Expert for Website and Product Data Management Solutions

Andy Scothern

Managing Director


As an award-winning website entrepreneur, Andy has become one of the most authoritative digital commentators for the construction materials distribution industry with regular articles in the trade press as well as being a presenter at events run by the BMF, NMBS and UFEMAT. After designing the BMF’s CPD-approved course on digital transformation and trading online, Andy has delivered this to numerous merchants and suppliers over the past few years.

Having started his career as a joiner and builder, Andy has combined this valuable first-hand experience with working in technology, both in and out of the industry, to digitise numerous global brands. It was this rare combination of skills that led to his appointment as Director of Digital for Jewson before starting his own company, eCommonSense.

His global perspective of digitalisation across a range of sectors has helped Andy show the construction supply industry what ‘good’ looks like in the field of technology. Andy’s experience is something that will be ever more critical as merchants emerge into the post coronavirus economy.


eCommonSense provides award-winning eCommerce and product management software to the building merchant and materials supplier industry.

It is the only website solution tailored specifically for the industry that can translate the branch business model online with all the additional functionality you would expect to find in a physical branch and includes an integrated product database.

Currently using the platform are many of the most innovative and well-respected merchants such as Haldane Fisher, Lords, JT Dove, TJ O’Mahoney, Collier & Catchpole, Interline, Kellaway, BPS and many more.

The merchant-specific functionality adds value for merchants, suppliers and customers by improving efficiency, saving time and increasing sales.



Twitter: @e_CommonSense

eCommonSense Comment: Q2 2020

Andy Scothern, Managing Director eCommonSense is BMBI’s Expert for                Website & Product Data Management Solutions.

News that the economy plunged 20% between April and June was met with dismay in the building supplies sector. But recessions can bring opportunities and builders’ merchants showing the ability to re-engineer their business models are reasons to be hopeful.

Online sales during lockdown went through the roof as branches were forced to close. Merchants with advanced eCommerce systems benefited from a much-needed cash injection during a difficult period. This trend continues as branches re-open.

From our own aggregated client data, we see that 90% of transactions were from new retail customers buying products at non-discounted prices. More than 40% of those transactions were outside branch opening times.

Merchants now need to find a new balance between bricks-and-mortar and eCommerce with a new business model that integrates the two to ensure consistency, integrating brand, service levels and back-office operations.

The figures suggest that many will stick with the new habit of buying online, and merchants will need to invest in an eCommerce service if they’re not to miss out. eCommerce is not just a new website, it’s a new service, so bolting it on to the traditional model doesn’t deliver optimum results.

The bigger picture is the building materials supply chain. An industry report (The Farmer Review) says construction must ‘modernise or die’ and the acceleration of digital is critical to survival. With the ending of the furlough scheme the building supplies sector will look for efficiencies in the way merchants market, sell and buy products.

Digital innovation and the exchange of high quality, consistent data between suppliers and merchants promises to be a game-changer that makes stock levels and delivery times visible and provides easy access to commercial deal trade prices.

The world will not go back to the way it was. Industries will need to ‘modernise or die’ and the building supplies sector needs to be at the forefront of the revolution if it is to lead the country out of recession.

Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.