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.
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*.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Decorating fashions run in cycles and mouldings are definitely ‘back in’ - making their mark on the interior design world.
When customers enter your store it is important to grab their attention, which can go a long way to inducing sales.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the building sector firmly into growth, the outlook is bright, but success in flooring relies on staying in tune with changing markets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Many decorating jobs fail because of poor background preparation, which can be put down to either sub-standard workmanship or inferior products.
For many field sales representatives in the construction sector, CRM has traditionally been perceived as a burden.
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*.
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.
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?
The Home Quality Mark is a national standard that offers a quality marking for new houses. It takes into account impartial information from independent experts about the expected running costs, health and well-being effects, and the environmental impact of new homes.
Installers and builders are always looking at ways to save their pennies and will often shop around for the best deal. So how do merchants increase customer engagement to keep their customers coming back?
According to recent statistics, a third of homeowners improve their garden every year by landscaping, adding fencing, or decking*, thus providing merchants with the perfect opportunity to increase sales.
At this time of year, many consumers are investing in new and expensive gardening furniture and equipment, which they will usually store in their sheds or garages when not in use.
Choosing the right vehicle for your business can be as simple as which van has the most comfortable seat, the most suitable payload, or the right load length. But, when trying to work out the best deal financially for your business, it can become a little more complex.
In the world of dynamic technologies, we have seen the emergence of smart devices and the benefits they can bring. In the lighting industry, the advent of smart lighting technology has similarly brought about convenience and energy saving in many homes.
According to a recent survey, 79%* of UK homeowners plan to spend at least the same or more on home improvements over the next year, compared with last year. This provides the perfect opportunity for merchants to increase their share of the home improvement market.
Home security products offer huge potential for add-on sales, making branches more profitable, and increasing customer satisfaction.
We all know that time is money and that, more often than not, your time could be better spent elsewhere. Often business owners believe it’s just as easy to complete tasks themselves because they know the process and trust their own actions. So how much time is spent running a fleet and what's the actual cost to businesses?
Richard Burbidge is urging merchants to promote safe stairs and balustrades in accordance with Part K of the Building Regulations.
Getting the message out there about new product lines or promotions can seem like a hard task for merchants, but harnessing the power of social media can make a huge difference between success and failure.
Every project is different, so when installers enter a builders’ merchant, they have a host of considerations in mind for each individual job they are working on. Fortunately, there are products out there that can offer what installers and their customers need, but sometimes finding the one that ticks all the boxes can be a challenge.
According to new research, confidence in undertaking home improvement tasks is lowest among young people.
Choosing an appropriate vehicle acquisition method can seem daunting for accountants and business owners. It’s important to get an expert in the vehicle industry to give you a balanced and informed opinion when looking at different options, so that you can assess which will benefit your business model the most.
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