By definition, a competitive advantage is “a condition or circumstance that puts a company in a favourable or superior business position”. Of course, this is every business owner’s dream, regardless of their size or specialism.
It’s no secret that the builders’ merchants industry is one of the most competitive markets around. There’s more demand than ever for high quality building supplies, with the economic value of new construction work reaching its highest level on record in 2017, at £109 billion. As a result, builders’ merchants around the UK need to go the extra mile to set themselves apart from competitors.
In this blog post, we take a look at five sales and marketing hacks that you can use to gain a competitive advantage in the builders’ merchants industry.
When done well, this can be one of the easiest ways to set yourself apart from competitors. To get things moving, encourage a work environment where your team feels comfortable having a friendly conversation with customers instead of just trying to “make the sale”. Offering this kind of service can go a long way, even with something as simple as remembering a customer’s name or weekly order. A truly personalised service all starts with a team that genuinely cares about helping out your customers.
Social Media Presence
If your business isn’t using social media in 2019 then you’re already falling behind your competitors. With a global penetration of 45% and a 9% rise in users year-on-year, there’s no other expanding marketing channel that can reach such a large audience. Of course, the process of growing your social media presence doesn’t happen overnight. But by spending as little as 15 minutes per day on social media, consistently sharing useful content and engaging with other accounts, you can build a loyal following in no time.
We usually recommend starting out with just one or two social media accounts – Instagram and Facebook typically work best – before branching out to other platforms. This way, the process of growing your social media accounts will be more easily manageable and reduces the risk of overloading your team with work. Focus on producing high quality, engaging content that delivers genuine value to your audience and you won’t go wrong.
Training & Product Support
When a customer visits your store with a difficult question about a certain product, they expect an accurate answer. Misinformation can easily lead to the customer making a mistake, which can ruin a whole project and cause them to lose business. Even if your team simply doesn’t know the answer to their question, this can reflect poorly on your brand all too often – even more so if a competitor can answer the question.
On the other hand, ensuring your team is properly educated about the products that you stock will help to set yourself apart from competitors. When a customer visits your store with a difficult question that your team can answer, they’re far more likely to keep returning to your store in the future. It really does pay to invest in educating your employees – both on a day-to-day basis and with regular employee training programs.
Here at Everbuild, our Applications Team work closely with our merchant partners and are available to provide thorough and bespoke product training and demonstrations. The training delivered by our Applications Team is focused on developing product knowledge, as well as evolving a deeper understanding of product applications. It instils faith, trust and assurance contributing to a positive experience for the end user. Why not get in touch for more information?
Customer Loyalty Programs
It’s common business knowledge that retaining an existing customer is cheaper and faster than acquiring a new customer. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that customer loyalty programs are some of the most popular marketing tools out there. Brands such as Tesco, Boots and Starbucks have generated millions of pounds in revenue over the years as a direct result of their customer loyalty programs.
The most straightforward way to do this is to offer customers a loyalty card that they can use to collect points for each purchase, corresponding to the amount of money that they have spent. From here, customers can use their points to claim free gifts or discounts on subsequent purchases. This works so well because it gives customers an incentive to keep coming back to your store instead of a competitor’s.
Creating A Welcoming In-Store Environment
Don’t underestimate the value of creating a welcoming environment in your store – first impressions really are everything. Introducing an aesthetic, logical design that makes it easy to find the right products is a good place to start. For example, you can put your best-selling products towards the front of the store in order to make it easier for customers to find the building supplies they need. Another way to improve your in-store environment is to introduce branded display stands, posters and shelf strips to bring attention to popular products.
Here at Everbuild, we understand how to capture the end users’ attention and are proud to offer our merchants eye-capturing and informational point of sale material for use in stores. Our point of sale materials help merchants guide their customers to select the most appropriate product, along with providing useful information on product use and application. Get in touch for more information.