Essve, the Swedish fasteners and fixings company, used the International Hardware Fair in Cologne as a platform for its international launch — with the UK deemed a priority market. PBM reports.
After almost 50 years in business and now billed as the Nordic market leader in fastenings, Essve explains that it took “a giant leap forward” five years ago with the launch of the ESSBOX system — an integrated fastening system developed in close cooperation with professional tradesmen and designed to make their everyday working life more efficient and enabling them to “do a better job in a shorter time”.
Close collaboration with stockists is also said to be a key reason behind the company’s strong growth, aiming to serve as a true partner to its retailers and supporting the development of their own businesses. Now, following its appearance in Cologne, it is looking to take its philosophy to the global stage.
Overall, the company says it offers a “wide assortment” of around 5,000 fastening products, including everything from traditional nails and screws to innovative solutions for heavy-duty fastening in wood, concrete and steel in addition to nail guns and sealants/adhesives.
It boasts a long tradition of developing innovative new products for trade professionals and the numbers seem to back up its claims, as International Sales Director Johan Cederstrand attests: “Our strength is our constant focus on the end-user, their experience and challenges. Today, 500 million Essve screws are sold every year.”
A commitment to innovation extended to the development of the ESSBOX System — an integrated fastening system, developed with and for the modern trade professional. The system helps the user to carry around a full day’s worth of fasteners in an organised way and all they have to do is just ‘load, work and reload’ the lightweight-yet-sturdy case.
Since its release in 2012, over 260,000 of the green ESSBOX cases have been sold and Johan said: “There is nothing like it on the market. With the launch of ESSBOX System, things really exploded — we went from being part of the crowd to become the market leader within fastening solutions in the Nordics.”
During the last five years, Essve’s turnover has increased by 17% each year and it attributes its partnership approach with merchants as one of the key reasons. It is committed to supporting stockists with high sales and marketing support to ensure that stockists can grow their fastening business — indeed, the dedicated ‘retailer’ section of its website confidently asserts that its “ready-to-implement in-store concept (has) a proven track record of delivering double-digit growth.”
In addition to the benefits for trade users, the company says that its ESSBOX system also acts as a “self-propelled sales machine” for stockists, generating a steady flow of sales with “little effort from the retailer”. Based on sales data from Essve’s home market during 2016, an ESSBOX case in the field generates average fastener sales of €1,000 per year — and this is because it is “not the one-off sale of a case that generate the main revenue, but the regular repurchases once the user becomes hooked on the many benefits of the ESSBOX system”.
Merchandising support is designed to be easy to implement, with ‘fully scalable’ in-store solutions from single displays to several aisles, including effective point-of-sale material and a space management programme “proven to increase sales”.
Equally, customers coming in to replenish their cases is said to make the most of a merchant’s sales staff’s time — well-organised displays and informative labels on the products and shelves will help most customers make purchase decisions themselves, freeing up staff to attend to other customers.
In tandem with its international launch in Cologne, Essve also debuted what it describes as “the world’s best wood screw”. The ESSDRIVE is the result of four years of research and development, which included the work of some of Sweden’s leading engineers and developers from Chalmers University of Technology, to create a product that reduces the compressive force needed by more than 50%.
The company says that, compared to standard wood screws, this means roughly a two kilo lower load per screw for users. Thanks to the design of the tip and thread, the manufacturer states that maximum starting power is achieved at minimal pressure, making the screw feel extremely “fast-starting”. These benefits are said to be especially noticeable in uncomfortable working positions, where it is more difficult to put pressure on the screwdriver.
Christofer Lindberg, Innovations and Product Manager, said: “Through a specially designed measurement robot developed especially for this project, we have tested thousands of different screws and have made 1.6 million measurements. Today, we probably have more raw data about how wood screws work than any other company (and) we now know exactly why a specific screw design is better than another.”
(Article first featured in the May issue of Professional Builders Merchant).