new e-Commerce platform is a very useful, make that essential tool. We know many people are working long, unsociable hours and can really benefit from a platform that they can access and look at any time, day or night.”
Future-proofing the business has involved finding solutions to multiple challenges, not least the transfer of product data for thousands of products. That’s before you factor in switching to an updated ERP system that allows full integration with the back office, and then simplify pricing structures. It’s a daunting operation that would have many builders’ merchants running for the hills. The board at Haldane Fisher took a very different approach, identifying the importance of having a class-leading eCommerce solution in place.
David Haldane, Haldane Fisher NI Managing Director, said: “The pandemic provided further proof that the right e-Commerce platform is essential to our business. Over the past few months we have adapted our business model, evolved, and so far we’ve come through the crisis in good shape. We’re confident that we now have a robust website that will make our business more accessible to more people.”
Plumbmaster operates a network of 11 branches across Northern Ireland, with locations in Newry, Bangor, Portadown (Castle St), Lisburn, Belfast (Ladas Drive), Belfast (Balmoral), Belfast (Duncrue), Coleraine, Larne, Ballymena, and Enniskillen.