Cartridge World online sales and deliveries peak, agency model rollout continues

By Sarah Stowe | 10 Aug 2020 View comments

A mini-concession concept unveiled by office supply chain Cartridge World at the beginning of the year is rolling out successfully across the country as the business reports a peak in online sales and deliveries.

The retailer has been one of the lucky businesses to benefit from the change in work and shopping patterns through the pandemic.

David Smith, Cartridge World master franchisee for Queensland, tells Inside Franchise Business Executive the retail chain has had a ‘bonanza’ with online sales and deliveries. 

“Before this started we all thought Covid would be doom,” he says.

The reality proved otherwise, as work-from-home rules saw employees setting up a mirror image of their office which required printers and copiers that they didn’t transport from the workplace.

“A good example in March was that online ordering multiplied by five, that’s big dollars. In-store traffic has slowed but enquiries and deliveries have gone through the roof,” he explains. “Last time this happened was with the 2007-8 stimulus package.”

Cartridge World online sales and deliveries peak

And in cases where staff have returned to work, the lack of forward ordering over the past few months has seen a flurry of orders come through.

While Smith acknowledges this bonanza has a time limit, the figures are still looking good for the business, he says.

“The big bubble will burst, it will calm down. This year to last year though, even taking out Covid, this year we will be ahead of the curve.”

The pandemic crisis has also proved to be a shortcut in gaining new corporate and healthcare customers who would otherwise take hours of hard work to bring on board.

“We’ve seen different customers coming through including major federal businesses and hospitals. Other suppliers have been struggling to get stock. We collate orders as other chains do, we may order 500, so manufacturers like that.”

Cartridge World has joined a long list of retailers swift to broaden their stock to provide essential supplies in the Covid crisis. 

Customers can now order hand sanitisers and automatic dispensers in the expanded range, which had already moved into stationery and office furniture.

Another customer demand is web cams, Smith says.

“We’ve always seen our biggest competitor as Officeworks. Now we are an Officeworks – we have our own brand of products, as well as branded.”

A much bigger switch-up is the new retail model Cartridge World is rolling out.

“The new agency system targets newsagencies. They are in good locations and people are comfortable going in,” says Smith. “We provide on consignment so the outlay to the agency is almost zero.”

Already there are about 25 agency outlets open across New South Wales and Queensland. 

Territories are based on regional newspaper delivery zones, Smith reveals. “Customers don’t travel more than 5km,” he says.

Profits are shared by the franchisee and the newsagency. The franchisee effectively becomes a business manager and can manage multiple agency licenses.

The concession model was tried before, Smith says, but it has now been simplified.

It’s one of two growth strategies the business has initiated to develop its footprint even further across Australia.

Cartridge World is also looking to convert existing businesses to its brand.

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