An online builders’ merchant says its sharp increase in revenue could indicate a move towards customers sourcing materials online, rather than from bricks and mortar merchants.

Construction Materials Online reported sales of £38.6 million in 2018, a 46% growth. The business has doubled in size since 2016.

CEO Andy Dunkley said this might be part of a wider trend of consumers preferring to buy products online, because “it is easy to find a wide range of products. Not only that, people can compare brands, features and prices.

“It saves them time and ultimately money, so it's not a surprising trend”.

Dunkley added that despite the products being purchased online rather than face to face, customer service is still important. He said: "Another secret to our success is that we firmly believe in speaking to our customers on the phone to support them with queries about orders, which is massively different to most online retailers.

“Our customer service team takes on average 4,000 calls each week and makes sure deliveries get to customers on time.”

And the value of data is not to be underestimated. Dunkley said CMO monitors thousands of Google adverts and hundreds of Search Engine Optimisation blogs each week with its in-house ecommerce team. This means that a product which is quite unique to the trade, and unlikely to be stocked in a traditional merchant, can be easily found at CMO.