Blu Bottle has been a distributor for nearly a decade.

The company got its start in 2012 selling bottled drinking water for a manufacturer. Almost ten years later, Blu Bottle Marketing has built a wide distribution network across Malaysia and expanded its product range. 

How Blu Bottle Uses Dropee to Trade Wholesale Online

Today, Blu Bottle exports and distributes fast-moving consumer goods like bottled water, beverages, personal care and sanitisers. Its distribution network spans from modern businesses like pharmacies and supermarkets to traditional businesses like sundry shops.

Businesses that stand the test of time like Blu Bottle don’t get to where they are without strong core values and a stable relationship with its customer base. Dropee was recently joined by Bryant, the managing director at Blu Bottle Marketing to discuss how his company became a distributing powerhouse in Malaysia.

Creating Value for Customers

Before starting Blu Bottle, Bryant had been the account manager for a bottled water manufacturer. Coming from a client-facing position, Bryant places a lot of importance on creating value for his customers and recognises it as the reason for his company’s rapid growth.

“Your business is successful when people, be it your clients, through word-of-mouth or even online – they know: ‘this shop, this person is reputable’.”

This means being transparent when trading, including updating the customers on any setbacks Blu Bottle is facing and how they are going to rectify the problem. Bryant believes that communicating with customers well throughout the sales journey – even as issues arise –  is the key to delivering a valuable experience.

Bryant even credits Blu Bottle’s strong relationship with its customers for expanding its distribution network. Happy customers have not only recommended Blu Bottle to potential new clients, they also introduced the distributor to other reputable suppliers. This was how Blu Bottle expanded its supplier and customer base rapidly. 

“When you start as an SME, you don’t have a big chunk of money to entice people. Your attitude – how you handle clients and suppliers – is your only asset.”

Pivoting the Business During MCO

Like all businesses in MCO, Blu Bottle grappled with new challenges unlike any faced before. Logistical disruption, social distancing measures and a shift in consumer demand meant that Blu Bottle had to quickly pivot the business to prevent losses.

Bryant recalled: “One of the first things we did was look at trends to see what was sellable at the time.” 

A bulk of Blu Bottle’s core product – bottled water – were distributed to restaurants and cafes. But during MCO, people were not allowed to dine-in at eateries, which means that the sales channel was lost. 

Pivoting quickly, Blu Bottle revamped its catalogue to include in-demand products like sanitisers and disinfectants, which brought in the sales the company needed.

The MCO also forced Blu Bottle to move online – a new experience for a business that had operated mostly offline since its inception. But as salespeople couldn’t meet clients in person or come into the office, Blu Bottle had to bring its sales force online. 

Looking back at that critical time, Bryant believes that going online was a major factor for Blu Bottle’s survival in the pandemic.

Enriching the Online Wholesale Experience

How Blu Bottle Uses Dropee to Trade Wholesale Online
Blu Bottle Marketing on Dropee Marketplace

One of the main reasons businesses have been hesitant to move online is the worry that you can’t provide your customers with the same personalised experience that you can offline. And Blu Bottle was no different. 

Until it discovered Dropee, the company felt there was a lack of customisability and personalisation in other marketplaces that were geared more towards consumers. 

As a B2B business, Blu Bottle needed features like custom pricing, a variety of fulfilment options, flexible delivery and real-time order tracking to keep both suppliers and customers in the loop. And Dropee’s Marketplace ticks all these boxes.

“There is a lot of value in terms of what we can offer to customers – even delivery is customisable down to the precise date and time.”

The lack of human touch in online transactions is another reason B2B sellers opted to trade offline. For Bryant, this was the game-changer that set Dropee apart from other online marketplaces.

“It can be tedious and frustrating to get information on a missing or delayed order when you trade online. But Dropee’s customer service supports both buyers and suppliers well in any situation.”

Strengthening the Distribution Network

Bryant believes that for a business to succeed: “You need to have a strong distribution network. If you start a business competing on price alone, it’s just a matter of time before you’re left with no margin.”

Blu Bottle not only takes care of its customers, but also nurtures and supports other suppliers to strengthen the distribution network and create longevity for the B2B segment. With Dropee, the company was able to diversify its network both offline and online, fulfilling its goal of strengthening the B2B distribution network for all businesses.

Categories: Case Study


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