A recent article featured in Installer magazine questioned whether merchants are becoming a thing of the past. Arguing that heating and plumbing retailers have been slow to adapt to a changing online world, the article asserted that the traditional merchant is becoming defunct.
There’s no denying that today’s installers are demanding more from merchants. And that those merchants who don’t up their game are at risk of being left behind. However, despite the increasing availability and uptake of digital marketing channels and technologies, at Westco we’d argue that what happens in store remains crucial.
Today’s plumbers play a vital role when it comes to advising their customers on which products to buy. In fact, a recent survey found that 74% of customers will ask plumbers for advice when choosing a product, with 80% of plumbers reporting that customers like help with their interior design ideas.
With such demand on plumbers to research the market and find out about products, trends and compliance issues, merchants must do all they can to become an invaluable resource.
Helping our merchant customers to do just that, Westco will soon be launching a Merchant Portal. In addition to our ecommerce site – which lets our customers purchase Westco products online at their usual prices – the new Merchant Portal will provide literature, helpful order forms listing all the products in a range, product images, and other key information. Ultimately, we plan to develop the Merchant Portal to further help our customers to sell our products.
By making sure retailers are armed with the very latest product information and trends, our merchant customers can remove some of the burden from their customers; solidifying and securing their future as a viable source of information and support – not just products.
Taking this one step further, at Westco we have also created a range of handy guides to help our merchant customers with their sales and marketing activity. And, as part of this series, earlier this year we asked what merchants can do to better help plumbers, with some top-tips on how bricks and mortar merchants can evolve and thrive in our digital world.
Of course, we also supply merchants with a range of visual merchandising support. For example, when we recently relaunched the Westherm 5 TRV after being inundated with requests from merchants and installers alike, we offered a range of merchant posters and displays to help our customers boost sales.
At Westco we don’t believe that traditional merchants are becoming a thing of the past, but to thrive in 2017 and beyond, while what happens in store remains crucial, our offline presence no longer exists in isolation. To stay ahead in this game, it’s vital to become ‘multi-channel’.
For more marketing and sales advice, along with the latest product offers and updates, merchants and installers can follow Westco on Twitter @Westcoflowuk.