With lockdown restrictions starting to ease across the UK, we’re hoping that we can all start on the road to recovery. Businesses around the country are discovering new opportunities and we’ve got two brilliant stories from Kingsdown Water and Rakkaus Furniture Ltd that might spark some inspiration. They spotted new markets, then fast-tracked their plans to set up e-commerce websites in a few weeks.
Kingsdown Water is a Kent based company, supplying spring water and luxury sparkling pressé drinks to hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs across the UK and beyond. When restaurants and food establishments were forced to close overnight, the company’s main market disappeared overnight along with a £14 million annual turnover. An immediate recovery plan was required and this is exactly what Will Bomer, the company’s founder and managing director, along with his team, initiated.
Their solution was to think beyond existing markets and look at viable alternatives. Within two weeks, Kingsdown Water was re-invented, new markets were identified, an e-commerce website was designed and launched, and a digital strategy activated.
Will Bomer explains: “I was shell-shocked; we had hit a brick wall. It was a case of diversify or die. We needed to immediately re-think our business model and review our brand for a new customer, and find a new route to market. In the face of adversity, innovation and speed was key. Kingsdown Water went from supplying top restaurants under the slogan “grown up beautiful soft drinks that taste as good as they look,” to refocussing on the UK adult home market with a new slogan, based on the lockdown message of “make it a special night out, at home”.
Four weeks on, online sales have increased fourfold. Although production has dropped from its usual average of 250,000 bottles a week to 5,000 bottles, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sales are growing on a daily basis and margins are improving, and the business is looking forward to the core business returning when restaurants, pubs, and hotels re-open their doors, by which time the online home delivery division of the business will be well established and making a valuable contribution.
Rakkaus Furniture Ltd
Rakkaus Furniture Ltd, established in 2017, is a Kilmarnock-based commercial furniture provider, supplying and installing furniture to offices, hotels, bars, restaurants, cinemas, schools and hospitals. They secured a CIBLS loan to cover ongoing business costs such as rent and utilities, and to build a new website to take online orders and open the business to retail customers.
The company is currently unable to fulfil commercial orders due to the coronavirus lockdown because customers’ premises are closed until further notice. The funding will enable it to adapt its business model and create a new revenue stream by selling directly to private, non-commercial customers. Diversification into e-commerce was part of the business’ long-term strategy, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to rapidly change its plans.
Chris Arkley, managing director at Rakkaus said:
“The nature of our existing customer base, with schools, offices and hospitality businesses, means it has not been possible to deliver orders and our customers have had to stop spending money with us. We’ve had to adapt our plans and prepare to enter a consumer market quicker than we had originally planned. It’s a growth area in our industry, so was always on our horizons, but it’s a priority now. Everything is changing so quickly at the moment, but we hope that, despite the difficult circumstances under which we’re diversifying, it is the start of a successful long-term strategy for us.”
POSTED IN: 2020,Case Studies