Improved merchandising and the greater consideration of ‘retail techniques’ is not just enhancing the trade counter environment but is also increasingly being deployed in yard areas — and an also broaden a merchant’s appeal to a new type of customer. PBM considers Long Rake Spar’s partnership with Milford Building Supplies which is said to have seen a ‘surge’ in landscaping sales for the independent merchant.
Increasing numbers of merchants are recognising the importance of supplier support, including strong product and merchandising plans that build sales and improve in-store experiences. Now in its second year, Long Rake Spar’s merchant support package is designed to do just that by helping independent builders merchants grow their range to offer exclusive, high profit landscaping products in their local market.
The decorative aggregate supplier says it has been working closely with stockists nationwide to deliver bespoke merchandising and stocking packages to suit their individual ‘retail requirements’. Last year, Milford Building Supplies reflected on the evolving builders’ merchant market and wanted to adapt its retail space to meet the change in demand.
Scott Finlayson, the Leeds-based merchant’s Commercial and Operations Manager, explained: “People are able to research their products more easily online — we recognised this and wanted to make ourselves more appealing to the general public. Long gone are the days when a merchant was just for the trade; we now see the general public and DIYers as a growing proportion of our customer base.”
The change in shopper demand meant that Milford Building Supplies decided to dedicate 30% of its new Cardigan Road development to a specially designed landscaping retail yard. By doing this, it was able to separate its traditional heavy goods movements from the consumer focused area, creating a ‘garden centre’ style experience with well merchandise products, clearly visible prices and a safe, traffic free, self-service area.
The newly developed retail yard sits along the road where there is a constant stream of local and commuter traffic flowing past. Because of this, Milford wanted to select a supply partner that offered strong consumer-focused merchandise support as well as a wide variety of products.
With a large range of decorative aggregates available in its Natural Selection, Long Rake Spar claims to enable merchants to build their reputation as a “go-to local landscaping stockist”. For Milford this meant that it is now able offer a product for “every shopper’s needs” with the option of half load supply helping to maintain continually sufficient stock levels.
Long Rake’s product range is further supported by a merchandise package which includes a range of informative and eye-catching sales tools specifically designed for merchants. Millie Ferns, the supplier’s Marketing Manager, explained how the merchandise package was developed: “Like Milford, we recognised that the merchant market was changing and that our stockists wanted to increase sales of differentiated products to existing trade accounts and new DIY buyers.
“We wanted to help customers showcase decorative aggregates as an integral part of a garden build or landscape project and ensure that consumers were able to make informed purchases and have a positive, stress free shopping experience.”
The level of merchandising support varies according to the needs of the stockist and includes product and category specific point of sale boards with engaging in-situ, wet and dry product images alongside handy hints, tips and suitability icons. In store, shoppers can also pick up a consumer-focused brochure with corresponding icons and packed with ideas and inspiration.
For more information on Long Rake Spar’s merchandising support packages for merchants, visit https://www.longrakespar.co.uk/resources/become-a-stockist