UK Flooring Direct, which has become the UK’s leading online retailer for wood and laminate flooring, entered a new partnership agreement with Menzies Distribution to offer customers delivery into a room of their choice.
But within a week of going live, the country went into lockdown and in-home delivery had to be immediately switched to contactless delivery outside customers’ homes, ensuring the health and safety of every person involved in the delivery process, from warehouse to doorstep.
There was also a significant increase in orders via the UK Flooring Direct website and that meant Menzies had a much higher volume of consignments, more than double what was originally forecast, as customers opted to shop online, particularly for DIY friendly flooring options.
The extra volumes were quickly managed from the 15 regional hubs around the country – from Aberdeen to Exeter and from Norwich to Swansea – thanks to the planning which had been put in place.
Darren Gilbert, Chief Operating Officer at UK Flooring Direct, said: “The partnership has been designed to offer an enhanced service for our customers nationwide, bringing with it a new in-home delivery service.
“This entails one-to-one communication between delivery drivers and the customer, providing an up-to-date delivery status as well as offering a direct delivery into a ground floor room of choice and disposal of the pallet and packaging.
“We were on the verge of announcing our new deal with Menzies just before lockdown as we were all set to move to that new in-home delivery service for our customers.
“We’d been working on this brand new, leading solution for 18 months and then, in the space of a week, we had to redesign the whole proposition and shift to a contactless service.
“Coupled with that, we’ve seen orders more than double as more people have chosen to buy online.
“As a company, we are focussed on customer service – from the moment an individual makes an enquiry through to the delivery of the product and we had listened to what they wanted in terms of delivery. It’s imperative the customer experience is of the highest standard throughout their journey with UK Flooring Direct.
“Working with Menzies has given us extensive flexibility ensuring our ability to meet the increased demand and they have been incredible to work with, as have the whole team here at UK Flooring Direct.
“This has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone across the country and will continue to be so for some time. Our whole team has pulled together to adapt to the changing work patterns and practices and to continue to meet our customers’ demands.
“In the long-term, we will be working with Menzies to reduce the amount of vehicle usage in the delivery process along with incorporating electric vehicles."
UK Flooring Direct was founded in 2005 by CEO Jason Ashby and last year sold 1.8 million square metres of flooring from its headquarters in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
Adam Smith, Commercial & Marketing Director at Menzies Distribution, said: “We are proud to be working in partnership with UK Flooring Direct as their delivery partner for wood and laminate flooring, direct to customer homes.
“Our new ‘in-home’ delivery model had been successfully trialled and we were on the cusp of national rollout as the Covid-19 crisis unfolded. Through our operational expertise, flexible solutions, ability to increase capacity and partner approach, we were able to prioritise the health and safety of all employees involved in the delivery process along with that of recipient customers.
“We have remodelled the service to a doorstep delivery, ensuring that there were no compromises with customer pre and post-delivery communications and satisfaction.”
Pictured: UK Flooring Direct CEO Jason Ashby