Dulux Trade’s Paul Edworthy ponders sustainability from a merchant angle
More than ever, tradesmen are under pressure to support their clients in meeting sustainability criteria on a project. But while the products and services have grown to meet demand, knowledge and confidence in selecting these solutions, arguably, has not. Many tradespeople still feel daunted about choosing the right product for the job, as such, there’s a great opportunity for merchants to promote and sell them accordingly.
When it comes to selling sustainable solutions, it’s usually renewable technologies that are front of mind. However, as the market matures within the built environment, it’s important for merchants to widen their offering and encourage customers to take a more holistic approach.
Take painting and decorating, for example. It may not immediately spring to mind when considering the environmental impact of a project, but it often features as a large part of a refurbishment or new build project. Therefore, it’s important to select the most appropriate solution for the job, as it will help to lessen the impact.
In order to maximise the commercial opportunities that sustainability can bring, staff all the way down the chain need to increase their knowledge and expertise in order to help their customers buy better. As a merchant, it pays to do your homework and invest the time in getting to know the key environmental benefits of products to make sure you can market and sell them effectively.
To do this, merchants should involve manufacturers as much as possible, as they can offer a wealth of advice and key tools such as informative literature and in-store point of sale, all of which can be crucial in ensuring merchants are well-informed and product confident. Training programmes and shop floor one-to-ones are also worth considering, as they help to build up knowledge, and develop existing and new skills.
Samples are another sure fire way for merchants and customers to get to grips with sustainable coatings and understand the benefits firsthand. I would highly recommend testing the product’s performance for yourself on different substrates so you can confidently inform the customer of your findings.
For merchants who already have an established demand for environmental products, why not set up a designated eco area with bespoke point of sale and displays to really promote your offering and ensure the ecological message is clear. I’ve noticed more of these cropping up and they seem to be doing really well.
The fact is, sustainability is here to stay. Merchants should act now to ensure they take advantage of the business benefits it can bring. It’s essential that staff become confident and informed in order to deliver an effective service, drive sales, and ultimately, help their customers to build a more sustainable future.
Paul Edworthy is national account manager for Travis Perkins at Dulux Trade