How they're growing their private-label office supply brand on Amazon Business.
Franklin Creative Solutions, a quickly growing office supply company, expanded online sales of its private-label brand Blue Summit Supplies using Amazon Business, boosting revenue and gaining new domestic and global customers.
Owen Franklin has an analytical mind and an ambitious spirit. As a thermal engineer, Franklin was trained to tinker with systems until they became as efficient as possible. He saw a need for an office supply business that operated more effectively than what the market was currently delivering, so he took a leap and started Franklin Creative as a side business in 2016.
“I wanted a little more control of my own destiny and to know that my output has a direct impact on my customers by providing outstanding products and services,” says Franklin.
Based in Huntsville, Alabama, Franklin Creative provides its customers with a wide range of Blue Summit Supplies branded products, such as folders and envelopes, at the lowest possible price. It sells online through its own website, through other consumer marketplaces, on Amazon.com and now on Amazon Business.
Owen Franklin made a deliberate decision to sell to both retail and business customers, but realized that his company had greater revenue potential with business customers. When he learned about Amazon Business in late 2016, he signed up immediately.
“Order volumes are certainly higher for business customers, and I suspect conversion rates are, too,” says Franklin. “I saw selling on Amazon Business as a huge opportunity to access new customers and grow within its marketplace, so of course I utilized it.”
Since Franklin Creative was already a Professional Seller on Amazon, creating an Amazon Business Seller account was seamless. “Even though Amazon Business is designed for B2B customers, it’s very similar to using Amazon.com,” he says. “They both have similar interfaces, so it was easy to make the switch.”
Franklin had done his research; he knew that fulfillment was an enormous undertaking for a company of any size.
As a startup, Franklin Creative wasn’t in a position to invest in the significant financial and operational resources needed to develop its own fulfillment infrastructure. Instead, Franklin leveraged Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), Amazon’s advanced fulfillment network.
When the company began selling on Amazon Business, it continued to use FBA to meet the needs of its business customers. “For our company, it’s more efficient to get products to our customers in the most affordable manner possible by using Fulfillment by Amazon,” says Franklin.
With FBA, Franklin Creative’s products were stored, picked, packed and shipped directly to customers from Amazon fulfillment centres, which also provided customer service for the products as needed.
“With FBA, we have access to one of the best fulfillment networks on the planet,” says Franklin.
“It was access to that enormous business customer base and a scalable fulfillment network that allowed our growth to happen.”
— Owen Franklin, CEO, Franklin Creative
In the office products industry, products have such little differentiation that sharp pricing and quality service make all the difference. “There’s not a lot of competitive advantage in an envelope,” says Franklin.
But by selling on Amazon Business, Franklin Creative is able to control its own pricing to make its products as competitive as possible, and can offer bulk discounts to Amazon Business customers.
“What we offer is efficient, outstanding service and cost-effective products to add value for customers,” Franklin says. “And we have the operational efficiency and flexibility to provide discounts to Amazon Business customers.”
With industry-leading fulfillment options and access to more domestic and international customers, Franklin Creative has grown its revenue significantly. Today Amazon Business makes up 28% of the company’s total Amazon revenue. To sustain its B2B growth, Franklin Creative increased headcount from one employee to nine within the last year.
“We’ve been able to grow as a business much, much faster than we would have without Amazon Business,” says Franklin.
Franklin notes that for a company that is barely two years old, it’s important to look at month-over-month growth since business changes so rapidly. The company’s line of Blue Summit Supplies branded goods experienced a month-over-month average growth from 2017 to 2018 of 445%. “The tremendous growth of Franklin Creative wouldn’t have been possible without Amazon and Amazon Business,” he says. “It was access to that enormous business customer base and a scalable fulfillment network that allowed our growth to happen.”
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