This article was first published on Natural Paving
Not only do paving displays create interesting entrances and features at Builders Merchants, they can also be a fantastic interactive selling space if used wisely. Here Malcolm Gough, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Natural Paving Products (UK) Ltd explains how to get the most from your display.
Nothing helps customers visualise potential hardscape projects more than a well though out paving display. Seeing products in situ and being able to scrutinise texture, joints, colour, sizes in detail is invaluable.
Some preliminary pointers for merchants planning a display, is try and use a VARIETY of modern and traditional styles. Customers come in all different shapes and sizes and so do their paving tastes – try and display deeply textured hand-cut stones as well as smooth, machine cut stones. It’s also a great idea to use different sized stones including flags, cobbles, clay pavers and block paving if possible. The smaller stones work particularly well for edging or marking out different zones.
To offer customers the inspiration they’re looking for, merchants need to be CREATIVE in their design. The use of circle kits can be a simple way of adding an eye-catching feature, as can unique block work and miss-matching flags of different sizes. One idea that will result in a creative display and that will engage your customers could be to run a design competition with your landscaping customers.
Another pointer that will help merchants cross sell is to display paving alongside a variety of other landscaping products to create REALISTIC garden spaces. For instance, showing paving alongside artificial turf or decking and dressing the area with pots, planters and lighting can help create a lifestyle feel. In addition, adding natural stone walling to the perimeter can be a great way to segregate the area and show off complementary products.
When it comes to the actual installation of the display, there is an additional opportunity to really add value – by using the installation phase as a chance to EDUCATE and network with customers. Differentiate yourself from the competition by making a day of it (or two) and use the installation as a chance to share best practice, tips and hints to your customers – you could even invite the product suppliers to come down and give talks on the products being used. If merchants make sure that the various jointing compounds, mortars and tools they sell are used during the installation, it’s a great way to highlight them too.
Once installed there a few more ways to use the display to educate and be INTERACTIVE. Paving protection and maintenance can be a valuable additional income stream for merchants and their paving display offers the perfect opportunity to showcase these products. Consider running demonstrations in their application and doing partial treatments so that customers can easily see the difference between different sealers and treated and non-treated paving. Periodically, the opportunity will also arise to show off the various cleaners available such as green-off cleaners, rust removers and salt erasers.
Natural Paving Products was recently involved in supplying products for a merchant paving display, which is a great example of maximising selling opportunities at Clarkes of Walsham’s new flagship store at Jimmy’s Farm in Suffolk.
Made famous by the BBC2 series of the same name, Jimmy’s Farm is a popular family attraction and recognising the positive fit with its own brand, Clarkes of Walsham decided to open its new store there – the first branch to open outside of Walsham in more than 100 years.
With numerous visitors passing through the farm each year, Natural Paving Products – already an existing supplier to Clarkes of Walsham – saw a great opportunity to create an attractive display that would draw customers into the store itself, as well showcasing the natural stone products in an appropriate environment. The resulting design is an eye-catching mixture of Natural Paving Products’ most popular paving stones, which creates an appealing first impression for visitors approaching the new store.
The display itself consists of more than 225m2 of paving, comprising a mixture of both riven finish flags and smoother, sawn stones. Taking centre stage are highlights from Natural Paving Products’ Premiastone range including its Platinum, Walnut and York Mix sandstones, as well as the warmly honed Maple sandstone. Machine cut to give a smooth ‘square edge’ look; the Premiastone range includes some of most contemporary and appealing natural stone products on the market.
To provide a pleasant visual contrast and give some inspiration for more traditionally styled gardens, the display also includes classic styles, such as the beautifully riven Lakeland sandstone, the pink toned Harvest sandstone and the cool grey Promenade sandstone – all from Natural Paving Products’ Classicstone range. Finishing off the display, the design also includes a walled area, created using stones from Natural Paving Products’ range of walling and coping materials.
Commenting on the installation, Neil Elers Purchasing Director at Clarkes of Walsham, said: “Our customers are quite discerning and will generally buy better quality products because they know they’re going to last, which is why Natural Paving Products’ stone has proved so popular in our branches. The new display looks fantastic and certainly seems to be doing its job in drawing visitors into the store.”