In a feature from the magazine’s May issue, PBM spoke with ForgeFix MD Paul Swift about the company’s renewed focus on supporting merchants, including point of sale, trade counter training, customer service and marketing support.
Under the new direction of Paul Swift, fixings and fasteners specialists ForgeFix has seen a renewed emphasis and commitment to its merchant customers over the last twelve months. The philosophy has included developing a comprehensive package of support in terms of marketing, training and customer service excellence.
It also means ForgeFix’s proven product strategy, which is designed to give merchant customers a ‘good, better and best’ mix of high-quality products will continue through the Fixings & Fasteners, Spectre and ForgeFast brands.
Implemented eight months ago, the company’s Voice of the Customer programme was designed to get honest feedback from its customer base — and has precipitated some key decisions and commitments to its stockists. The research is ongoing, with results that are said to have already rippled through the business, ensuring decisions have been — and will continue to be — made with the merchant at their heart.
Paul explained: “We have really listened to merchants, and everyone at ForgeFix is committed to delivering the very best customer service. Our Area Sales Managers are the main direct touchpoint for merchants and will help to make sure they have everything they need, but that can-do attitude goes right through the business; we want to deliver the very best because we know that if we do a good job, merchants will sell more — and so will we.”
One of the key areas ForgeFix has developed over the last year has been product training and in-branch support. Training and product demonstrations are intended to really bring home the differences between screw types, their performance and ability to really save time and hassle out on site.
Product Support Demonstrator Steve Moore is available to show counter staff the many benefits and performance of the company brands’ ranges and how they can maximise sales opportunities with just a little extra knowledge. He comments: “Merchant customers such as roofers, decking specialists, carpenters and joiners will be extremely discerning about which types of screws they use and when, and may choose an elite performance range of screws.
“Other customers may just want screws that ‘get the job done’ and therefore stocking good quality, cost effective alternatives is a good option for all merchants.”
Steve continued: “Our merchant-friendly brands, Fixings & Fasteners, Spectre and ForgeFast are designed to give customers a ‘good, better and best’ choice when it comes to performance and price, making sure our stockists cover all customer segments, from the serious trade professional to the one-off purchaser.
“We will help you to market to, and convert, these end users. We can do that with trade or breakfast mornings and we are currently working on videos which can play at the trade counter, highlighting the range of products and their benefits.”
The investment into the team has also seen the procurement of eye-catching, branded gazebos that will make an impact in the yard — and the support can be digital too, with training and product videos on the way which will include useful “How-To’s” whilst the marketing team will help merchants to push sales across every available marketing channel.
The company is also fixing its sights on increasing its support for merchant buying groups. This strategy aims to let buying groups know that “ForgeFix is open for business” and can offer high-quality products and marketing support that drives sales opportunities, all backed by exceptional customer service.
Paul added: “There is a real intent here on pulling products through merchants, and helping them with marketing support such as point of sale, social media and printed materials like leaflets to create awareness and demand amongst end users. If, for instance, you have taken a range of decking screws, do you need us to print leaflets, reshare your offer or point of sale shots on social media and really help to sell that product for you?”
Current activity will see the profile of ForgeFix and its brands rise at industry events such as the recent NMBS exhibition and the forthcoming BMF conference. And as 2023 goes on, the company is also committed to increase sustainability even further in its packaging (it already supplies 100 per cent recyclable tubs for many of its products).
In the meantime, this year looks to be the one where the Voice of the Customer guides ForgeFix products into more and more merchant branches.
ForgeFix launches new POS
Designed to help educate customers and save time for busy counter staff, the new point of sale is available in eye catching ‘bus stop’ displays that can be hung onto shelving and attract customers to an area. The graphics feature handy guides to screws, their uses, surface finishes, sizes, head and thread types.
One bus stop also offers a measurement chart and imperial to metric conversion.
Rebecca Fortescue-Halliwell, ForgeFix’s Head of Marketing, said: “These bus stop displays serve two purposes. Firstly, they grab the attention of the merchant’s customer, and secondly they help save time when it comes to product selection and any queries the customers may have.
“They can also relieve pressure on counter staff as they negate the need for customers to spend time waiting for answers on product sizes and suitability.”
As described in more detail above, the new point of sale is part of a wider package of marketing support being launched for its merchant customers in 2023, including new training videos, packaging and a ‘good, better, best’ product range which encompasses ForgeFix’s popular Fasteners & Fixings, Spectre and ForgeFast brands.