In the process of reworking their website, Albion Detection Systems director Mark Slatter tells Dan Laver how they created not just an online home for their own services and products, but a ‘gateway to reliable and trusted suppliers’.

While improving and enhancing the Albion Detection Systems website, director Mark Slatter felt he had the opportunity to offer recommendations and referrals to their own suppliers who he trusted and wanted to support.

Now live, albion-detection.co.uk/shop is not just a home for their own services and products, but a gateway to reliable and trusted suppliers.

Mark is now looking forward to opening the site up to other trades and industries and below reveals how it will be a useful resource to reinforce relationships, as well as support and improve local supply chains.

What makes Albion Detection Systems new ecommerce site different?

On the face of it, it shouldn’t feel different at all. It’s our website with our branding. We design, supply, and maintain fire and security so the look and feel are still very much Albion.

But I’ve always encouraged our clients to use businesses I know and trust, so I wanted to offer them the opportunity to have a presence – firstly, to help them, but also to improve the customer experience. I didn’t want to just nudge them towards a different website and needed something more intuitive than just links.

When you use our ecommerce shop, you’ll find our suppliers right there, with essentially no difference in the experience of buying from them and buying from us. I’m more confident when I know my clients are using businesses I know and trust to do a great job – it’s simply easier to order the products that way. We don’t want a monopoly on the customer, but if they feel like they want to buy from our trusted contacts, they have an easy route to do so.

It sounds like supporting your supply chain was important to you. What other benefits are there for the businesses involved?

It lets us offer a wholesale experience without having to create additional premises or warehousing. The supplier is still dispatching the products direct to the client – which is overall a greener solution, especially in an industry like ours, rather than having products shipped to and from warehouses. As an SME, I’m not sure we could have supported a process like that. We’re not Amazon, and I didn’t want to be a logistics business!

The other traders are not random, we don’t list anyone who wants to promote their products. These are relevant products our clients want and need, and they can order them through us, which is a great USP.

The idea is circular – one of our suppliers is looking at featuring a small selection of our products. It helps protect your own relationships, too, as the customer remains with you throughout, so you don’t need to send them elsewhere when they require a product you don’t currently have available.

What are the future opportunities for the concept?

We are using it for fire and security, but it lends itself to any number of trades and services. We are in the process of launching a white label product to assist other trades in developing and facilitating ecommerce options.

People’s natures have changed throughout the pandemic, and it shouldn’t just be the larger brands and businesses who benefit. Customers should be able to buy locally – but business should have the ability to sell globally.