Builders’ merchants and other construction industry traders come in all variety of shapes and sizes.
Some cater for national audiences in towns and cities up and down the UK, while others provide their wares exclusively for a local costumer base. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the unique challenges faced by national builders’ merchants. What trials and tribulations do these larger, multi-site businesses face, and how can builders’ merchant software help to overcome them?
#1: Appealing to regional markets
In order to open premises in numerous locations across the country, national builders’ merchants must generalise their services to a certain extent. Chains or groups of shops must share the same branding, products and services, while premises themselves will usually be of a similar size. Unfortunately, this need to offer a more general service means that some national builders’ merchants struggle to appeal to regional markets. A general approach may not take into account the fact that some areas have a more buoyant DIY home improvement market, say, or that others lack infrastructure investment. Detailed point-of-sale data can help national builders’ merchants get to know their customers better, allowing them to redistribute their stock and promote certain products and services over others in order to meet the needs of regional markets.
#2: Competing with numerous rivals
Expanding your business to a national scale gives you the opportunity to target more markets and individual customers than ever before, but it also exposes you to greater competition. As a national builders’ merchant you’ll not only have to compete with other large, nationwide businesses but also with smaller, more regional builders’ merchants in each of the areas you have premises. In order to retain customers in the face of such competition, you need to ensure that your service, your products and your prices are the best they can be. Trader point-of-sale software can help you to streamline the transaction process, giving your customers what they want more accurately and more quickly. You can even use Trader to control stock, set customer credit levels and manage promotions, meaning that you’ll never run out of in-demand products and can always offer the best promotions without affecting your profit margins.
#3: Building brand loyalty
Building brand loyalty can be far more difficult for larger businesses than it can for smaller, regional builders’ merchants. A local business is often more likely to earn the trust and custom of local customers, even if they don’t stock as many products or if their prices are a little higher. Building brand loyalty as a national retailer or as a chain, then, can be tricky. While builders’ merchant software can help you to lower your prices and improve customer service, ultimately brand loyalty needs to come from you and your staff members. If your employees are always on hand to help customers with their enquiries, provide expert knowledge and go the extra mile where necessary, your customers will have all the more reason to use your services again and again.
#4: Maintaining control of stock
National builders’ merchants are often more conscious of stock control than their smaller local rivals, but this is due to the fact that stock control is so much more difficult for multi-site businesses. National builders’ merchants often keep stock in a central warehouse or head office, where it’s redistributed to different locations when necessary. This system means that delays between customer orders and product delivery are common, and can sometimes create a conflict of interest between multiple sites of the same business if in-demand products are low on stock. Stock control software can help your whole company to better manage its stock, reduce the likelihood of dead stock wasting space and money in locations up and down the country and ensure that your customers get exactly what they’re looking for. Automated top-up orders can help to replenish stock levels before employees even know it’s running out.
National builders’ merchants face numerous unique challenges, but you can easily overcome them with the help of our point-of-sale software. To find out more about how our software can work alongside your business to help you achieve your aims, visit our website or contact us today.
Trader is an easy to use electronic point of sale system designed for the unique requirements of building, plumbing and timber merchants, hardware and DIY stores in the UK and Ireland.
Our team are ready to help with any queries or arrange a demo for you.