Landscaping products provide one of the best opportunities for builders’ merchants to utilise inspirational displays. So says Paul Taylor, Sales & Marketing Director at Grange, who gives his thoughts on this colourful subject and considers the supplier support that can help stockists grow their business in the decorative timber structures market.
Put simply, displays that showcase landscaping products effectively optimise sales opportunities. Indeed, such displays work extremely well when it is demonstrated how they could best be used thus planters featuring colourful floral displays and fencing that appears to be properly ‘installed’ alongside artificial grass and garden furniture draw the eye far more powerfully than products simply positioned randomly.
It is a good idea to feature collections of products which are designed to be used together to create a cohesive look, be it sophisticated, traditional or something more minimal. Stockists should be able to look to their supplier for full assistance in implementing such displays, and also for back up on related point-of-sale support.
Unfortunately, often merchants are left to build displays themselves without any real advice on how products can best be showcased in outdoor spaces. However, time spent helping stockists to build their displays is a key part of the service offering here at Grange.
Providing a return on investment, displays are invaluable for demonstrating superior product quality and for cross-selling purposes too. This cross-selling comes into its own when professional landscapers and contractors have been tasked with recreating the ‘outdoor rooms’ that are currently so popular with homeowners.
They may walk into the branch of their local builders’ merchant intending to buy only fencing, but inspirational displays can really help to push sales of decorative products such as arches, arbours, gazebos, screen and trellis.
One builders’ merchant which is a particularly good example of using displays strategically is MKM Building Supplies. Mark Evans, Branch Director at MKM Telford, is a big advocate of this and explains: “We use displays to showcase new trends in the market and current top-selling products. MKM’s landscaping specialists create themed displays including product types, colours and textures that complement each other well.
“We like to create a virtual mood board for the garden. This type of thought process helps customers imagine what they can achieve in their own garden design or landscape projects. We try our best to show add-on products without impacting on the flow and overall customer experience of our landscaping display area. Without a doubt it’s very important for us to keep our displays fresh, on trend and inspirational.”
Mark continues: “I think very highly of Grange’s merchandising materials. The team came and coordinated the integration of the company’s products within our landscaping displays, which was a big help. We’ve had great feedback from customers too. They particularly like the fact that they can see and touch Grange’s range of products as opposed to just seeing them in a brochure or online.
“It’s good to know that we can call on the resource of product training from the company too. That’s a real asset. The Grange displays are a smart addition to our landscaping offer and are showcased in line with the high standards MKM requires in order to attract and retain our customers.”
In addition to freestanding product displays, a supplier should be able to offer a good range of other formats to ensure products are easily viewable and accessible such as stock racking systems and step displays as well as top quality point of sale material.
Suppliers don’t seem to be offering decent product displays, but we believe this is a very important part of our partnership with stockists. And it is not only outdoors where suppliers can help — many small-scale indoor displays are also very effective and it is worth builders’ merchants asking their suppliers about their expertise in this area too.
Marketing support is another area in which a supplier can help boost sales of decorative timber garden structures through the strategic use of brochures, social media initiatives and of course investment in a good quality website.
It must also be considered that designers, buyers and contractors choosing fencing are increasingly seeking out superior quality products with the right environmental credentials. FSC-certified timber, proving its provenance is that of sustainably managed forests, is key.
In addition to superior environmental credentials, merchants should be able to offer their customers a guarantee against wood rot and decay on traditional fence panels stocked. Many such guarantees are for ten to fifteen years, but Grange’s fence panels are covered for twenty years, making this the market-leading guarantee.
This longevity is achieved through using an advanced pressure treatment to impregnate the timber structure with preservatives, as opposed to the hitherto traditional method of simply ‘dipping’ the product. The resulting long-lasting protection means that contractors’ customers will not need to re-treat the fencing year on year, thereby offering them a good cost saving.
This really is a great differentiator for builders’ merchants aiming to grow their share of the lap panel fencing market because it provides a great sales message for drawing in and retaining contractor customers.