According to an old proverbial phase, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. That pretty well sums up B2B supplier TYGRIS’ venture into ecommerce.
Charged in 2019 with a directive to grow revenues for the family business by a million British pounds in a year’s time, Jed Simpson, general manager for TYGRIS, a United Kingdom-based supplier of cleaning, lubrication and protection solutions decided to hang the company’s future growth on ecommerce. At the time, TYGRIS did not have an ecommerce website and was faced with the challenge of building one from the ground up.
To get its website built and launched, TYGRIS turned to Bspoq, a U.K.-digital agency. Within a few months, Bspoq was able to launch TYGRIS’ website using the BigCommerce platform in early 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic was beginning. Soon after, TYGRIS felt it’s plans to attract customers to its new website and educate them on how to use it would take a serious blow as a result of he pandemic.
“COVID-19 obliterated all those plans to bring people online using ecommerce,” Simpson recalls. “Everyone just wanted to go back to their comfort zones — emails and phone calls — because there was so much uncertainty happening everywhere else.”
Despite the initial speedbump, TYGRIS quickly realized that having an ecommerce would prove to be advantageous to its business, nevertheless. As sanitizing products came to be in short supply across the U.K. due to disruptions in the supply chain caused by the pandemic, Simpson quickly realized that having accurate stock levels, pricing and product information on its site could be a point of differentiation that could jumpstart the company’s ecommerce sales. It turned out he was correct.
Since then, the company’s ecommerce sales have grown substantially. During the first 11 months of 2021 ecommerce sales grew 99% compared to the same period in 2020, and revenues by 138%. In addition, TYGRIS posted a 3.5% conversion rate, as of November 2021, a 140% increase from a November 2020.
“We now got a two-year head start on everybody,” Simpson says. “We will keep leveraging that and making sure we stay well ahead in embracing new opportunities that come up, new technologies that emerge, and make sure that TYGRIS is the number one company within the industry for B2B ecommerce”.
Other features within the BigCommerce platform that have helped grow TYGRIS’ ecommerce business include a quick order pad that allows buyers to search for items by product codes, a price quotation system, and a purchase order feature that enables better control and tracking of order details.
Another plus is that the BigCommerce platform is scalable, which means TYGRIS won’t outgrow it. “We chose BigCommerce because it can scale at the same level and speed as we do,” Simpson says. “The platform gives us the scalability, flexibility and openness we need to be able to go in, make changes and implement them right at the moment we need to.” In addition, TYGRIs’ distributors have been able to leverage BigCommerce’s application programming interfaces (API) and Dropbox Business APIs to MyTYGRIS.com, middleware portal. “It allows customers to connect to it via an API and place orders or check stock levels and data which are pushed or pulled from the BigCommerce platform with MyTYGRIS.com acting as validation between all connected systems,” says Matt Sandham, director of Bspoq. BigCommerce’s headless solutions also provide TYGRIS with an easier way to update and personalize the content on the portal and the storefront using a unique control panel.
Looking ahead, TYGRIS is weighing expansion of its ecommerce business to the United States, as it is attracting interest from B2B buyers across the pond. The company is also undergoing a significant rebranding effort to reinforce its presence in the U.K. and build deeper connections with customers. Part of the rebranding will include the launch of short, entertaining, and culture-led videos on its website. When asked what advice he would give other B2B suppliers debating whether to launch an ecommerce site, Simpson says just do it. “If today, you haven’t done anything that scares you yet, then go online. Tomorrow you’ll be thankful for it,” Simpson says. “Launching an ecommerce site is a scary move. It feels like you are maybe compromising yourself by sharing too much information, but the fact is that everyone knows anyway. There is nothing to hide in the current age, with the internet being as strong as it is, so you might as well just be out there. The more people see you, the more your current and potential clients will notice and trust you. It is not a risk to do it; it’s a risk not too.”