In 2008, Cousins UK sold only two percent of its clock, watch and jewellery supplies online. This year, 90 percent of all sales have been made via the company’s website, the company’s owner Anthony Cousins reveals.
The logistical effort to make this change is mind-boggling. Over 130,000 items from dozens of brands are now offered by Cousins, ranging from watch batteries to movements to tools. All of those items need to be catalogued, priced and presented both online and in the 1,100 page mega catalogue that the company publishes every year.
The task would be completely impossible were it not for the automation of the process that Anthony has driven through. “Our 2014 main catalogue is the culmination of three years solid work developing a programme that, at any time, at the push of a button can produce a printed catalogue direct from our database, effectively a catalogue printed version of our website,” Anthony describes.
This obsession for detail isn’t Anthony’s only crusade. He is also a self-appointed front man for a campaign to keep companies like Swatch Group maintaining open distribution of its components to independent watch workshops. “I will do as much as I can and fight as hard as I can to allow the consumer to have a genuine choice of where they can take their watch for a service. Unrestricted parts supply equals more independent watch repairers, which equals more consumer choice. It is that simple,” he states.
Home life, with four rapidly growing up children, is less simple, but Anthony speaks of the family with enormous pride. His eldest, Sam (24), is already working in the family business; Luke (23) is a budding actor; Zoe (18) is in her first year of university and Beth (17) is training at a prestigious hair dressing salon. Organisation, you sense, is critical to Anthony’s business and home life.