From archaic wholesalers to a modern, 
thriving, savvy ecommerce retail business

Home Life Direct are manufacturers and designers of conservatory and garden furniture

home life direct main magento

Key facts

10

employees

£1m 

annual turnover in 2014

25%

growth rate

Magento

web store

Being able to streamline our business and plan properly means we’ve seen a 25% increase in turnover. As a seasonal business, forecasting is really important for us and a fantastic feature of Brightpearl.
— Edward Sloane, Managing Director

The background

Established in 1989, Home Life Direct have 25 years’ experience in retail. Historically known as being a family run wholesale and manufacturing business of conservatory and garden furniture. Primarily selling B2B to the likes of John Lewis, Dobbies and Wyevale Garden Centres, more recently they’ve changed their business model to sell B2C.

This change in direction has seen Home Life Direct expand into a successful and savvy multichannel ecommerce business. With a large showroom at the Barton Marina shopping village, a distribution centre based in Burton-upon-Trent in the Midlands and two factories in Indonesia. They also run three websites all of which are integrated with Brightpearl; homelifedirect.co.uk which is their flagship site, tubchairs.com and gardenbenches.com both which are product specific. We caught up with Edward Sloane the Managing Director at Home Life Direct to tell us more about their story.

The ecommerce challenge

After making the decision to sell direct to consumers Home Life Direct originally implemented ChannelAdvisor, but switched over to Brightpearl after finding that ChannelAdvisor wasn’t quite right for them. “We started our new business model with ChannelAdvisor. It was ok to begin with but we decided to move to Brightpearl as it offers us so much more functionality.”

Home Life Direct trade on multiple channels, so Edward was looking for a way he could get all of his sales data into one system. “One of our largest sales channels is telephone orders – it’s great being able to input our phone orders and take payment straightaway with Brightpearl. We found the ordering process was a bit long-winded with ChannelAdvisor, it just took forever!”

Key challenges:

  • Connecting all of our sales channels together
  • Allocating stock effectively and efficiently
  • Streamlining the business to be more efficient

The biggest challenge for Home Life Direct was growing and streamlining the business at the same time. Margins can sometimes be seen as taboo subject for some, but for Home Life Direct they are always trying to improve their processes to gain efficiency. Edwards comments; “We’d much rather be working on ways to serve our customers better than being consumed and buried in monotonous admin.”

The growth solution

Since moving to Brightpearl, Home Life Direct have found that they’ve increase their turnover and grown the business by being able to dedicate more time and focus on areas of the business which need more TLC. In the move over to Brightpearl Home Life Direct moved from a bespoke ecommerce platform to Magento. “We decided to build our flagship site on Magento to integrate directly with Brightpearl’s pre-built app. Magento has been a dream, it was so easy to make everything work and get going!”

Home Life Direct are all about being savvy. Making sure they make the most out of their time and resources. Having used Sage to do their accounting previously they find utilising Brightpearl’s real-time accounting beneficial for keeping on top of their accounts and cash-flow. “The accounting package Brightpearl offers is refreshing. The fact we can process our sales, picking list, dispatch list and invoices all within Brightpearl keeps everything tidy all in one place.”

The future

Home Life Direct are planning a new initiative next year to be able to offer their customers in the Midlands next day delivery. “We plan to focus a lot of our efforts on customer service; we love making our customers happy.”

Lastly, Edward sums up with; “Brightpearl is an ever-evolving community and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.”