Q&A with Liam Haggar-Pietrzak, Buyaparcel

Liam Haggar-Pietrzak is co-founder and Commercial Director of an online venture that became Buyaparcel.com which has grown to become the £22M revenue company it is today. As director and co-owner, Liam is involved in ongoing projects to expand Buyaparcel to new heights with more products, new markets and an ever stronger brand and you Liam will be speaking alongside ManoMano at ChannelX World on the 13th of October.

Located at the London Novotel West, ChannelX World will bring together marketplace, social and messaging retailing for the first time. Throughout the day you’ll meet a diverse range of businesses operating in different sectors and trading across an array of channels from marketplaces to social media and beyond. To hear from Paul, book your conference ticket here.

Q&A with Liam Haggar-Pietrzak

Tell us about Buyaparcel

Our roots go way back to the 1960’s and with the name Godfreys. Godfreys originated in Enfield as a plumbing and heating merchant, with some of the Godfreys family moving to Lowestoft, Suffolk and in the late 70s and doing a similar thing from the east coast. The business grew and it became large enough to acquire a home improvement retail store in 1991. It is from these traditional bricks and mortar businesses that the foundations and initial supplier connections of the Buyaparcel.com online store were established.

Originally trading under the Godfreys Online name in the early 2000’s until 2007 when the trading name of Buyaparcel.com was born. We have continued to supply both trade and retail customers via our online Buyaparcel.com ecommerce store, our retail setting in Lowestoft, and via the marketplaces; eBay, ManoMano and Amazon.

As an independent online business we have a good position in the market due to our strong brand partnerships and marketplace relationships. The partnerships forged with suppliers and marketplaces has given us industry and consumer metrics that we can adapt to rapidly and have seen some steady growth throughout our journey as a result of this formula.

What are the key challenges you face in your industry sector, and what are your highest performing trading days across the year?

One of our key trading categories is tools, in particular power tools. We have access to data showing that the overall market is down circa 20-25% on last year. We are finding this with several categories in the home improvement sector. However, the diverse nature of the inventory at Buyaparcel and strong marketplace relationships allows us to trade strongly through such drops in the market.

In terms of peak trading Q4 is always the strongest for us historically and I don’t expect that to change this year despite the economic climate. Black Friday and Cyber Monday being the obviously stand outs.

When and why did you join ManoMano?

Buyaparcel’s initial engagement with ManoMano was back in 2017. The approach came to me directly after they secured a large investment because of the substantial growth they had seen in the French market. This made them the largest on-line retailer in home improvement and garden products in France at that time.  

It wasn’t until the October of 2020 that we adopted ManoMano as part of our omnichannel marketing strategy, after they continued the success in the UK that they already had established in France. We have traded on eBay since our early days and much later on with Amazon and was happy to partner with a new marketplace if we could see the potential it could bring.  The home improvement and garden vertical are a big part of our business, and we could see the key differences ManoMano offered to our already established Marketplaces.

Has ManoMano helped Buyaparcel grow in new markets since joining?

We have found that certain product lines seem to sell well on ManoMano that don’t necessarily sell on other online markets. The more selective range of product coming from a more exclusive group of sellers lends itself to higher quality listings and less duplication, increasing conversion.

In regard to international sales, we have engaged with ManoMano on a pilot scheme to helps us to increase our reach into Europe. We are only at the beginning of this process so stay tuned for some progress on that initiative in the coming months. Pre-brexit, Buyaparcel B2C overseas sales were in excess of 2m Euro. We continue to work on multiple fronts to put us back on a strong footing in the EU where we know our products have a strong appeal.

Has ManoMano helped you overcome any challenges faced within the industry?

There are a few different initiatives with ManoMano which have helped the current trading position. We have engaged in the ManoMano multi-seller promotions which have included a number of “destocking and clearance” events which has allowed us to clear some overstock and end of season product. We have also touched on the international problems we have experienced since leaving the EU. We have had a few false starts trying to turn on our EU sales via key marketplace partners, but ManoMano seem best placed to overcome the challenges we face, helped by the strength of ManoMano France.

How has ManoManoPro performed so far from a Buyaparcel perspective?

Buyaparcel is a one-stop shop for the Professional tradesman. We can supply Tools and materials for many different trades including plumbers, carpenters, electricians, builders and many more. Very few marketplaces have a dedicated place for the Trade, where pricing and delivery times are tailored especially for them. ManoManoPro has the potential to change that. It is still early days, but we are happy with what trade we are doing currently and excited about the future opportunities this exclusive marketplace will offer.

You are presenting alongside ManoMano at ChannelX World in October, what can retailers expect to learn?

The journey of the company has been one of change, challenge, and creativity. In telling our story, I some of the struggles and successes that our form our history will be familiar to other retailers and our approach to continue to find new customers through ManoMano will provide some inspiration. We hope to share some detail about our journey with ManoMano, what makes the platform different from other marketplaces and how easy it is to work alongside a the ManoMano team on integration, promotion, and customer service.

What are you most looking forward to seeing at the Channel X event?

Buyaparcel are a long-standing, experienced marketplace trader however as the ManoMano partnership has proven over the last 2 years there is always room for another! Key to the success of an emerging marketplace in our experience is engagement with the seller and having a clear strategy to differentiate themselves to the other established marketplaces.

I am hoping to get insight into the new and up and coming Marketplaces in the UK and how they can bring incremental business to Buyaparcel, and how we can do the same for them. I believe with over 17 years’ experience trading online and working closely with marketplaces, we have the knowledge and expertise to maximise the potential for our key brand partners and own brand products.

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