on 11 February, 2016

Entering the home automation market is becoming almost unavoidable. Global giants, such as Samsung, Sony and Apple, have all been developing new smart devices and consumer awareness is increasing rapidly.

on 11 February, 2016

For every builder’s merchant, product knowledge is key to understanding customers’ needs and requirements for their next project.

on 26 January, 2016

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” Though I can’t claim credit for these words (that goes to Richard Branson), he might as well have taken his words from the Alsford Timber rulebook.

on 26 January, 2016

In last year's Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne declared: “We choose to build the homes that people can buy,” and so at the start of 2016, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the government would directly commission thousands of new affordable homes on publicly owned land.

on 22 January, 2016

An Englishman’s home is still his castle…except an Englishman now prefers to pay a professional to do their home improvements for them.

on 19 January, 2016

The New Year means taking a fresh view of your business. Whether you exceeded expectations in 2015 or had a disappointing year, there is always room for improvement in terms of footfall, trade and turnover.

on 12 January, 2016

Home security products offer huge potential for merchants, but with so many different options available, the surest way of making the most of security sales in 2016 is by stocking a varied and strategic product mix.

on 05 January, 2016

After the devastating floods seen across the north of England, the government needs to make changes in the way we build our homes and properties, according to Andy Williamson.

on 18 December, 2015

It’s nearly a new year, which will bring with it, new opportunities for merchants to boost sales. But how can you lock in those last minute December deals?

on 17 December, 2015

With lots of different product categories on offer, it can be difficult for merchants to know what to focus on in 2016. Offering a bespoke range of timber products helps to provide trade professionals with a one-stop-shop to help save time and money, so they can get everything they need from one shop – your shop.

on 17 December, 2015

More needs to be done to improve flood defences in light of the recent flooding, according to Michael White, business development director of Alumasc Water Management Solutions

on 14 December, 2015

The arrival of the cold weather can often mean unhealthy skin can develop and for those whose hands are their most important tool, this isn’t an option. Cracked, chapped and dry skin can result in serious and painful problems developing that could limit simple tasks that you carry out on a day-to-day basis if it’s left untreated. 

on 08 December, 2015

It was recently reported that as customers switch from visiting the high street to staying at home and shopping online, the warehouses that businesses use to store stock and products are now increasingly in demand, driving the amount of logistics space available to its lowest level since records began.

on 02 December, 2015

Many businesses have explored the option of adding live chat support to their websites, but have been put off by a number of factors be it technical, financial or purely a lack of man-power.

on 26 November, 2015

The government has pledged to invest £100bn in the UK’s infrastructure over the next five years. However, following the recent Spending Review announcement, how sustainable is this investment given Chancellor George Osborne’s need to consolidate £20bn of debt in his ‘fixing the economy’ strategy?

on 20 November, 2015

Not too long ago when you wanted to buy a computer you would pop down to your local PC World. As you walked into the store you would be hit with too much choice and not enough knowledge to make a good decision. Enter the sales advisor who has been floating around since the moment you entered, knowing that you would try and make sense of the CPU, RAM and GB data in front of you and quickly seek some help.

on 16 November, 2015

The home trend sweeping Britain of improving rather than moving provides a key opportunity for merchants, as statistics show homeowners are happy to spend over £5,500 on refurbishment projects to make their home look nicer*.

on 10 November, 2015

Now the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, it’s no surprise that security is a key focus for merchants and the industry, as conscious consumers look to invest in the latest measures for the winter season.

on 03 November, 2015

Most retailers brace themselves for a busy period in the build-up to Christmas. They’ll hire temporary staff, increase stock orders and maybe even extend their opening hours.

on 02 November, 2015

Households and businesses need secure UK gas supplies, but relying on international markets is risky and expensive – especially compared to using better energy efficiency to plug the systemic gas leak in our homes.

on 22 October, 2015

At Dunlop we are proud to offer a comprehensive support team assisting builders’ merchants across the UK, but it is crucial that merchants understand what services and support their suppliers can offer them which, if utilised correctly, can secure significant increases in sales.

on 20 October, 2015

The sealants and adhesives industry is a mature one and generally follows the economy in its highs and lows. As a result, the industry has faced more challenging trading conditions in recent years, but the positive news is that the outlook appears bright and sustained growth is expected over the coming year.

on 16 October, 2015

New companies that embrace technology are able to deploy new products and services very fast. If Amazon was to focus its efforts on selling construction materials it would be able to get ‘in front’ of your current customers very quickly. However, having said that you still have a big unfair advantage.

on 30 September, 2015

Decorating fashions run in cycles and mouldings are definitely ‘back in’ - making their mark on the interior design world.

on 28 September, 2015

When customers enter your store it is important to grab their attention, which can go a long way to inducing sales.

on 24 September, 2015

Jo-Anna Francis explains that any business can easily get caught up in the day-to-day activities of doing the 'job’ and run out of time to focus on the bigger picture – the continual marketing of the company, the ultimate way to ensure that the business continues to thrive.

on 24 September, 2015

Steve Sasson is the man that pitched an idea to a group of Kodak executives about a camera that required no film back in 1975. So why did a company with 83 years in the 'photo taking' space at that point (along with a 90% market share in photographic film) have to file for chapter 11 Bankruptcy in 2012? And more importantly why should you care?

on 10 September, 2015

The internet is filled with awareness campaigns but few businesses are using these opportunities successfully. Supporting awareness schemes is a smart and effective way to generate awareness of a particular issue and subsequently increase sales during key periods. With the rise of online media, sharing and creating such campaigns has become increasingly easier.

on 04 September, 2015

According to statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), falls from height were the most common cause of fatalities, accounting for 29% of fatal injuries to workers in 2013 to 2014.

on 26 August, 2015

Blockwork for both floors and walls can, literally, be the foundation and structural heart of any building project. The untrained eye may see a block as purely a structural component but its ability to provide unique combinations of thermal and acoustic performance means they are much more.

on 25 August, 2015

Shelf wobblers, pull-up stands, flyers and posters – there is a huge variety of point of sale (POS) material out there in the merchant sector from manufacturers and suppliers of all shapes and sizes, all with a different purpose.

on 06 August, 2015

According to last year’s NHBC Annual New Home Statistics Review, over 145,000 new homes were registered in 2014, which was a 9% increase on 2013. With confidence in the newbuild market set to continue throughout 2015, it’s worth exploring how merchants can tap into this growth area to maximise profits.

on 06 August, 2015

With the building sector firmly into growth, the outlook is bright, but success in flooring relies on staying in tune with changing markets.

on 30 July, 2015

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is no longer considered as the up and coming force in construction and building design; it is now the present and the future.

on 17 July, 2015

I've spent the past 17 years dealing with supply chains in a variety of roles and coming into International Timber and the builders’ merchant arena has been a real eye-opener.

on 15 July, 2015

The wider energy efficiency industry can only be confused by the recent actions of the government, particularly given that its removal of the 2016 zero carbon homes target might have zero effect on the ‘productivity’ it hopes to see resulting from its latest plan.

on 09 July, 2015

It is quite usual to find different forms of construction taking place nearly every day of your life. Certain construction may include transport networks, commercial and residential buildings, structural repairs and development among many others. It is important to look at how the evolution of construction techniques would lay the platform for better development in the future.

on 02 July, 2015

Selecting the right grout for a tiling project is as important as selecting the tile itself. With tile grouts, it’s not only ‘good looks’ that matter – it is substance.

on 30 June, 2015

According to research from IT firm Gartner, we are just seven years away from a mature smart home market, where the average affluent family will have more than 500 connected devices in their home.

on 11 June, 2015

The Occupational Road Safety Alliance claims that business drivers are 25-30% more likely to have a collision than private drivers. This significant increase in risk means that if you’re an employer or business owner with a fleet, you need to be aware of where responsibilities fall in relation to business driver incidents on the road in order to protect your job, your business and your employees.

on 11 June, 2015

In my previous two blogs, I looked at how mobile CRM technology is helping field sales teams to become more efficient and productive, improve sales, and nurture relationships with clients.

on 08 June, 2015

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the UK's longstanding reduced 5% rate of VAT on energy-saving products was in breach of EU laws. John Sinfield, Knauf Insulation's managing director – Northern Europe, responds.

on 02 June, 2015

Uncoupling matting, or anti-fracture membranes as they are sometimes known, are being seen more and more in builders' merchants across the country – but what are they used for, and why are they so popular?

on 22 May, 2015

In the first of this series of blogs, I discussed some of the issues that builders’ merchants have faced in terms of the field sales force mobility. A lack of mobile CRM tools have left sales people with poor resources to help them drive sales, and sales managers with a lack of insight into the activity of their field sales representatives.

on 15 May, 2015

When Scotland voted to stay with the UK last September, the result not only bolstered a sense of national unity but also gave an additional boost to the national currency, with the pound soaring to its highest levels since 2008.

on 11 May, 2015

Many decorating jobs fail because of poor background preparation, which can be put down to either sub-standard workmanship or inferior products.

on 06 May, 2015

For many field sales representatives in the construction sector, CRM has traditionally been perceived as a burden.

on 30 April, 2015

According to a recent survey, homeowners plan to spend £24.3bn on their properties this year. With house prices continuing to rise during 2015, home improvement projects are high on the agenda for many consumers, with aesthetic alterations (47%) and redecorating rooms (46%) coming in as the two top priorities for homeowners this year*.

on 23 April, 2015

The spring bank holiday is the perfect time for consumers to think about home improvement projects, but with statistics showing a whopping £727m spent on bodged DIY jobs each year - it’s really time they called in the professionals.

on 13 April, 2015

When the weather warms up and the days get longer, we all want to shake off the winter blues by stepping outside – and what better way to appreciate the great outdoors than with a beautifully tiled patio?

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