Best Digital Tool or Software, Hattons Model Railways – Trunk Service
Entering the Northern Digital Awards and being able to showcase our work among our industry peers has been a really exciting process. It’s a real honour to have been judged and shortlisted by an esteemed panel of industry experts.
We’re Hattons Model Railways, a friendly and knowledgeable team serving customers across the globe. We’re proud to be a British company, with our roots in the world-famous city of Liverpool. Our customers are fans of Britain’s historic railways and other notable vehicles. They’re hobbyists of all levels, from newcomers to industry experts.
Norman Hatton started from his small shop in Liverpool just after the Second World War. Today, we’re a leading independent retailer with tens of thousands of products available to purchase at any one time.
Our daily listings of pre-owned models are highly anticipated by our customers, who want the opportunity to secure something before someone else buys it, but not have to pay multiple postage fees each time they purchase.
Conversations with customers revealed their frustration at “being forced” to spend money every day on postage, as well as having to be at home to receive multiple parcels – who needs expensive consultants when you can just listen to your customers! Taking onboard their comments, we’ve developed a service where our customers can pay for an item now, take it off sale and put it into a virtual ‘Trunk’, building their collection until they’re ready to ship everything and pay only one postage fee. Customers can now secure hot and rare pre-owned items as soon as they become available. Yes, we’re delighting our customers by NOT despatching their orders!
Our customers may affectionately picture the Trunk as a special container in our warehouse with their things in, but it is in fact a sophisticated piece of software that removes the item from available stock and allocates it to that customer until they’re ready to ship all their Trunk items in one go.
We’ve taken the Trunk service to another level, having moved it from stand-alone virtual storage, to being part of our core operating model – optimising on how it can be used in all manner of customer scenarios – not just pre-owned listings. It’s been a massive success, has improved customer satisfaction and gives environmental benefits too.
Created entirely in-house, the software was developed by our own IT team and the roll out, marketing and customer adoption by key members of the team, so we haven’t had to go out and pay someone. This is typical of how we work at Hattons – utilising and recognising our own talent, then passing these savings onto our customers.
The Trunk service started as a solution to a barrier to sales, but has evolved to where it is today – used by our internal teams in the background to find solutions to customer issues. For example, if a customer forgets to add something to an order, we can put it in the Trunk and make the adjustments. This is regularly saving items being shipped across the globe only to be returned which can be costly to us, to the customer and of course the environment.
Environmental benefit – a unique approach
We’ve added a new dimension to reducing our environmental impact with regards to shipping. Most businesses just look at how they can reduce physical packaging on individual shipments – with our Trunk service, we’ve found an innovative platform that turns that solution on its head – we’re delighting our customers and reducing our carbon footprint by not despatching their orders! Who else does that?
What we’re doing is unique – we can’t see anyone else in our industry doing a similar thing or using a single tool at the heart of their business model to such a wide benefit, both to ourselves and to the customer. It sets us apart from the others and we’re delighted that this has been recognised by the Northern Digital Awards judging panel.