Parkers of BoltonOutdoor and cycle retailer sees double-digit growth on marketplaces

Company Overview

Parkers of Bolton is an outdoor and cycle retailer in the north of England. Founded more than 90 years ago as an outdoor supplier, the company also has 25 years of experience in the cycle trade. It sells new cycles and accessories, as well as a range of outdoor-pursuit products through eBay and Amazon.

The company stocks a huge range of well-known cycle brands, including Viking, Raleigh, Diamondback, Haro, Cuda and Dahon. In addition to its array of cycling products, Parkers of Bolton also sells radio-controlled (RC) vehicles, planes and boats.

The Situation

Parkers of Bolton initially started selling on eBay by manually creating listings and auctioning these products on the marketplace. This was a labour-intensive process for the team, but it was manageable as numbers were small. As the company experienced significant growth and demand from eBay customers, however, the process became harder to manage.

“In the past, we had challenges whereby if we had notified eBay we had ten products, we’d need to ring-fence that stock to ensure we could fulfil any potential orders,” explained Paul Walsh, e-commerce manager at Parkers of Bolton. “Manual inventory management began to cause a strain on our resources, so we needed a solution that would scale and increase sales without requiring more dedicated internal resources.”

Parkers of Bolton recognised the revenue opportunities offered by online marketplaces but encountered difficulties selling on Amazon. “In our experience, a lot of marketplaces just didn’t function as smoothly as eBay, limiting the channels we could sell across and therefore our sales opportunities,” said Walsh.

The Solution

Parkers of Bolton chose to implement ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces, an effective tool for retailers with a multichannel sales strategy. Marketplaces delivers product data for each marketplace, helping products stand out from competitors’ and automates the management of online selling.

Additionally, for the past six months, ChannelAdvisor has been managing Parkers of Bolton’s Google Product Listing Ads (PLAs), advertising on stock-driven levels. In other words, if a product is out of stock, it’s not advertised on Google, saving the company’s marketing budget.

“ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces has changed the way we manage our online business.Through our use of the platform, we have improved our eBay sales, expanded to Amazon and have full control of our stock from one central hub.” said Walsh. “We now have excellent visibility into our performance and because all of our orders are grouped in one place, we are able to quickly identify our stock levels and top-performing products.”

“The unallocated listings allow us to post ten items to eBay but not have to ring-fence that stock. If we end up selling these products on another channel, it instantly updates,” Walsh said. “It provides flexibility from one platform, making it easy to use so we can focus our attention on other aspects of the business, such as customer service.”

The Results

Since implementation, Parkers of Bolton has increased sales on eBay and Amazon by 86%. The company has seen the biggest sales through Amazon, followed by eBay. Through the success experienced since implementing ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces, Parkers of Bolton is now looking to expand into other marketplaces that ChannelAdvisor supports.

“With ChannelAdvisor constantly increasing the number of marketplaces they support as well as the improved complexity of their reporting system, we are now looking to expand into selling through other marketplaces,” said Walsh. “Transitioning from an old system to a new one can seem overwhelming, but ChannelAdvisor supported us through the process. The move is easier than we had originally thought, and we couldn’t do what we do now without ChannelAdvisor.”