HAI CEO Annemarie Harte talks to Tom Cleary, Chief Executive of B&G, the long
established DIY and homeware distributor, which is employing a trade-only business strategy and increased digital collaboration to drive its business.
B&G Ltd. is approaching 45 years trading in Ireland. It remains a wholly-owned Irish entity and a fully committed trade supplier. As a result of the ever increasing requirement for better service and innovation, the company has grown extensively and now services over 500 outlets nationwide with a comprehensive product portfolio of household, hardware, doors, DIY and related lines. These products are marketed under B&G’s own brand names: Indoors, Tema and Picton. B&G also distribute a number of well-known partner brands such as Premdor, Haceka, Euroshowers, Dumapan and B!Organised.
In my CEO’s message in the previous edition of The Hardware Journal, I asked whether the industry would choose to make 2017 your digital year, so it was encouraging to hear that B&G is embracing digital collaboration with its customers and is placing it at the heart of the organisation. B&G have used the websites bghome.ie and Indoors.ie to gain insight into what consumers are searching for. As a result, the company is gathering vital information on trends and gaining valuable insights on how to develop its product lines. Now, the websites have grown and are being primed for an overhaul which will include B2B e-commerce functionality and will benefit both end-users and their customers.
Tom Cleary, Chief Executive of B&G since 2014, says that the company is 100% committed to their customers, retailers and merchants and appreciate their longstanding loyalty. B&G’s strategy typifies ‘push and pull’, Tom explains: “Strategically we made the clear marketing decision to remain a trade-only supplier. In the B&G model, the final consumer transaction belongs to our customers. For many years, we have invested in digital and this is delivering some valuable insights as we map the consumer and customer journeys for our products.
“For a company of our size, scalability of our marketing investment is key, we can’t be all things to all people nor can we do everything we would like in one hit, but what we can do is to prioritise our resources around the key value points along the purchase journey. Our investment in product selection, packaging and point of sale is more focused so that we offer our customers the best sell-through propositions possible. We combine this with driving footfall through our digital offering and as we launch our state-of-the-art B2B e-commerce site we believe that our clients will at last benefit from this digital age. We
call this project ‘Think Customer’, where we put our trade customers at the heart of what we do, be that face-to-face, digital or otherwise.”
B&G’s innovation pipeline
B&G has an active new products’ programme, achieving significant annual growth from the introduction of new products. This is all part of B&G’s customer-centric approach. There will be no shortage of innovation at their stand at The Hardware Show where they plan to introduce brand new designs in fire doors, in collaboration with Premdor. Tom says that the styling of the doors is “top notch”.
The shelving range, B! Organised, has clearly hit the sweet spot with the Irish consumer and the show will see the launch of new decorative shelving – shelving designed to look good regardless of whether it is holding anything or not! There will also be the introduction of Dumapan 3D-design PVC panelling, amazingly-finished wall tiling for around-the-home, which Tom says, have to be seen to be believed! In addition, they will a
lso launch the Slim-Line soft-close toilet seat range.
As well as the above, B&G will have some exclusive show promotional offers for all those visiting their stand.
Of course, 2016 has been a challenging year for everyone for a number of reasons including the uncertainty generated by the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as US President. However, Tom sees cause for optimism and confidence in the signs of uplift in business that have been evident across the country, although more pronounced in urban areas. He also sees the gradual increase in construction activity as another positive. “We’re growing as a company and we need to build and invest. We have strong relationships with our key suppliers and we work with them to deliver innovation to our customers.”
Long-term relationships with suppliers and customers are the cornerstone of the B&G philosophy. It’s a huge source of pride and a compliment to this business philosophy that many of the company’s original suppliers and customers are still its main business partners.
If you have a story to tell as a supplier or manufacturer in the Irish market, please contact Annemarie on 01 298 0969 or email@example.com for more information.