INSTALLERS CAN BENEFIT FROM CURRENT MARKET STATUS
November 04th 2015
Keeping up with the constant level of change in the domestic plumbing and heating market can be a challenge for busy installers. With that in mind, Ian Kenny, Marketing Director at Graham Plumbers’ Merchant provides an overview into the current market drivers, key product areas and why crucially – all of this combined with changing attitudes provides a wealth of opportunities.
A Spotlight on Heating & Hot water
The feedback we are getting from customers is that the tide is indeed turning and that homeowners have thankfully become more open to the idea of spending a little in order to save in the long term. In fact, there has been such a shift in attitude - that homeowners are proactively asking installers about what they can do to help make heating and hot water systems more efficient. It is this buy-in from the consumer market that our industry has so desperately needed and we are now finding that when installers come into branch – increasing numbers are actively asking teams about new product innovations, energy efficiency tips and best practice advice.
Product Innovations Gaining Popularity
Although we have seen increasing sales in heating controls as they greatly reduce the levels of energy used whilst a heating system is in operation, intelligent controls are a real area of interest as gadget-savvy homeowners are looking for increasingly smart options. At Graham for example, we’ve introduced the Nest Learning Thermostat to our range. Taking away the hassle of programming by learning the heating requirements of a household, demand is sure to be high for such an innovative, efficiency driven product.
Although it has been gratifying to see the focus on traditional central heating systems, we are also finding that products that can help to conserve water supplies are also becoming more popular. Rainwater harvesting is proving a particular area of interest at the moment. Different types of systems are available – those that collect water for use in gardens or for washing cars as well as systems that feed water back into the household for flushing toilets.
Creating Opportunities for Installers
This is all incredibly positive news for those working in our sector and there should be a real opportunity for all plumbing and heating professionals – no matter what stage of their career - to expand their service and grow their business.
The good news is that merchants are in an ideal position to provide everything required to succeed. A merchant’s role should never be solely about product distribution and delivery but about adding value and for many installers – the local branch team are their first port of call.
Installers need to be confident that the specialists they turn to have the knowledge required.
As such, accessible training is key, and that means both sides of the merchant counter. Graham also has its own e-learning modules, which are updated on a regular basis, providing a greater insight into the changing landscape whilst also investigating new and future products and technologies. In 2014, Graham branch staff completed 10,000 hours of training and this is education process continues to ensure we provide the most up to date advice and guidance we can.
Complementing this is the ability to facilitate training for customers and modern merchants will appreciate that flexibility and accessibility to training is important. Today, training can be undertaken through free to attend trade mornings from leading manufacturers held in branch; or specialist training centres such as The Greenworks Academy that allow installers to take practical training courses that can help them to upskill as and when required.
Even social media is having a positive impact: with best practice installation guides, product news and ‘how to’ videos quite literally at the customers finger tips 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Rely on a Modern Merchant Partner
Merchants really do provide value for customers – particularly now when installers are faced with an industry that is changing on an almost daily basis. We are finding that customers are drawing on the stability of a merchant and our expertise and experience more and more. Our unique position in the industry means we are ideally placed to educate and inform customers of changing Government schemes, to ensure installers comply and are aware of the relevant legislation such as ErP and all with easy access to new product innovations that can help to maintain energy efficient heating and hot water systems for the long term.