The Raptor Marketplace is like nothing else in the packaging industry. It’s a service, not just a supply chain. Customers and manufacturers can finally develop transparent relationships without relying on traditional distributors. We speak with George Dempsey, CEO of Raptor Packaging, who has used his decades of experience in the industry to create the marketplace to transform the packaging industry.
Dempsey International quickly became a leader in the rigid packaging industry. Why did you make the decision to branch out and create the Raptor Packaging marketplace?
After working in the packaging industry for decades with TricorBraun, and now with over 30 years of experience, I gained a deep understanding of the inner workings of the packaging industry. I started to think about what works well and what doesn’t make sense in the industry—there is a lot that we do just because it’s the way it’s always been done.
Raptor Packaging is a breakthrough in the architecture of our industry. There is no question that e-commerce is the future, but B2B e-commerce has a lot of unique obstacles.
With new online marketplace software becoming available and easier to use than ever, I really thought hard about how we can use this to change the industry. If there is anything I understand most, it is the uniquely different needs of a packaging distribution customer.
The distributor customer’s needs haven’t been at the forefront of many conversations. This made me realize there is a huge need for a manufacturer-direct e-commerce marketplace. Traditional manufacturer e-commerce strategies have been largely unsuccessful because they don’t address the core reason a distributor customer buys from a distributor. Raptor Packaging was launched as my answer to the problem I saw. It’s a convenient, cost-effective alternative to traditional distribution.
How is Raptor Packaging different from other marketplaces?
The Raptor Packaging Marketplace is the solution for both the manufacturers and the buyers.
We are not middlemen. We work instead as partners with our network of manufacturers creating a win-win environment for both parties that translates into measurable savings and value. We are simply the transactional platform.
Many customers would prefer to buy direct instead of through distribution but they lack the tools to buy product from multiple manufacturer and stay streamlined with their supply chain
The reason most don’t go direct is because it’s a huge hassle. Many need a lid from one manufacturer and a bottle from another. It’s not easy for them to juggle the purchasing of multiple SKUs from numerous factories. Add in the complexity e-commerce brings when they have to go to 10 different websites. The inability of manufacturers to get measurable results from their e-commerce solution is because the target customer group needs don’t match their strategy. They end up settling with a traditional brick and mortar distribution company instead paying huge premiums.
The digital interface that we’ve created really mimics the internal way traditional distribution firms work. My whole goal from the very beginning was to solve this problem of how the end customer can interface with multiple manufacturers and purchase multiple SKUs as seamlessly as possible. That is the key to Raptor. We developed a solution from both a communication standpoint and from an order management standpoint that gives the seller and buyer complete transparency and speed, and puts them in direct communication in an ecosystem that is easy and efficient.
Why do packaging manufacturers choose to sell their packaging solutions on Raptor Packaging instead of another marketplace?
Raptor gives access to about 30,000 distributor customers. Many manufacturers are not equipped to meet the needs of the customers like we illustrated before- multiple SKUs from multiple manufacturers. Many manufacturers have looked to e-commerce to get a better reach into the market, but the facts are, buyers just won’t buy through multiple sites. The evidence is overwhelming.
With Traditional Distribution Channels, many manufacturers don’t get the opportunity to be front and center. They are hidden behind the distributor. We put them in a brand forward situation where they can control their own destiny.
50% of the $5 billion distribution market ships direct from the manufacturer. In other words, manufacturers are doing all the work, as distributors tack on extra margin while providing no real value. We enable manufacturers to take back market share, and control the narrative around their brand—all while increasing profits.
Because the distributor margin is removed from the equation, customers save an average of 10-15% as opposed to buying through distribution. Manufacturers enjoy higher margins while customers save money at the same time.
Our manufacturers are able to continually update their inventories and grow their presence on the Raptor Marketplace. We are continually enhancing the features in the platform to make the transaction process easy to track. One click repeat ordering makes it easier for customers to return to the same manufacturer.
Another perk for manufacturers is that we handle all of the front side transactions; we take on all the risks. We collect the money from the customer and then the system seamlessly transmits the payment to the manufacturer.
We are only here to supply the platform to the manufacturers and maintain a partnership. This way, the manufacturer is finally given the credit for what they’re doing in terms of marketing and brand awareness.
Manufacturers who join the marketplace now are enjoying no transaction fees for 2021. This way they can test out our system and see how well it works in getting their products into the hands of buyers.
Can customers source custom products from the Raptor Marketplace?
Yes they can. Customers can contact vendors on the marketplace easily, there is even an Instant Messaging system in place. This is where they can open the path towards a customized solution for their brand.
Once something is in place, manufacturers can make products viewable to only select users. Then customers can continue using the Raptor Marketplace to make repeat orders for customized products, while still purchasing from other vendors at the same time.
How does Raptor Packaging save brands time and money while they are searching for packaging solutions?
One of the biggest advantages for buyers is that they are shown every packaging option with its price. Sometimes traditional distributors will have multiple suitable products but they only show the customer the products that give them the highest profit margins. The Raptor Marketplace is fully transparent so there isn’t any manipulation.
The portals are user friendly and simple. The customer can effortlessly buy products from dozens of different manufacturers through one website. SKUs from multiple manufacturers are put into one shopping cart with one total price.
In their profile, customers can view open order reports with tracking, download it, and catalog inbound shipments. This gives them complete visibility and transparency.
The unexpected events of 2020 have changed the packaging industry. How has Raptor responded to the pandemic and the increased shortages in packaging?
The pandemic stressed a lot of supply chains and we are still feeling it. If consumers have noticed shortages and price increases in grocery stores, the brands trying to find packaging have felt it even harder. So many things have been harder to find, from aluminum to PET and polypropylene.
This gave a much needed push to Raptor Packaging. We accelerated our development and now are exploding with onboarding because as capacities ease, manufacturers are looking for new outlets and to reach more customers to fill up those machines. We believe Raptor is the tool of the future—through network marketing, we can reach more people faster and that means sales!
What can we expect from Raptor Packaging in the future?
We will continue to add new features and improvements to our platform to make our direct to consumer type of approach with the manufacturers even easier. The way we buy packaging hasn’t been fully incorporated into e-commerce like most other industries. But this is changing and I think Raptor is the platform to lead that transition.
We are in talks with hundreds of brands that will be joining the marketplace in the near future. As we bring more brands and more products, the marketplace will continue to grow.
I view this platform as multi-dimensional. Raptor Distribution is part of the Raptor Packaging platform, which includes items that Dempsey International produces. One day, they will likely be even more integrated. The ecosystem we have created has room for the distribution community. In fact, we think it will add value and increase sales for early adopters as the more traditional channel begins to give way to technology.
We don’t just connect buyers and manufacturers, Raptor and Dempsey also work on innovative new packaging solutions. I can’t give much away, but we have a packaging solution in development that’s never been seen before. It will be like nothing else on the market in the cleaning category. We are very excited and can’t wait to share it.
It will take some time for Raptor to reach its full potential but I’m really excited about the tools we’re putting in the hands of the manufacturers. Now that manufacturers can easily reach the more than 30,000 distribution customers in the country, supplying will never be the same.
What do manufacturers need to do to participate?
Those interested can reach out and email us at Nate Calvert (Ncalvert@raptorpackaging.com), who oversees the marketplace, and schedule a demo. Our team has set up a very straightforward onboarding process for manufacturers.
After the introductory call we will personally assist with storefront creation, product listings, and bringing a manufacturer’s presence live and transactional. We really don’t want to add any workload to our manufacturers, especially now, so our team will help with anything a manufacturer needs.
As an additional incentive, we are not charging any transaction fees for all of 2021, to help manufacturers integrate to the Raptor Marketplace.
I enjoy getting to know our manufacturers better, and almost always join the onboarding calls. Raptor is an exciting platform and I can’t wait to see how it can further enhance the manufacturer/customer relationship.