Three tips from the hardware giants for retail merchants

What can stores such as B&Q, Homebase and Wickes teach smaller merchants about retail success? We find out here.

15th January 2014

B&Q - advice from the retail hardware giantAt Integrity Trader, we know just how competitive the retail marketplace can be and thus how essential it is for you to maintain a high-quality and consistent level of service. In order to achieve customer satisfaction and to build brand loyalty, you need to be able to produce quotations, manage your stock and process your orders efficiently and effectively. That’s why we provide a point-of-sale software solution that is designed specifically for builders’ merchants, plumbing merchants and hardware stores offering the support you need to gain retail success. While we can certainly offer you the software you need to drive your business forward, it is up to you to work out how best to implement it to your advantage. However, we can still pass on a few valuable tips from the country’s most successful hardware giants for you to use alongside your retail management software…

#1 B&Q don’t just offer products: they offer advice

Not only does B&Q – one of the largest hardware franchises in the UK – offer all the latest equipment and products needed to repaint a room, rebuild a house or polish a car, the company also provides its customers with advice on how to do all of those things and more. B&Q pride themselves on providing their customers with carefully created how-to guides and step-by-step online directions to help all those that really are doing it themselves to do the job well. They know how difficult doing it on your own can be and that sometimes a little guidance is necessary, which is why they are full of fresh ideas and advice to help their customers do the best they can. B&Q might not always make a sale when they hand out free advice, but that potential customer is more likely to return time and again in future. When sending out promotional emails or welcoming back a returning customer, why no offer helpful advice where it is needed to help build a better customer relationship and build on your brand loyalty?

#2 Wickes stay in keeping with the seasons

There’s not much point in promoting the materials needed to build a swimming pool or clean a patio during winter months when the most any of your customers want to do when they’re outside is to return indoors quickly as possible. While Wickes sell these materials all year round, they do not feature them in their latest promotions. Instead, they create seasonal promotional emails and television adverts and focus on advertising the products they know their customers are more likely to be interested in at certain times of the year. This winter, Wickes have concentrated on bringing to the front of their store and the homepage of their website all products associated with the cold weather in order to attract the attention of customers who are a likely to be seeking such products. This not only helps to boost sales but also shows them to be a reliable and helpful company – make sure your business is capable of identifying and reacting to consumer trends, too.

#3 Homebase offer rewards

Integrity Trader software can be used to keep track of your customers’ purchases and therefore to monitor their loyalty to your business, which in turn enables you to offer discounts or rewards where you think necessary to increase your brand loyalty. At Homebase, they not only offer seasonal promotions and discounts to their customers but also have a loyalty rewards scheme in place, too. Every time a customer spends a pound, whether in store or online, they receive 2 Nectar points that can be used in various supermarkets and in a number of different high street retailers. Your hardware store is unlikely to be able to offer your customers everything they need, but by providing them with a means to purchase their other items elsewhere you can ensure brand loyalty and that your customers leave totally satisfied, even when you can’t give them exactly what they want.

The retail industry is not an easy one to conquer but these three companies – that are only continuing to increase in size – have managed to do so by following smart retail management strategies and by relying on intelligent retail software. If you would like to be able to do the same, contact the team at Integrity Trader today to discuss your software options.

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