Its widely accepted that a good website can be your best possible sales tool - even in a marketplace where, traditionally, actual customer visits to a shop or yard predominate. Changing customer demands and trends require timber merchants to adapt their marketing efforts in order to maximise their sales potential. The online world is their new shop window, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Hoppings offers the ultimate marketing support tool
However, online marketing can seem a massive leap for the independent merchant, who is in danger of being left behind by the multi-nationals when it comes to online technology, invariably having neither the time or resources to focus on this aspect of their business.
This is where Hoppings can help. The company is enabling its merchants to incorporate the entire Q-Deck decking and Q-Line softwood mouldings ranges into their existing sites, with a shopping cart facility, to sell online.
And for those approved stockists with no website: Hoppings can build them an entirely new, totally bespoke website, which also offers the entire Hoppings range within its pages. All at a fraction of the cost of developing their own site.
Both options benefit greatly from being able to piggy-back upon the huge amount of traffic that Hoppings established site qualitydecking.co.uk receives.
Hoppings Marketing Director, Adam Pulfer says: Research has shown that a visitor judges your company within seconds of visiting your website. To be successful, its got to deliver the goods immediately.
This scheme, which we believe is totally unique within the timber industry, does the hard work for our stockists, and quickly produces an impressive website that really works for them - on a scale which, were they to build from scratch, would prove to be extremely costly. And linking to qualitydecking.co.uk is absolutely key, as merchants in the scheme benefit directly from the high volume of traffic the site has built up during its existence. This is of course a massive advantage over the competition.
Whats more, we also provide the platform for merchants to sell their other building products, via the online shopping facility. There are so many advantages to linking to Q-Deck and/or Q-Line as an official online partner.
Profit Through Partnership
Of course, the team at Hoppings is not offering this service out of the goodness of their hearts. Adam Pulfer says: Its mutually beneficial for Hoppings and all of its stockists to successfully sell the Hoppings ranges online. By utilising our Q-Deck online shop, our merchants gain an ever-growing new channel of business; they sell more and obtain repeat business. Hoppings gains not only from the increased sales, but also by strengthening our partnerships with our customers.
The consumer will also benefit by being able to order Q-Deck from a source with whom they have a local relationship. In a nutshell, its a win, win situation.
To get the best out of these sites and increase turnover and profit, Hoppings feels that offering the consumer the best possible service is the key to increasing online sales. They have therefore set a base level of service for customers taking advantage of the online strategy, including free delivery on orders over £200 within a 10 mile radius and order confirmation within 48 hours.
Many merchants are happy to offer a higher level of service to enhance their online offering - and are reaping the benefits. Hoppings stockist, Simon Wackett of S & J Wackett Timber Merchants says, Im so glad I decided to get involved in websites with Hoppings, especially the online shop, as it has had already made the phone ring and generated a lot of enquiries.
Since I opened my online selling website, ten days ago, in partnership with Hoppings, we have already received two deck orders, which pretty much pays for my investment and its only February Im very pleased.
My customers now have access to the whole Q-Deck range on my website, including How to guides and usage ideas. In addition they have the reassurance of dealing with a local supplier, which they now know.
Hoppings took care of all the legal requirements for my website and Q-Deck shop which, frankly I found a bit of a minefield. It was made so easy for me and I have a great website for far less than if Id gone it alone.
In it for the long haul
Adam Pulfer comments, The charges we make for enhancing an existing site, or creating one from scratch, are extremely competitive. Whats more, we dont leave it there.
Our on-going investment in SEO and pay-per-click strategies ensures our Google rankings continuously improve, meaning more visitors to qualitydecking.co.uk. This in turn means more traffic to our partner shops at no additional charge to them.
Visitors to our partner stockists sites have full access to our comprehensive Product and How to Guides, which are recognised as some of the best publications in the timber industry.
We are at present embarking on a series of e-mailings to consumers, driving traffic to both our own and our stockists sites. By Easter there will be nearly 30 live Q-Deck online shops, with more in the pipeline. We view these websites as an exciting and important part of our future and we will do everything we can to support our valued partners in this enterprise.
Merchants wishing to work in partnership with Hoppings in development of an online selling strategy, must be a stockist of the Hoppings Decking Products range.