Bethany Hall, Onduline's sales manager, explains why good Point of Sale is such an important tool for today’s merchants and how the leading supplier of lightweight roofing sheets is helping with its latest PoS innovation.
The pandemic has certainly had some unexpected consequences for the merchant market. With national lockdowns affording us more time to tackle those all-important home improvement jobs we might not have otherwise gotten round to, it was no surprise to see an unprecedented surge in DIY and trade sales.
Even more recently with the easing of restrictions, the shift towards permanent homeworking has promoted growth as people seek to make their home - and now place of work - more comfortable.
Equally positive has been the shift in end-user demand. Having been classed as one of the few ‘essentials’ by the Government, builders’ merchants have become a mainstay for homeowners who called upon them for all-important DIY supplies throughout the pandemic.
So, what does this all mean for the merchant? Of course, that is not to say that the last 18 months hasn’t been without its challenges, particularly with product supply challenges, but still the Covid-19 recovery window offers a prime opportunity to accelerate new growth.
As a result, it’s important for merchants to take stock and refine their offering in line with the evolving market.
While it may sound obvious, a solid marketing strategy and good promotional mix should be one of the key areas of focus. After all, even if you have the most extensive portfolio and best offers, it is of no use if nobody knows about it.
Key to this is the considered use of Point of Sale. For today’s time poor customers who value ease and efficiency, taking the time to scroll through a product brochure or technical data sheet is often no longer an option. As such, PoS is becoming an increasingly effective way for builders’ merchants to inform customers about new product developments and their according benefits.
In terms of choosing the most effective PoS displays, the importance of a strong visual appeal cannot be underestimated. Shoppers are visual creatures so a well thought out, attractive design is essential in order to persuade and attract attention at a glance.
Thereon in, it’s about clearly communicating all of the key product information – the materials, features, benefits and any tangible USPs. Generally, merchants have a small captive window to entice their customer, so it’s important that the PoS they choose to display conveys all the headlines and makes an impact.
A good example of an effective PoS available today can be found with Onduline’s new EASYLINE PoS displays.
Purposely designed to provide an easy upsell opportunity for busy merchants, the new displays combine striking, modern design with an incredibly compact, freestanding form enabling merchants to showcase the full range of EASYLINE’s popular roofing sheets, along with accessories and fixings, on the shop floor.
As we all know, information is key for merchant customers. With this in mind, the display includes a QR code that, when scanned, leads to a simple-to-follow installation video. Onduline’s website also has comprehensive fixing leaflets and product sheets available to download.
To unlock the full opportunity, however, PoS should be supported with sound, informed consultancy. While the internet has its role, it is still some way short of being able to build a genuine rapport with customers. It is the sheer level of product and industry knowledge that helps merchants to stand out, and it is also what keeps customers coming back.
With this in mind, Onduline offers various EASYLINE product sheets and technical information to support inhouse product training available to trade partners. In our experience, when done well PoS – or the ‘silent salesman’ as its often referred to – can open up a new dialogue as customers turn to their merchant with additional queries – and that extra knowledge can often close the deal.
Ahead of the annual shift of DIY focus from outdoor to indoor work, the result is a quick-win opportunity to entice impulse purchases amongst customers who may be already preparing their external spaces, such as gardens and sheds, for the colder months.
While it’s not without its challenges, it’s most certainly a time of great opportunity for the sector. To unlock this, however, builders’ merchants must remain progressive, continuing to review their marketing strategies and promotions to create stand out. As an easy way to make a big impact on profits, embracing new PoS is one area to take stock of.