Materials Market launches new online building materials marketplace

Materials Market launches new online building materials marketplace

Materials Market has launched its online building materials marketplace – described as a brand new, collaborative model that promises a ‘win-win’ route to market for merchants and distributors.

Already supporting a large network of supplier partners, the Materials Market website was initially launched in November 2020. Founded in August 2019 following a pre-seed funding round of £130k from angel investors, and further bolstered by a £1.5m raise from London VC firm Fuel Ventures in a seed funding round in September 2021, the team behind the initiative say it “represents an innovative digital solution to ease supply chain issues and enabling transparent, simple customer transactions for suppliers across the UK”.

The top online marketplaces in the world transacted over £1.47 trillion in 2019, accounting for 58% of global online sales (McFadyen Digital, Future of Retail) with the marketplace model enabling “top retailers like Amazon and Walmart to platform their businesses into dominant digital commerce positions”. And of course, this is a statistic that is growing rapidly, particularly in light of the pandemic.

Samuel Hunt, Co-Founder & CEO at Materials Market, explains the ambition for his solution “to bring this sea-change to the construction industry”. He said: “The sector has been slower than others to move to a digital-first approach, and so we wanted to create a one-stop shop that connects customers and suppliers in real time, which would allow for better prices and faster deliveries, plus a wider market for distributors and merchants than their bricks and mortar stores.

“The past 18 months has put a huge strain on the sector in general, with many proactive suppliers rapidly rethinking their routes to market. Our online platform allows suppliers to leverage the popular new marketplace model and benefit from steady growth potential.”

Samuel added: “When I worked in building material distribution, the online market wasn’t an attractive channel for us due to the high cost to serve and lack of control we had over products, locations and customers. We knew that in order to keep suppliers engaged we had to give them something that they could control and use on their own terms. After all, marketplaces are about keeping two parties happy, not just one!”

The website showcases a wide range of products, suitable for both the commercial and DIY market, from insulation materials to timber, blocks and plasterboard. Buyers are said to be able to “save on average 20% compared to bricks-and-mortar stores” and simply place their order online and the platform takes care of the rest – matching them with a supplier to do their delivery and overseeing their order to ensure it is fulfilled satisfactorily.

Kevin Hollands, MD at KGH Build, was one of the first trade customers to convert to Materials Market. He commented: “Finding supplies at a competitive price without compromising on quality is no easy feat. The Materials Market concept is revolutionary and a well overdue solution to the supply chain issues we are all familiar with in this industry.

“Confident in the knowledge that their carefully selected partners are committed to high quality, fair pricing and reliable deliveries; Materials Market has saved us time and resource, totally transforming the way we source building materials.”

Samuel added: “We designed Materials Market to provide value and efficiency to customers – not just by way of better prices and shorter lead times – but by creating a platform that allowed people to buy intuitively and quickly, and most importantly have confidence that the order would actually be delivered on-time; something which is all too rare in our sector.

“We are determined to improve efficiency in the construction supply industry. Bringing together a huge variety of products and brands from multiple vendors on one streamlined platform to connect suppliers and customers in one space for the first time – transforming the way the industry buys and sells materials.”

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