Independent builders merchant buying group CEMCO held its heavyside conference in Daventry this morning, where preparation for potential market overhauls was the overriding theme.
Merchants and suppliers were told that they have to work together and introduce innovative services to improve their performance in a rapidly changing market during the session, titled ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.
Keynote speaker Rohit Talwar outlined several potential changes to the marketplace, and encouraged delegates to think outside the box to encourage repeat business: “How many of you sit down regularly with the construction companies and talk to them about their needs, the issues affecting them?” he asked. “You need to try to address and understand their needs, rather than just try to sell them a product.”
Talwar suggested that merchants could run in-branch seminars and discussions on specific topics for their customers, in conjunction with their suppliers. He also encouraged merchants to keep an eye on new products, and embrace new technology.
CEMCO went on to introduce a service provided by eBiz – a service that will allow suppliers to automatically update product pictures and information on as many merchant websites as they like. In addition to this, users can share information among themselves and use it as “a giant network server”, according to Tom Miller, managing director of eBiz.
“Suppliers can control the product images and can change them as often as they like, and it takes that work away from the merchants,” he said. “It also applies to data, such as product measurements and installation instructions…it’s about all the time adding value and increasing efficiency.”
CEMCO operations director and managing director of John Nicholls, David Hebdon, said: “I think we have to understand that technology is something we need to be looking at; technology is at the forefront of most people’s minds.”