We are back today with Paul Dodd, co-founder of Huboo ecommerce fulfilment with a difference, to find out more about the business and their progress over the past 12 months.
We first interviewed Huboo in July 2019 and a lot has happened in the past 12 months so wanted to get an update from Paul on what the company are doing today:
Who are Huboo?
We’re a fulfilment business focused on supporting D2C retail businesses. We store and ship products on behalf of hundreds of online retailers, automatically connecting into their channels – such as Amazon, eBay, Shopify and Etsy – and enabling these businesses to use our software to manage their whole fulfilment business online. Right now we offer this service to any retailers shipping items in the UK, for international sellers, and for UK sellers looking to ship into the EU marketplace.
And what’s new over the last 12 months?
In April last year we closed our seed funding round and that was the starting point for a period of frenetic activity and growth. Myself and our co-founder Martin gave up our full time jobs to focus on Huboo. At that time we had two people and our annualised turnover was in the hundreds of thousands. Since then we’ve grown at an incredible pace. We’re now over a hundred people strong based across two UK sites, and we’ve just closed another round of funding (over £14M) that is enabling us to launch in Europe.
What can Huboo ecommerce fulfilment do for me as an ecommerce merchant?
If you’re a D2C business running your own warehouse or potentially using another fulfilment company, we can do two things to better support you:
Firstly, by moving your warehousing to us you’ll benefit from ‘rubber walls’, allowing you to expand and expand and expand. You don’t need to worry about space or getting another unit or recruiting more people. You can just focused on selling, while we’ll take care of all the inventory management across your sales channels, as well as the picking, packing, dispatching and updating of tracking numbers back into those channels.
Secondly, if you’re using another fulfilment centre, our revolutionary hub model can save you up to half of the costs you’re currently paying. Our hubs are essentially micro-warehouses designed to enable more efficient use of space and more efficient fulfilment practices, allowing you to save a lot of money and enjoy great, great service at the same time.
Can you explain more about how your hub model works and why I should be interested?
From a seller’s perspective, you’ll have your own micro-warehouse within Huboo and your own hub manager who will be your direct contact on an ongoing basis. If you’ve got a query on your products or they need to run something by you – for example, damage inspection on goods received from a supplier – you’re interacting with someone who already knows your business. It’s like your own warehouse manager.
The hub managers and micro-warehouses are plugged together so that as you scale your business, we scale accordingly. It’s a rubber wall approach where you can grow as much as you want without the same price implications that come from constantly having to move into bigger warehouses.
Price isn’t always the be-all-and-end-all, what else makes you different from your competitors?
Most traditional fulfilment companies rely upon a high level of automation, which in practice means strict requirements on how everything is handled and processed. We use more of a human-based model, where our software is used to support and empower our human teams, so we can be much more flexible in order to meet your exact needs.
A lot of the Huboo ecommerce fulfilment innovation is software driven. For example, if your customer says, “Can I upgrade this to first class because it needs to be here for my birthday?”, “Can I change the address on this?” or, “Can you hold this for a few days?” we have the software flexibility to meet these requests and the human expertise to know how to process them properly. We see ourselves as a tech company, first and foremost, and in terms of integrations, what we offer is a longer way ahead of most traditional fulfilment companies.
You’ve mentioned your latest funding round
Tell us about your expansion plans. I believe you’re opening a new warehouse in Germany in readiness for the UK’s split from the EU?
Yes, alongside the UK, Germany is the biggest ecommerce market in Europe. So it’s a logical place for us to expand into regardless of Brexit. This just makes it even more of a timely opportunity. Wherever you’re based, as a fulfilment provider it’s really important to have local products on the ground and ensure the final consumers can enjoy short lead times.
To be on the ground in Germany automatically gives us access to extra sales, and on top of that, it’s deal proof, meaning that whatever the eventual nature of the UK’s trading relationship with the EU, having stock in Germany is something we can help with. We are in the process of securing a warehouse and team in Germany to be operational by early 2021.
What are you doing to help retailers prepare for Q4 this year?
We have over 500 clients now across a wide variety of categories. Inevitably some will expand in Q4 while others may dip depending on what they sell. We always think in terms of capacity so, for example, if you’re a toy seller selling through us, it’s not a problem to ramp up your volumes. We can always handle it and we’re going continue to ship it out on the same day and continue to hold our couriers accountable for the best possible service levels. We’re really excited about the months ahead, although to be honest, every few months we double in size anyway, so in some respects Q4 will be no different.
Is it too late to get started with Huboo ecommerce fulfilment for Q4?
No, it’s not. You could theoretically log on through our website now and have products in our warehouse by tomorrow. That’s true even in November or December. Actually, during the lockdown we saw people setting up brand new businesses, such as shipping face masks and hand sanitisers, and within days they were with up and running and shipping with Huboo ecommerce fulfilment.
Where do I actually go to get started?
On Huboo.co.uk there’s a sign up button on the homepage. You can quickly sign up online and then one of our team will reach out to you to help you get on board and connect your channels. It’s all quite intuitive, and you can either add your own personal address that you send your stock to or you can give it to your factories to send your stock to Huboo.
Any questions? Call us on 01722 444 025.