Interview: Glen Stocco of marketplace Plane & Simple
How did Plane & Simple come about?
Prior to Plane & Simple, I was part of a Scottish based tech startup that was essentially an off license on-demand delivery service. I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Scottish Government to join other entrepreneurial leaders on an intensive business programme in Boston. This is where conversations began around the potential for a marketplace in the building materials space.
In June 2021, as part of the Donaldson Group, we officially launched Plane & Simple as a specialist online marketplace for building products.
What does Plane & Simple offer?
We connect DIYers with trusted local independent merchants, shining a light on great local merchants who might not be on a customer’s radar. By entering a postcode, customers are paired with a selection of trusted merchant partners in their area, and a full range of building supplies and products are delivered directly to their door.
For our merchants, the marketplace increases their reach and visibility, provides them with access to a brand new customer base, is easy to set up, comes with reporting, and most importantly adds a new revenue stream. The platform also allows our merchant partners to control the areas that they are selling to with full control over delivery areas.
For consumers, Plane & Simple is a convenient, cost-effective way to shop. Cost is a big issue for everyone right now so consumers really like that they can compare prices and delivery options on the platform. Plus, they are supporting local businesses who sell trade quality products, we like to say that we’re helping DIYers to ‘shop where the builders shop’.
It’s a challenging time for young businesses. How’s it all going?
Our growth has been phenomenal in the time we’ve been trading. So far, we have launched across four major areas including Edinburgh, Glasgow, the southwest in Devon & Cornwall, and the southeast in Surrey, Sussex and Kent.
Online marketplaces are performing well. Shoppers are five times more likely to look for a product in a marketplace than on a brand’s own website. There are predictions that by 2024, 40 percent of global e-commerce sales will be generated through online marketplaces. This represents a doubling of the market share within only a few years.
Plus, we’re seeing an acceleration in verticalised marketplaces and the DIY space is one of the fastest growing categories around.
What are some of the challenges?
It’s important to offer value and a fantastic user experience to both customers and our merchant partners. We want to make the journey as simple and seamless as possible. This means listening to customers and our merchant partners and constantly looking at how to further develop the user experience and platform.
For a sizable portion of our merchant partners, the marketplace offering is a new way of working, particularly in the building materials sector. Some merchants are hesitant to embrace marketplaces due to concerns about competition (giants like Amazon for example), fees and even loss of control. We’re careful to take the time to educate potential partners about reach, convenience and the value to be gained by partnering with a specialist marketplace like Plane & Simple who understands the intricacies of their industry.
What can we expect from your panel session at Retail Marketplace Strategy 2023?
Through integrating a marketplace into an overall omnichannel strategy, businesses can provide customers with a consistent, convenient shopping experience, regardless of the channel they use.
At the event I will discuss the option of a specialist marketplace versus a general marketplace. I will also share some insights into what kinds of questions you should be asking yourself if you’re looking to potentially join a marketplace.
Don’t miss out: Get your ticket to The Retail Marketplace Strategy 2023 event now.