The East Devon tool specialist has recently been listed in the top 50 ecommerce and cross-channel retailers, as detailed in the Internet Retailing UK (IRUK) Top 500 report 2019.
The company was first listed in the 2017 report, when it appeared in the top 250 group. Then in 2018 the company climbed up a further two groupings, securing a place in the top 100. Now in the top 50, Axminster is in the same group as household names, such as Asda and ASOS.
The IRUK research team has looked in depth at the UK’s leading ecommerce and cross-channel retailers, comparing and contrasting the capabilities of these top-level traders to see where and how the best retailers excel.
Ranking is based on six performance measurements: strategy and innovation, the customer, operations and logistics, merchandising, brand engagement and mobile and cross-channel.
A further performance dimension was also applied: footprint. This covers UK retail turnover, ecommerce penetration, web traffic and number of UK stores.
Axminster attributes the rise to a committed web, social media, digital and content creative team. Dedicated customer service and logistics teams are strong, with the company maintaining 9.7 out of 10 on Trustpilot for another year in a row.
With its eight stores across the UK, face-to-face retailing is also a key factor in the company’s success.
Managing director Alan Styles commented: “For the past year, we’ve been working with a revised pricing policy and have successfully refocused on our own brands through relevant media and technology. We also have excellent levels of service, which are verified through Trustpilot, and this is currently scoring us at 97% positive. We have a number of different types of customer, ranging from business to trade, to the hobby sector, so we‘ve continued to focus on relevant content for our customers to increase engagement by providing information and videos on our website to help customers find solutions for their businesses or hobbies.
“Equally, quality remains very important. We are confident we have quality products and our product expertise is communicated through our trained sales team via webchat, by phone, face-to-face in our stores or through a field based team. With the combination of web, social media and retail outlets, our brand has remained strong despite ongoing uncertainty. I think it is a truly excellent achievement to have moved up from the top 100 to the top 50 within the past 12 months.”
The impressive ranking on the IRUK list follows news that Axminster has launched a new own-brand range of craft machines. The new range replaces Axminster’s Hobby Series, which the company felt was being copied by retailers who are not tool and machinery specialists.
Therefore, the company explains its new range – which includes lathes, bandsaws, scroll saws, a table saw, sanders and grinders - is aimed at, “the discerning home user and those dedicated, creative souls who literally spend hours trying to perfect their craft”. The aim, said Axminster, was to create affordable products, with enhanced features that are not normally found on machines at this level.
As an added incentive for customers, Axminster is offering a free three-hour introduction to woodturning at any of its stores when they buy a new craft lathe. Alternatively, purchasers can upgrade to receive 25% discount off a two-day course at either Axminster or Sittingbourne Skill Centre.
The award-winning retailer has also supported the products with a three-year warranty covering parts and labour.