Gloucester fulfilment company sees 150 per cent growth as online purchasing rockets

Photo shows: John Orchard of Alpha Response
John Orchard, director at Alpha Response 1

With online shopping as a proportion of all retail reaching a record high of 30.7 per cent last month, according to The Office for National Statistics (ONS) (although the total amount of goods sold fell by 18 per cent), all types of shop, other than those selling clothing or household goods, saw record amounts being spent with them online.

Gloucester print and mail firm Alpha Response has reported that its fulfilment subsidiary based in Bourton-on-the-Water, The Fulfilment Warehouse, has seen 150 per cent growth over the past quarter compared to last year, with 30,000 items picked and packed during the past six weeks alone.

Company director Craig Whiting said the rise in work was the result of some clients seeing their own businesses more than doubling since lockdown began as online purchasing replaced face-to-face trade.

“Keeping up with orders has been a challenge for sure,” said Craig, “especially while maintaining safe social distancing, supplying hand gels to staff, and all the other necessary measures to ensure we play our part in keeping the virus in check.

“However with more people deciding to do their shopping online it has been a great opportunity for our clients to grow their online businesses with us. And it’s been a good growth area for our business as well.”

But it’s not been quite as rosy for Alpha Response, which provides print, mail and direct marketing services for companies and organisations around the South West, which lost 20 per cent of turnover compared to this time last year.

“We’ve found our clients fall into two categories,” said fellow director John Orchard. “Some are finding the need to communicate more with their customers at home, and we have helped them with an integrated approach combining email and postal services.

“Other clients have cut back on marketing budgets and we look forward to being able to support them through better times as the economy recovers from this shock to the system.

“At the same time, we have also been asked by local authorities to produce for elderly and vulnerable residents, to inform them of council-run services which are available during this crisis.

“And we’ve worked with our travel company customers who need to send out details regarding rearranged trips or credits.