Like many during the Covid-19 pandemic, Alex Betteridge was made redundant in 2020. An airline pilot by profession, Alex redeployed his skills and worked within a local restaurant in Tunbridge Wells. Getting to know numerous restauranteurs and retailers during his time there, it became apparent to him that the demand for delivery had soared, and many businesses were reliant on it for business survival.
Online marketplaces have been criticised a lot recently and rightly so. They often charge overinflated commission rates (up to 35% of every order!) that squeeze business margins, yet don't offer the service to match. In an attempt to offset the high fees, retailers are often forced to increase their online menu prices resulting in the end consumer paying more for each item. Even worse, some small independent retailers just simply cannot afford to join mainstream platforms.
Digging into this in more detail with his peers, he realised that people were fed up with large, established delivery companies. So, Alex teamed up with a fellow airline pilot, Tom, and the bumblebee brand was born.
Our aim is to support and enrich the communities in which we operate, and we are currently working with Nourish Community Food Bank who provide short-term emergency food support to local people in crisis in Tunbridge Wells. The brand name (bumblebee) was chosen as bees symbolise community and hard work. The vision was to have drivers (also known as 'bees') buzzing around town delivering from people's favourite retailers.
With the demise of our high streets, the desire to #supportlocal has never been stronger. Shopping local demonstrates that we all care about the community in which we live. It puts money back into the community gives the local economy a chance to thrive.
Whilst a lot of retailers scramble to create their own ordering platforms, online marketplaces are here to stay, and done well can provide great benefits. The modern consumer demands more. They want a single app where they can order from a vast array of retailers on-demand and receive super-fast delivery. So, if marketplaces are here to stay, why not make them fair?
Our vision was to create a community-focused marketplace where local retailers gain the exposure from an online platform but pay sustainable fees that typically don't cost more than using their own delivery team or managing their own e-commerce platform. We wanted to focus on building a platform that featured only the best independent retailers, not the big chains. We don't want to be the biggest, we want to be the best! We want our retailers, customers and drivers to all feel good about their bumblebee experience. Our customers can get great products delivered (sometimes exclusive to the bumblebee platform) and feel good about helping local businesses thrive and survive. Our retailers are able to take more sales, protect more of their income, have a dedicated account manager to support them and have the backing of a social media and marketing team working hard to promote their products and services. Our drivers feel valued, have a secured earning fee per delivery and are supported by local management. We love feedback so always encourage people to get in touch and let us know how we can do better.
Underpinned by our values, the aim is to build a community-focused platform with sustainable and transparent fees, that gives independent businesses the deserved exposure.
Customer-focused: we pride ourselves on first class customer service.
Respect: we treat others, how we would want to be treated ourselves. Whether that’s our customers, retailers or our drivers.
Integrity: we do the right thing even when nobody is looking. We believe that honesty is always the best policy.