Trade thoughts: What would mobility retailers like to see suppliers do more of to help support their retail network?
THIIS spoke to five mobility retail leaders from across the UK to hear their thoughts about what suppliers in the industry could do more of to help support their businesses, with ideas ranging from joint marketing activities to improved product training.
As the mobility market continues to mature, the level of competition in the sector has continued to increase, combined with a shifting retail landscape fuelled by the changing buying behaviours of consumers.
This has resulted in many bricks and mortar retailers facing new challenges, including the difficulty of trying to offer exceptional customer service whilst also maintaining margins against the often lower prices found by internet-only retailers. It has led to mobility dealers highlighting what their suppliers can do to help support their retail partners to grow and develop their business.
Carl Drake, Managing Director of Rise Furniture and Mobility
“Suppliers should engage with their retailers better and improve product training. Too often, retail staff fall into sales without any previous experience. Mobility products are very specialist. Without adequate product training or understanding the needs of the customer, products can easily be mis-sold. This gives our industry a bad name. But it’s the customer that suffers.
“I’ve lost count how many customers I see, having previously bought a recliner from a ‘high Street’ furniture store, without ever being assessed or measured for the chair for example.
“After rent and stock, marketing spend is one of the biggest outlays for any independent retailer.
“If a manufacturer/supplier wants his reseller to succeed, does it not make sense to support them with their marketing in any way they can? It’s win-win.
“Suppliers get too hung up on their brand, relying on retailers to promote their products, yet have no control over creative or advertising placement.
“Suppliers have five or six-figure marketing budgets, so why do they think to give a retailer a couple of hundred pounds for a single advert will succeed?
“Wouldn’t it be better all-round if they got more involved with their resellers marketing efforts to help them promote their brand products?”
Lauren Bromfield, Director of Classic Mobility
“The thing we value the most from suppliers is accessible information which can be downloaded and printed or emailed to our customers, from sales sheets to user guides. It really helps when the information is readily available, as we never know what the next customer may be looking for!
“Good quality retail packaging on smaller items enables us to display the products appropriately, which in turn, increases the chances of the customer finding the items they require. For the larger items, posters and roller banners enable us to show more information regarding the products. Good point of sale material supports us to give the customer information to assist them in their decision making.
“Some suppliers do a great job of providing items to assist with display needs, for example, branded hooks for use on the slatted wallboards. I think this makes the display look more professional and I would love to see more suppliers offering these types of materials.”
Yvonne Malone, Managing Director of H&M Health & Mobility
“We have noticed a decline in sales rep visits from our suppliers and one of our major suppliers doesn’t actually have a rep for our area.
“In order to compete with large, online organisations, we would like more own-branded products as our purchase price can often be more than our suppliers are selling directly to the public online. We would obviously prefer our suppliers not to sell direct to the public at such low prices in order for us to be competitive but unfortunately, this trend is increasing.
“We would like to work on joint marketing activities that would promote our suppliers and ourselves as being important to our local community.”
John Payne, Managing Director of Kent Mobility
“My feeling is some of the marketing that is offered is very good and is better than the product that is being advertised. Things can always go wrong but we expect a quick response when this happens – not left days or sometimes weeks with no help.
“We expect value for money for our customers, not substandard fittings. And expect our area sales manager to have full knowledge of the products offered by the company that they are employed by, as well as their help to sort out any problems that arise.
“Also, we have not got a level playing field when it comes to the purchasing cost.
“With all the problems that bricks and mortar have, with huge rises in running cost in the high street, the current way that some importers treat the retail market will drive the retail trade away to source their own products.
“We have started to see this happening and I believe the importers/manufacturers need a bit of a wakeup call. I came out of the motor trade some years ago, where I worked at a British Leyland garage, if anyone can remember that far back… products were shoddily built, overpriced, with useless backup and look at what happened to them.
“My feeling is that adverting is not the answer; if the product is not reliable, the lesson is, get the product right then the products will sell themselves.”
Katy Brown, Managing Director of Scotgate Mobility
“Please, please invest in some great lifestyle photography so that we can advertise and promote your products in the local press, on our website and on social media.
“For example, I have good links with editors and would like to send them regular news, but mobility products often look so boring! Nobody wants to look at a studio shot – the product needs to be shown in use by a person, in a home or outside with an attractive background.
“Once you have good photography, the rest follows: Provide retail packaging for all products, preferably with an option to hang up on euro-hooks. Produce more individual product leaflets so that we can give people the information they need, but with space to add our own information and branding.
“Produce a few more posters with lifestyle photography too – this will help us to keep our displays up to date and fresh. The people who do this well are Classic Canes and Cosyfeet.”https://thiis.co.uk/trade-thoughts-what-would-mobility-retailers-like-to-see-suppliers-do-more-of-to-help-support-their-business/https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/collaboration-retail-supplier.jpg?fit=1000%2C667&ssl=1https://i2.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/collaboration-retail-supplier.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1NewsroomPeopleTrade ThoughtsClassic Mobility,collaboration,H&M mobility,Kent Mobility,mobility supplier,retail network,Rise Furniture and Mobility,Scotgate Mobility,Support,trade thoughtsTHIIS spoke to five mobility retail leaders from across the UK to hear their thoughts about what suppliers in the industry could do more of to help support their businesses, with ideas ranging from joint marketing activities to improved product training. As the mobility market continues to mature, the level...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine