BuildDirect.com is North America’s largest online destination for heavy weight building materials, with primary sales in flooring products. The company also sells decking, siding, roofing, kitchen, bath and landscaping materials. The flooring market in the U.S. alone is US $17.1 billion annually and the broader building products market is $492 billion.
This massive market was previously untapped for e-commerce due to a high degree of fragmentation and an inefficient supply chain that brought costs up for the end user, as well as the problem of shipping heavy, difficult to handle goods cost-effectively (over 150 lbs).
Solving Complexities in a Massive Market
BuildDirect has simplified the supply chain and created an entirely new ecosystem for the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of heavy weight building materials. The company built a sophisticated technology platform that helps suppliers optimize their operations and gain region-specific product performance data directly from superior web analytics (and therefore accurately predict which products will sell), and shipping companies compete in real-time to offer end customers the best heavy freight prices.
All this combined allows BuildDirect to provide the highest quality products, along with up to 80% cost savings to their customers – professional trades, subcontractors and “DIY” do-it-yourself homeowners – quickly and efficiently.
Growth in Difficult Times
The success of BuildDirect is the culmination of 12 years of perfecting this new ecosystem that allowed the company to not only survive, but also grow during the US housing crisis that started in 2006. The company is performing strongly: BuildDirect recorded 8-figure revenues and posted a 35% year on year growth in sales from 2010 to 2011; is already on track for 70% growth in 2012, and projects well over 100% growth in 2013.
According to 2010 US Census Retail Trade data, building materials currently have the lowest e-commerce penetration rate, with only 0.2% of total retail sales happening online. BuildDirect sees this as a significant opportunity to pioneer online adoption as a pure play e-commerce provider – one focusing solely on the heavy building materials industry, and selling exclusively online.
The size of the market and the increased confidence of customers to order online, coupled with the fact that building materials as an online sector is just in its infancy, creates a major opportunity for BuildDirect to become a billion dollar company in just a few short years.
Defensible Market Leading Position
BuildDirect has made it very hard for competitors to enter the market. The company is not an aggregator; BuildDirect has spent years creating a completely disruptive data-driven technology platform for the manufacturing and sale of building materials. The barriers to entry would take any competitor years and significant expertise to achieve. These barriers include:
- A proprietary, predictive analytics engine that provides building material suppliers with a 10x improvement in operations and marketing efficiency over existing channels
- A critical mass of users for collecting accurate demand data – 4.8 million visitors to the BuildDirect site in 2011
- Ten years of search engine optimization on their site, which positively impacts organic searches on Google for the 2400 market-leading products BuildDirect represents
- Regional shippers integrated into BuildDirect’s real-time bidding system for the lowest possible delivery costs to customers
- All resulting in customer evangelists and a customer segment with a repeat rate as high as 70%
Built strongly on positive relationships and creating a win-win environment for customers and suppliers, BuildDirect has evolved into the single most cost-efficient distribution channel for heavy building supplies, conducting business with hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers.
BuildDirect head office is located in Vancouver, B.C. More information about the company can be found at www.builddirect.com
Wendy Kubota, ABC
 Catalina Research and US Census Bureau, Lowe’s 10K, 2010
 Forrester Research Web-Influenced Retail Sales Forecast, 12/09 (US) and US Census Data
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Wendy Kubota, ABC