Specification-led marketing and product data specialist, SpecifiedBy, has reported substantial quarterly growth in its online marketplace as COVID-19 accelerates the need for building product manufacturers to embrace digital transformation.
The Newcastle-headquartered company, whose clients include Dyson, VELUX, Tarmac and SIG, has seen a 125% increase in manufacturers signing up to its platform between April and June 2020, compared to the same period last year. During this time, traffic to the platform has also increased by 60% as architects and specifiers are among the professions that have moved more of their work online during the pandemic.
SpecifiedBy was launched in 2014 as an early digital platform for architect and design professionals looking to find and research products for any building, construction or refurb project. While it has enjoyed steady growth as the first-mover in industry-wide digital transformation over the last few years, the pandemic has acted to accelerate the move online not just for architects and specifiers but also for product manufacturers.
Rockwool, Franklite, Kingspan and ARDEX are just some of the manufacturers that have joined SpecifiedBy in recent months. ARDEX signed up to the service during the height of the pandemic when architects and specifiers were required to work from home. Mark Goater, product marketing manager, comments: “COVID-19 has been a testing time for manufacturers. The traditional ways of marketing and selling products, for example, became near impossible. We quickly recognised we needed to be more agile in the current climate which meant further digitising our sales approach. SpecifiedBy offered the perfect platform to ensure that our online presence would put us right in front of our customer base in a way that works for both the specifier and manufacturer. Over time we anticipate that we’ll be listing our full product portfolio on the platform as well as promoting our CPD programme, reaching more architects and specifiers than ever before.”
SpecifiedBy now has the largest registered network of architects, specifiers and product manufacturers in the UK. Its growing digital platform hosts nearly 100,000 building products and has been designed to connect its 2,500 manufacturers with over 70,000 architects and specifiers looking for products each month.
Darren Lester, founder and CEO at SpecifiedBy, says: “I started out as a specifier looking for building products and felt that the industry really lacked a central, digital source that could connect architects and specifiers with the product manufacturers. It was slow to change and lacked the digital leaders that we were seeing elsewhere, so SpecifiedBy decided to take that lead early on. While we’ve seen steady growth on the platform to become the largest registered network in the UK, this has been dramatically accelerated due to the impact of the pandemic.”
He continued: “COVID-19 has turned the building product industry on its head for good, accelerating the need for manufacturers to rethink the way they sell to architects and specifiers. This appetite for technology to transform the buying and selling process has had a significant impact on our business, providing a tipping point to our growth.
“I’ve no doubt that COVID-19 will change our industry for the better in the long-term. We will see manufacturers take a digital-first approach because, quite frankly, they can’t afford not to.”
The sales manager of FunderMax, which has been a customer of SpecifiedBy since July, agrees. James Dawson says: “We’re seeing the influence of the Google generation, where architects and specifiers expect to be able to easily find products and instantly access all the information they need, including clear technical details. SpecifiedBy provides the platform for our products to readily plug into specification projects, in a way that works for specifiers.”