Charles Bentley was a business of two halves. The Charles Bentley business manufactured products for supermarkets who white labelled them, while the ‘BuyDirect4U’ brand, established in 2005, sold direct to consumers via eBay and other online marketplaces.
Despite the success of this two-pronged approach, it was clear that its channel focus had started to present some issues. Online marketplaces were being infiltrated and dominated by large scale players from the East that could easily swallow up BuyDirect4U. Their white label partnerships were strong but left them prone to changes in buyer strategy.
The management team wanted to unify the two brands under Charles Bentley and sell direct to consumer but awareness of the brand amongst consumers wasn’t strong. There was also concern that the direct to consumer strategy may have a negative impact on their retail relationships, who could see them as a threat.
“We wanted to take control of our own destiny. That would mean merging BuyDirect4U with Charles Bentley, changing focus to distribute our own range of products and building the master brand. We knew what we wanted to do but not how to do it,” said Andrew Steel, Charles Bentley’s Ecommerce Director.