WTTB claims online automated split delivery first

WTTB's automated system allows multiple addresses to be added at the point of order
WTTB's automated system allows multiple addresses to be added at the point of order

Where The Trade Buys has laid claim to a UK first by automating split deliveries, enabling its customers to more closely mirror commercial print services while simultaneously benefiting from bulk pricing and faster distribution.

The service gives the option to split a delivery across a maximum of 10 addresses.

While CEO Gary Peeling conceded split deliveries are nothing new in the commercial arena and are already available from Route 1 Print, which launched its new pack and collate service earlier this month, he said that the latter was more a “bespoke, manual request” and that he believed Where The Trade Buys is the first online printer to offer a fully automated split delivery service at the point of order.

“What’s typically happened in the past is that if you’ve had a project that required distribution to multi-locations, resellers or businesses tended to use a commercial printer that they engaged with manually, detailing where they wanted each part of the consignment to be delivered,” said Peeling.

“What we’ve done is develop a proper [online] user interface that replicates that service. So, with all of the products available on Where The Trade Buys you can request the delivery to be split.”

Peeling explained that the service can also be used across multi-product types in the same order, for example where a customer might order 1,000 brochures, 500 flyers and 750 presentation folders to office A and 2,000 brochures, 1,000 flyers and 1,000 presentation folders to office B and so on, with each order element having full track and trace.

“That’s what tends to happen with a lot of printing, it’s ordered centrally and then distributed out, but what a reseller or business would typically have to do [online] is order all of the qualities individually and send them to their respective offices, which is more expensive as there’s a set-up fee [and no bulk/ganging discount] for each [separate] order or they place one order and have it sent to their own facility and rebox it and send it on again.”

“It seems really simple and in the ‘offline’ space it’s what printers do all the time, but it just wasn’t available online,” he added. 

The new service covers the firm's full range of marcomms and wide-format print and covid-secure products

The fully automated interface was developed inhouse and took almost two years to perfect.

“And after that amount of time, I can see why no one has done it before,” quipped Peeling.

“We’re really excited about it and it’s here now and, fundamentally, what it does is make the online experience comparable with offline.”

The trade supplier is a sister business of Precision Printing and has facilities in Dagenham, Sunderland and Worksop.

Peeling said that after the initial lockdown shockwave, which resulted in Where The Trade Buys' sales falling 80% in the early weeks, volumes were now at pre-lockdown levels as the business supports a number of new and existing resellers that might have either reduced production capacity due to furloughed staff or have temporarily suspended production.

He added that the “offline business” was also ahead of its Covid plan, thanks in part to pivoting to produce PPE and also because its core corporate work had started to slowly return. Although he highlighted that around 30% of the group’s 160 staff, or one shift, remain on furlough – with the sites typically running double day rather than 24 hours.

“We’ve got a ways to go [offline], but I think with hospitality and accommodation opening up it is starting to happen.”