Page 1


March 2021

Issue 308


Official Xerox Distribution Partner We are now an official Xerox Distribution Partner, meaning we stock and supply all Xerox Everyday Toners (XET) and Xerox Replacement Cartridges (XRC) for non-Xerox Branded Printers & Photocopiers at the best value possible.




How many of your customers select OEM supplies only?

Try improving your margin opportunity by offering them a branded aftermarket solution with Xerox Everyday Toners or Xerox Replacement Cartridges.


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HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY ADAPTED TO ONLINE COMMERCE The growth of e-commerce’s impact on the industry SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IN 2021 Switching on to the latest trends to succeed in online marketing CLEANING UP How Everything Hygiene tripled turnover in a year

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Spring forward DEALER SUPPORT MARCH 2021 ISSUE 308

Finally, we’ve made it to March - the month when the clocks go forward, British Summer Time begins, and the - not-so-positive Official Xerox one-year anniversary of the first lockdown will occur. It’s hard to Distribution Partner believe it has been a year since the world was plunged into panic, and life as we knew it came to a grinding halt. We’re now more than used to face masks, sneeze screens, hand sanitiser and video calls being part of our day-to-day lives. And now, as schools return, the vaccine programme continues, and the roadmap offers us a route out of lockdown, things are starting, finally, to look up. Although it’s important to look forward, it’s also equally important to look back and see how far we have all come - and give ourselves a pat on the back for overcoming the numerous challenges and obstacles the last year has thrown at us. The industry quickly adapted to the new ways of working and living and, despite many of us thinking it might only last a few months, a year later we are still adapting and learning to navigate the world we find ourselves living in. To this end, we kick off this issue with an analysis from Office Power looking at impact of working from home, and online giants like Amazon, on the industry. Our BIG ASK follows this theme with industry experts giving their take on how they’ve adapted to the growth of e-commerce, and Des Stevenson features in our DEALER SUCCESS story discussing how his business tripled its turnover in the last year. Looking to the future, we picture what the return to the office may look like and explore the social media trends you need to know in order to succeed in online marketing this year and, with many people still working from home, we ask how this will impact the home print market and how those working in the home office can ensure they are still GDPR-compliant. To wrap up the issue, our LIVE IT section invites you to take a well-deserved break and relax as FATHER P. CLIP tells us about his office dog! Cassie Marvin provides the ® more and focusing on how FINAL WORD, picking up the theme of marketing once you can enhance your marketing strategy. As always, don’t forget to chat to us on Twitter and let us know your thoughts and opinions: @dealersupport. March 2021

Issue 308

We are now an official Xerox Distribution Partner, meaning we stock and supply all Xerox Everyday Toners (XET) and Xerox Replacement Cartridges (XRC) for non-Xerox Branded Printers & Photocopiers at the best value possible. PATRICK WINTERBOTHAM



How many of your customers select OEM supplies only?

Try improving your margin opportunity by offering them a branded aftermarket solution with Xerox Everyday Toners or Xerox Replacement Cartridges.


inspiring success


HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY ADAPTED TO ONLINE COMMERCE The growth of e-commerce’s impact on the industry

SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IN 2021 Switching on to the latest trends to succeed in online marketing CLEANING UP How Everything Hygiene tripled turnover in a year

DEVIRRA SAH PIHS OT YAW REISAE NA lloR gnippihS laeS & xelF hctocS si deen uoy llA .dedeen epat oN - srossics fo riap a dna Ellie Potter Acting editor



EDITOR Ellie Potter


HEAD OF SALES Matthew Moore

DIRECTOR Vicki Baloch

yerG ot yerG All email addresses are formatted


Dealer Support is the leading monthly publication for dealers in the business supplies industry. It provides information on the industry (both in the UK and overseas), information for and about the UK’s independent dealers, as well as information and advice on running a small business. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the views of the publishers. Copyright of all the material published remains with Intelligent Media Solutions Limited. No part of this magazine may be reproduced, copied, stored in an electronic retrieval or transmitted, save with written permission or in accordance with provision of the copyright designs and patent act of 1988. Printed in the UK by Buxton Press www.buxtonpress.co.uk Annual subscriptions are available at a cost of £68.00 for UK and overseas by surface mail, £90.00 for airmail. Subscription enquiries should be sent to the address opposite

ediw a tcetorp ot noihsuC ,flesti ot firstname.lastname@intelligentmedia.co.uk yleruces skcitS .sepahs dna sezis fo egnar .smeti ruoy ot ton

Intelligent Media Solutions We Work Building, 115 Mare Street, London, E8 4RU Tel: 0203 794 8555 Fax: 0203 794 8554 Email: info@intelligentmedia.co.uk Web: www.dealersupport.co.uk

epahs eht ot smrofnoC .meti ruoy fo

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Enjoying this issue of Dealer Support? If you like what you see, you can subscribe for free! Don’t miss out on receiving your own monthly issue

SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Visit dealersupport.co.uk/subscribe to receive Dealer Support for free every month Issue 295




EVERY KIND OF CUSTOMER Sustainable, straightforward, long-lasting products trusted by customers at home and in the workplace for over 100 years; BANKERS BOX® is better in every way. A household name, and a family business since 1917, built on enduring values and manufactured with advanced techniques. Backed by engaging omni-channel marketing, effective customer support and a range intended to make category management simple. They’re much more than just boxes – they’re made for life.

OEMS AND MPS How are OEMS helping sell MPS? DRIVING CHANGE Inside the newly-launched Go2


new products and category trends

inspiring success

IT PREDICTIONS FOR 2020 What to expect for the year ahead

PHIL JONES Brother UK’s MD talks learning and leadership


MARKETING Why now is the time

0203 794 8555 info@intelligentmedia.co.uk [02] OCTOBER 2016

Issue 296





2020 VISION New products and categories

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January 2020


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DELIVERING WHAT’S BEEN PROMISED Steve McKeever’s advice for dealers BREAKING INTO EDUCATION Making your way in a lucrative sector

MARCH 2021


The latest news and views from the industry


Office Power take a look at the lasting impacts of the pandemic


How has the industry adapted to the growth in online commerce



Des Stevenson on how his business tripled turnover in the last year

LEADERSHIP 30 RETURNING TO THE NEW NORM What the return to the office will look like


34 SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IN 2021 Getting the most out of a digital-first decade

SALES SUCCESS 37 HOME PRINT MARKET SET FOR GROWTH Staying at home means printing at home


Keeping GDPR compliant while WFH


Take a break and enjoy some lighthearted fun


The good Father on the office’s four-legged friend


34 “The onset of the pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns, has certainly accelerated the switch to ecommerce”


Cassie Marvin discusses how to enhance your marketing strategy



THE MONTH THAT WAS Office Circle launches network of local office supplies dealers

DURABLE UK teams up with FusionPlus Data

Following on from the success of groups like Bookshop.org, with one website

DURABLE UK has formed a new partnership

representing hundreds of individual local businesses, Nemo & Office Club

with FusionPlus Data, which means the

have partnered with Office Circle and digital marketing experts, tmwi, to

company can now provide optimised and

create a national network of office supplies dealers offering local delivery from

accurate product content including product

one central website.

titles, descriptions, images, videos, etc.

Nemo & Office Club MD, Tim Beaumont, announced: “The new venture with Office Circle is ready to provide a custom, local service at a national level as a one-stop shop for B2B supplies and equipment delivered straight to offices or homes for people working remotely. “Although this is not a new concept to our industry, the level of expertise and financial support we have received from our globally successful digital marketing partners means that Office Circle is perfectly positioned to have a

for more than 1000 of their biggest selling products. There will also be regular updates to the content as the DURABLE team constantly look to improve and adapt products to the market situation. Each year, DURABLE releases a wide

serious impact at this time when businesses buying habits are changing due to

range of new products in a variety of

the pandemic. Working with supportive supply partners – such as Acco, Antalis

categories. This new partnership will allow for

and Kärcher – Office Circle advertising is already now prominent on popular

products to go to market within a matter of

consumer websites, including www.ruck.co.uk, which attracts over 250,000 site

days, to give resellers the latest and best that

visitors per week.”

DURABLE has to offer.

Office Circle MD, Mike Martin, added: “Whether it is the latest cutting-

Sam Rylands, marketing manager at

edge projector, a simple memo pad, or anything else in between, we work

DURABLE UK, sees the move as a big step

hard to make sure customers have fast access to the best supplies. With over

forward for the company and its customers:

20,000 products currently on the site, and growing, we’re proud to say that

“We’re delighted about providing dealers

our trusted local partners from Nemo and Office Club make it all possible –

and resellers access to the entire DURABLE

offering tailored, personal support, and a first-class service, to local businesses

catalogue,” he said. “Our product range

every single day.

spans a wide number of categories

“We’re always looking for the latest innovations in office supplies and stationery that can help businesses reduce their ecological footprint. “We know sustainability is increasingly on the minds of our customers. So,

and we continually develop new and innovative products that meet the needs of our changing working world. Hosting

it’s important for us to offer them plenty of options, whether that’s products

our enhanced content on the FusionPlus

made from 100% recycled plastic or office supplies made from biodegradable

platform, enables our customers to capitalise


quickly on workplace trends and access the

“Every green choice makes the planet a little bit safer and we’re happy to make it easier for our customers to go the eco-friendly route.”

[06] MARCH 2021


thousands of market-leading products that DURABLE UK has to offer.”


Brother UK launches new managed label service


Sustainability high on agenda for Integra members In partnership with Planet Mark, Integra has recently launched free ‘carbon clinics’ to further support members when it comes to adopting and

Brother UK has launched a new hardware-as-a-service platform called Managed Label Service (MLS) to help resellers capitalise on the growing market for label printers. Reseller partners will be able to use the platform to provide customers with a

implementing a sustainability strategy within their businesses. Planet Mark’s sustainability experts will

subscription for labelling devices for the first time, giving businesses the option

be offering advice on a wide range of

to spread the upfront cost of new Brother label printers, third party hardware,

topics including carbon footprinting,

software, services and supplies over an affordable monthly payment plan.

strategy and planning, environmental

That gives them access to the latest labelling technology without the usual capital investment required. The shift to ecommerce and home delivery during the pandemic has resulted in strong demand for label printers from firms that have pivoted their business model to selling online, and the category is forecast to grow by 9% during 2021. MLS will provide businesses with a complete labelling solution in a single package, including software, accessories, servicing and tech support, enabling them to start selling online or make their delivery function more efficient, while avoiding a big upfront investment. Using the platform, resellers can create custom quotes in real time to offer a flexible solution to their customers. Partners get the revenue straight away once the deal has been processed and at the end of the contract. Resellers,

policy and data collection; together with employee and supplier engagement, and communication. Steve Malkin, CEO for Planet Mark, commented: “Carbon management is an essential pre-requisite to good practice in sustainability. It brings many other benefits too, including tackling climate change, cutting costs, reducing risk, enhancing reputation, engaging employees and stakeholders, and winning new business. During these

rather than customers, retain ownership of the hardware – allowing them to

clinics we will be able to provide practical,

either gain additional revenue or update the customer with new hardware.

tailored advice to Integra members looking to drive sustainability forward.

Promotions at ECI ECI Software Solutions has promoted Trevor Gruenewald to CEO and Sarah Hagan to president and chief operating officer. Ron Books, ECI’s current CEO, will transition to the role of chairman. As part of this change, Gruenewald and Hagan will be responsible for the day-today operations of ECI, while Books will continue to work closely with the ECI leadership team and ECI’s board of directors on driving the strategic mission and vision of the company. Gruenewald will also be responsible for ECI’s overall product and M&A strategy, continuing to position ECI for future growth while staying true to the company’s mission to support SMBs with the technology that they need to grow their businesses sustainably and profitably. In her new role, Hagan will be

“On average, Planet Mark holders make a 16% carbon saving each year per employee through energy use, waste, water, travel and procurement. Certified organisations deliver results far beyond regulation and compliance, making deep and significant contributions to society, the environment and engaging their people in the process. We are looking forward to working closing with members to help support them in 2021 and beyond.”

responsible for overseeing ECI’s business units.

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [07]




Impact of WFH on health reveals failings in employers’ duty of care


ew research from Fellowes Brands has

(65%), spending on average, £1,300 – suggesting employees

revealed the alarming impact home

are unhappy with the support they are receiving.

working is having on the mental wellbeing

Indeed, research reveals that 19% think their employer

and physical health of the nation, with

does not care about their mental health or wellbeing –

35% of UK workers admitting feeling

putting productivity, results and making money above

stressed or anxious, lonely and isolated, 32% tired and 38%

their welfare. In addition, 45% of employees have never

lacking in energy while working from home during lockdown.

completed a workstation risk assessment – potentially

Inadequate home workstations are putting people’s

putting physical and mental health at risk. Elsewhere, 58%

physical health at risk as only 49% have a proper set-up.

don’t know or don’t fully understand what their rights are

Current legislation around home working is outdated and

when it comes to having a safe and healthy home working

lacks clarity – it is only a legal requirement for employers

environment and 59% believe home working should be

to provide workstation risk assessments if employees are

regulated by the government.

‘permanent’ home workers. As home working has increased

While working from home is placing physical strain on

due to the pandemic, research calls for employers to do

workers and negatively impacting their mental health, most

more as 10% of people admitted to working from their sofa,

people (89%) are keen to continue working at home in the

5% from their bed and 3% even worked on the floor! It is

future; enjoying the greater flexibility (60%). However, 63%

no surprise, then, that 49% experience more physical strain

would feel more motivated and productive if they had a better

working from home, with 27% suffering strained eyes, 27%

home working environment yet 42% say their employer did not

complained of a stiff neck, 26% had a sore or aching back and

support them in creating a good working from home set-up.

25% experienced headaches. Top requirements for equipment include better back

Jeremy Cooper, UK marketing manager, Workplace Health Division at Fellowes Brands, said: “It is essential that employers

support from their chair (29%), a new chair (27%) and less

identify the physical and emotional needs of their staff. We

time spent sitting down (25%). Employees are also resorting

need to go beyond the office and embrace a work environment

to spending their own money on home working equipment

that is adaptable and supportive for all ways of working.”

[08] MARCH 2021




HOME WITH THE RANGE ExaClair helped dealers during the early days of the pandemic thanks to its product range and now, with homeworkers’ expectations changing, the company is evolving its offering to cater for this, including introducing more sustainable products


hen the COVID-19 pandemic hit the

enabled us to open the door to a number of new

UK in March last year, and led to the

customer groups; we anticipate this will continue to be

first lockdown, ExaClair Limited - the

an area of strength for us as 2021 develops.”

UK subsidiary of the Exacompta-

As well as supplying traditional markets, ExaClair

Clairefontaine group – was ideally

also look to explore new opportunities, whether that be

placed to help customers who suddenly had to find

with new or existing ranges. “The pandemic has taught

homeworking solutions for their numerous employees

us to be more proactive in these prospects, especially

who had only ever been office-based.

in relation to expanding via online channels,” Lawrence

ExaClair already sold an extensive range of home

explains. “We have found that an increasing number

office products - but the company offered more than

of office product dealers are looking to expand into

that. “In responding to the changes in restrictions

new areas, with some now seeking to capitalise on the

placed upon dealers over the last 12 months, we’ve

working from home ethos by distributing more crafting

become more dynamic in relation to our order

and educational stationery items.”

processing, and have developed more flexible distribution logistics to accommodate the increasingly


varied customer delivery requirements which have

Indeed, Lawrence expects the working from home

been influenced by the pandemic,” explains Lawrence

market to continue to thrive in 2021. “While the

Savage, ExaClair’s marketing manager.

demand for products for home schooling is likely to

“With more consumers working remotely, the rise in demand for drop-shipping products also continues to drive current supply chain initiatives. We are now seeing increasing numbers of companies giving extra options for ordering smaller pack sizes, or specialised bundle packs, to satisfy these changes in purchasing behaviour.” DIVERSIFICATION ExaClair has also diversified its product range in response to the pandemic. “We experienced a lot of demand when we first launched our ExaScreen range of PPE during the start of the pandemic and, as this has expanded, we’ve seen it account for over 40% on our growth categories,” says Lawrence. “This diversification

[10] MARCH 2021


subside, as more children return to attending their educational establishments, with more employees and



credentials as being an important, to very important, factor - second only to comfort (90%).” This is a trend being driven especially by younger people and, to that end, ExaClair has recently expanded its selection of 100% recycled Forever® products with the Forever® Young range, which is targeted at 15-25-year-olds. “Featuring products accredited with the Blue Angel environmental label, manufactured from businesses now experiencing the cost, environmental

post-consumer recycled plastic waste, this range will be

and health benefits of remote working, this is a sector

highly appreciated by members of Generation Z, also

that is expected to maintain growth. It’s reported that

known as ‘zoomers’,” says Lawrence.

over a quarter of those currently working from home also plan to continue this on a permanent basis.” This means that certain areas of the market are set

“Over the past few years climate change has become a hot topic, with a recent survey showing that 62% of zoomers are preferring to buy more sustainably

for growth, such as premium stationery. “This has been

sourced products. We are committed to helping reduce

particularly fuelled by recent trends such as journaling and

the effects on the earth’s climate by producing more

family crafting - a knock-on effect of a greater number of

ecologically aware products that can become part of a

workers based at home, and conscious of participating in

circular economy. This new range offers a conscientious

activities that can promote wellbeing,” says Lawrence.

and eco-friendly purchase.”

“The ability to create a versatile home office environment that not only maintains worker efficiency


but also offers ergonomic items which easily integrate

Lawrence adds that ExaClair is constantly looking to

into their surroundings, is a trend that is set to continue

enhance its environmentally friendly products and

influencing future product design. Recent studies in

drive innovative manufacturing techniques. “This has

colour psychology indicate that soft, pastel colours can

been an integral part of our company strategy for over

inspire imagination, calmness and clarity of thought;

40 years,” he says. “In addition to our popular new

we’ve already experienced this shift with an increase

Exacompta nature-inspired Eterneco, and 1928 Climate

in demand for desktop and filing products that feature

Neutral desk accessories, we are also developing a new

these fresh colour tones.”

range of zero plastic filing for 2021. “Elsewhere, we are continuing to broaden our


selection of Rhodia products, and will soon be launching

Another trend is for home workers to want products

a new collection of premium notebooks, portfolio folders

that are more environmentally friendly. “With an

and pencil cases in a choice of bright, modern colours.”

estimated 400 million tonnes of plastic waste being generated, worldwide, every year - a third of which is packaging - the demand for offering more sustainable solutions is intensifying as end-users become increasingly aware of future ecological impacts,” notes Lawrence. “A recent IPSOS survey showed that 75% of remote workers highlighted their preference for having home office products that feature eco-friendly

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [11]


[12] MARCH 2021

W F H A N D T H E I M PA C T O F E - C O M M E R C E


W F H A N D T H E I M PA C T O F E - C O M M E R C E


The impact of WFH and the giants of online retail In order to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, Office Power conducted a research programme that featured webinars, an in-depth economic analysis and an industry survey - this included a focus on the future of home working and the threat of big online retailers


he first question asked of respondents

is an ongoing concern. It raises a series of questions

was around the potential implications

which must be dealt with:

of the rise in home working. This is

• How might customers be found in the future?

a key theme for the industry as it is

• How will the existing customer base be managed in

likely to have an impact beyond the

pandemic itself, with most futurologists predicting a

this fragmented environment? • How can cost-effective fulfilment services be

‘hybrid’ office culture. Statistics show that 45% of people

provided when employees are spread out rather

in employment worked from home in April 2020 (source:

than office-based?

ONS); this is compared to just 5% throughout 2019. This

• How can dealers compete in an e-commerce

rate will be a lot higher for white collar or office-based

environment - which is the primary purchasing


channel for the home worker?

This significant rise will come as no surprise to anyone as customers and colleagues have been forced


to stay at home. It is anticipated that the government

This understanding of the customers, and the ability

will continue to encourage employees to work from

to reach them wherever they are, has proven to be

home, if they can, until a vaccine is rolled out. It is also

- and will continue to be - central to survival in this

fair to conclude that employees will continue to work

new environment. Where once rapport with individual

from home - with varying degree of flexibility - on an

buyers in customer companies was sufficient for

ongoing basis, and the potential of ongoing restrictions

maintaining contact, now e-commerce will become

on social and working life meaning we will not see a

the prevalent channel for managing a much more

quick return to the ‘old normal’. Asking respondents

fragmented relationship. With companies and their

about the ongoing impact of this, 88% share the view

employees remaining at home for the foreseeable

that home working will be significant in the future, with

future, it will be key for dealers to build a clear

48% believing that up to 30% of employees will continue

understanding of their customer base via customer

working from home permanently (see Figure 1).

relationship management (CRM) tools and deploy a

Given the previous importance of the office as the

contact strategy to ensure different customer types

dominant environment for dealers to sell into, the

receive relevant messages and promotions which are

fragmentation of the working location of customers

important to them, wherever they are.

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [13]


W F H A N D T H E I M PA C T O F E - C O M M E R C E

Segmentation, targeting and positioning – known

the context of online retail growing at its fastest rate

as STP – is a very effective tool to apply in this

ever, peaking at nearly 30% of all sales in the UK in

situation. Accurately and consistently segmenting

May 2020. Undoubtedly, many customer habits will

the customer base by who they are, their working

have been irreversibly changed as a result of these

environment and what they need or want is one of

enforced periods of lockdowns across the country.

the key ways to trade profitably with an increasingly

It is crucial to avoid direct competition with

fragmented customer base. Due to the shift to home working, there has been a

Amazon as this is simply not a battle that can be profitably won. Dealers should also be wary of trading

significant increase in pick, wrap and deliver (dropship)

on Amazon marketplace; while this may provide

deliveries - in other words, the ability to deliver wherever

turnover, and working capital, it will be unprofitable

the customer is. Applying similar segmentation

in the vast majority of cases. It is critically important

techniques to target different delivery options, timings

for dealers to trade customers and not orders;

and charges is critical. So, building a clear, single view

understanding the customer base via a strong

of the customer, truly understanding and supplying

customer database and CRM is how you build up loyal

what they need and, ultimately, delivering what they

and profitable customers.

want when and where they want it, will prove a clear

It is also important to have high levels of

advantage as various levels of lockdown continue and

integration between CRM and online systems

when we move to a ‘new normal’.

enabling promotions, on-site messaging and merchandising that can be targeted towards what the


individual customer wants to see. It is critical to extend

The Office Power survey also looked at the impact

this customer understanding to sales teams so that

that overall market competition may have - notably

they are able to have the right conversation, and offer

online, and including the immense competitive force

the right products at the right price.

that is Amazon. Unsurprisingly, there proves to be

Essentially, it is about managing the customer

a significant concern about this area, with 82% of

through their lifetime with the brand, encouraging

respondents being worried that online competitors

them to come back and order more. Knowing how

will become an even bigger threat in the near future.

their needs are developing is how you build an online

This is well-founded given that Amazon recently

presence that offers something that Amazon doesn’t

announced they’d grown 27% in the three months

focus on so much – a deep, efficient and local

following lockdown. This staggering growth is within


[14] MARCH 2021


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PFU (EMEA) LAUNCHES NEW PARTNER PORTAL To help its channel community understand and communicate the best possible image capture and digital transformation solutions, PFU (EMEA) Limited has launched a new platform packed full of all the information they need


volution is key for businesses if they wish to remain successful and, for

critical activity and, ultimately, ensure business survival. “Add to this the shift we’ll see, long-term, in how

many businesses currently, evolution

people want to browse and purchase products and

means digital transformation. This

services - how they want to engage with suppliers and

involves more than just digitising

customers - and it is clear that we are evolving into a far

existing processes; it’s about enabling organisational

more digital remote world than ever before.”

intelligence to develop new processes, and create opportunities, according to the recently published


Fujitsu Image Scanners Organisational Intelligence

To help with this evolution PFU (EMEA) is supporting

Report 2020

its customers with the launch of its Partner Portal -

“The report looks into where organisations feel they

which combines its Imaging Channel Portal, Imaging

are on their digital transformation journey, what they

Alliance Program and Imaging Rewards loyalty scheme

perceive to be the challenges faced and the benefits

into one unified platform. It is designed to provide a

and opportunities for dealers to capitalise on,” explains

single source of knowledge for partners, giving them

Andrew Cowling, senior channel marketing specialist at

access to all the information they need to successfully


create the best possible image capture and digital

“It is clear that the past year has made a lot of companies face the realisation that they need to

transformation solutions for their customers. The portal enables partners to access detailed

accelerate their journey towards digital and automated

information on all PFU (EMEA)’s devices and software,

processes,” he says. “This is primarily due to a

including images, adverts, pricing and more; in addition,

more remote, disparate, workforce which needs to

using Imaging Rewards, partners can log sales and

access information and share information, ensuring

collect points for selling devices, which can be redeemed

compliance while remaining productive. There is the

against a range of products or training courses.

need to move away from time–consuming, admin heavy tasks so as to free up time for staff to focus on business-

[16] MARCH 2021


Developed with Impartner, a partner relationship management platform, the portal is the result of an



extensive investment programme by PFU (EMEA). The

feedback from its channel community on the previous

portal offers greater opportunities and collaboration,

portals. “The new portal is fresher, and easier to

securing future growth for their channel.

navigate to find our range of enablement tools; from a

It also includes access to marketing and research material,

management side, it’s far easier to upload valuable and

including the Fujitsu Image Scanners Organisational

relevant content,” he says.

Intelligence Report 2020. Software development kits

The development of the portal was also

are available for software vendors to create solutions that

relatively swift, Andrew explains. “From scoping our

enable integration for digital transformation projects. The

requirements, reviewing pitches, migration and launch

portal is available on any connected device, meaning

we were probably looking at six months.” Now that the

partners can get access to the information they require

Partner Portal has been launched, there is a pipeline –

whether at home or in the office.

short- and long-term – for adding features, content and modules, Andrew adds.


“We fully appreciate that the key to an engaged

“Our portal aims to bring together a range of

channel community is keeping information fresh

enablement assets that can be used not only to

and relevant, and striving to continuously evolve

educate internally on the scan opportunity, but also

and respond to feedback,” he says. “We will shortly

to utilise these tools to take the messaging to an

be introducing the ability to request demonstration

existing customer base - or even to new datasets,”

and eval units, to register deals and access our

explains Andrew. “We have a comprehensive asset

e-commerce and software programs in order to

library that includes a range of rich content on our

become specialist partners.

products and promotions and webinars to view - such

“We are working on developing an MDF and

as how to sell to human resources, how organisations

COOP module, the ability to co-brand material, and

can benefit from organisational intelligence - as well

will be continually developing and adding training

as joint webinars with our trusted ISV partners looking

courses on our product ranges, opportunity selling

at a more solution-led approach. There are training

and scanning solutions.”

modules to educate further and become specialist and certified partners, and all members can opt into our regular channel communications keeping them informed of latest initiatives.” “The PFU (EMEA) Partner Portal is the perfect collaboration platform,” Mike Nelson, senior vice president, PFU (EMEA), adds. “It’s a unified point of contact that provides all the information they need in an innovative and engaging environment. It will enable our partners to continue creating world-class image capture solutions for their customers with help from

Embrace digital transformation Andrew adds that one of the underlying aims Fujitsu of the new portal is to consolidate allwith their partner For more information, and to register, go to: platforms into one location, ensuringDocument single sign on and partner.imaging-channel-program.com/English an improved partner journey; this aimScanners was based on PFU (EMEA).”

Offer your customers the benefits that digital www.dealersupport.co.uk processes can bring: MARCH 2021 [17]



HOW HAS THE INDUSTRY ADAPTED TO THE GROWTH IN ONLINE COMMERCE? In a year where most of us had to move our professional and personal lives online due to multiple lockdowns and social distancing, we speak to the industry about how this shift looked in their businesses


and their ability to handle online orders, reducing the


need for staffed customer service teams.

In 2020, COVID changed

We saw new channels open. B2B2E – Business 2

everything. It touched the

Business 2 Employee; home workers requiring supplies

way we work, and where we

to facilitate home working - ordered through their

work; it stopped us working

normal business supplies provider, but delivered direct

and it caused more work. Data

to the employee’s home.

suggests that online retailing

From a capability perspective the industry is already

increased by 46.1% in 2020, the highest year-on-year

well-positioned to handle online orders; the biggest

increase since 2008.

challenge to overcome is around the quality of data/

According to the Office for National Statistics, in

content and imagery available to populate their web

Quarter 4, immediately prior to lockdown two, 38% of

stores with. Crucially for consideration is also how any

the UK population worked from home. The impact on

orders will be fulfilled/delivered to the point of need.

our industry varied significantly by region, with London

Today, data/content/imagery is probably adequate

reporting rates as high as 59% of the population

for transactional business - i.e., existing customers

working from home; this change in where we work

simply using the web store as a convenient method to

left offices empty, and often closed, particularly in the

order and re-order what they consume. Where this is


challenged is around consumers using the web stores

Many resellers were able to take advantage of government support and dramatically reduce resource; they were able to capitalise on previous investments,

[18] MARCH 2021


to browse, primarily because they do not always know exactly what they want - or in fact need - to purchase. Let’s take the situation over the last 12 months,


and a product area that we are very familiar with;


BUT, if I had searched for this on my friendly dealer’s

copy paper. I am now working from home. I need

web store would I have actually been presented with a

to print some documents for review and I have a

suitable product that had the appropriate data/content

desktop printer. I need paper… so I visit my regular

to fulfil the search criteria?

office supplies partner’s web store, I search A4 white

The risk here is a dissatisfied customer who chooses

paper and I choose sort by price. I am presented with

to place orders elsewhere. The opportunities for online

a low cost, 80gsm product, of no apparent branding

sales are significant for the reseller; they hold a place of

- great. Order placed. Product arrives next day, work

trust with many of their consumers, and would be the

completed and documents printed for review. However,

go-to, online solution for product.

I now have some issues:

It is really down to brand owners to make sure

1. My home desktop printer is inkjet.

their products can be effectively presented online;

2. The documents I have printed look strange and I

we recognise this has been a weakness, not just for

have difficulty reading the very fine text; the print appears to be feathered. 3. The paper feels flimsy and, as I printed on both

ourselves, but across many brands in the OP market. Online presents challenges and opportunities; if the challenges are ignored, the opportunities will not

sides, I am seeing some ink bleed through the

be realised. Inevitably, some traffic will default back to

sheets making it very difficult to read any text.

analogue methods but, if online is done correctly, there

4. It’s not the whitest of papers compared to the nice ‘stuff’ I usually use through the colour laser printer at work…

is no doubt further growth will be seen. At Antalis we have devoted significant resource to accurately attributing our products, and articulating the content. As a starting point, for the top 1000 lines that

I now have a ream of paper I do not want. I have used

we sell through the office channels, our data partner,

70% of my ink tank - which, incidentally, cost five times

Fusion, will soon be making the data/content available

more than the pack of paper.

to their Evolution X partners.

With hindsight, I should have searched for paper

We are looking forward to working closely with

suitable for inkjet printing - with this thing called

these customers in order to optimise their opportunity

Colorlok - considered a heavier weight than 80gsm

to better serve their consumers. We want to help our

and, perhaps, looked for a higher level of whiteness.

customers do what they do - better.

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [19]




offering, we pride ourselves on being easy to do


business with, and servicing the resellers by offering a


one-stop-shop for all their office furniture requirements.

There’s no doubt that COVID-19

We continuously invest back into the business to give

has had a massive impact on

our customers the very best service levels and selection

people’s shopping habits, across

of mid-market products that offer exceptional quality

all industries, and this switch

and value.

towards a more digital world and

One of the big investments that Dams has made over

online shopping is likely to have lasting effects. This is

the last few years has been in product data, because we

a trend that’s been coming long before COVID, but the

are constantly working to make it as easy as possible

onset of the pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns, has

for dealers to sell as many of our products as they can.

certainly accelerated the switch to ecommerce.

In order to sell online, good product data and content

At Dams we definitely saw a switch to online

is key; without good content it’s hard for customers to

ordering from March 2020, fuelled by the number of

understand the benefits of our products. We make this

people working from home, and this has been very

data available to dealers, and work with them on how to

successful for us. This carried on throughout 2020 and,

present our products to stand out from the crowd.

towards the end of last year, we also saw an increase in people upgrading their home office furniture. So, for example, people may have bought a

We make sure our content is as accurate as it can be, and suitable for end-users, with great descriptions, product features and benefits, and multiple images

budget office chair or desk when first working from

of every single product in our portfolio from multiple

home, but they’re now seeing working from home as a

angles and in location settings. Combine this with

more (or semi) permanent solution they’re upgrading

Dams’ industry-leading delivery service options, stock

to better quality, ergonomic chairs and dedicated

availability, new product development and sales and

workstations – this, potentially, is a good opportunity

marketing support, and it’s clear that Dams are making

for dealers as well.

it as easy as possible for dealers to accept online

As a UK manufacturer with a wholesaler service

[20] MARCH 2021


orders and embrace this new way of shopping.


Productivity tips for the hybrid worker – how to thrive in the new normal

join award-winning author and productivity ninja grace marshall 12th May 10am – 11.30am

Reserve your space today www.reimaginetheworkplace.co.uk




usual January surge, where we averaged £450K per


day for the first week, there has been a slight dip

To start, let me share some very

and levelling out to £380K per day average up to the

interesting - and increasingly

present, so nowhere near the drops of lockdowns

positive - stats, through the

one or two. Over the coming months, as dealers’

lenses of our EvolutionX and

customers get back to something like ‘normal’, I

FusionPlus Data businesses.

have no doubt that we’ll start to see record numbers

January 2020 saw around

going through the stores - probably from mid-Spring

£400K per day being transacted through the network of 250 or so EvolutionX stores in the UK and Ireland.

onwards. Over the last 12 months, while most dealers’

By mid-April that had dropped to around £150K

turnover has been significantly down in the first few

per day as businesses transitioned to working from

months, they are on the path back to pre-COVID

home, furloughing, temporary/full closure, etc.

numbers. Evidence from the EvoX store transactions,

During this time some dealers will have lost some

and feedback from dealers, shows that dealers’

home re-fit business to the likes of Amazon, Argos,

customers who had not previously ordered online are

etc., in the rush for them to get back up and running.

now doing so; they are realising how much quicker

From mid-April, daily transaction numbers started

and easier it is. Having spoken with many of our

to creep back up as dealers and their customers

software house partners - who between us represent

got better organised - we spotted a deluge of new

more than 1,000 dealers in the UK and Ireland - they

user registrations within dealers’ stores, and the

are reporting similar stories.

transaction numbers continued to climb. By mid-October the average was £420K per day

Add into the mix the suppliers who are investing heavily in improving their product content, EDI

- above where we were pre-COVID. We saw more

capabilities, new product innovations and the

FusionPlus partner catalogues being activated to

resilience and camaraderie of all in the supply chain,

increase the product mix on display, and dealers

and it feels like most will be in good shape to push

sourced must-have products in the janitorial and PPE

on and actually take advantage of the ‘new norm’.

categories, as well as everything needed to support a home office. Jumping ahead to ‘lockdown three’ – after the

[22] MARCH 2021


The bottom line is there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel, and online is front and centre of the recovery. Roll on summer, eh?!


New for 2021

acoustic hubs

Designed and developed by industry-leading acoustic experts,

the Chatbox telephone booth is suitable for one person and is the perfect peaceful environment for phone calls away from noise and distractions, offering next generation privacy for a new normality


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full range supplier


delivering service



Top three working from home trends resellers should expect in the next normal The government has announced its roadmap out of lockdown, providing some hopeful news after a long, challenging period. However, one facet of pandemic life seems poised to remain in the next normal - working from home


any UK organisations have already

else they could carve out some space. However, a year

expressed intentions to continue on

on, consumers are wiser, and what was once a short-term

with either fully remote or ‘hybrid’

solution is now a long-term reality. Many understand that

working models that allow their staff

a designated home workspace is now a necessity.

to split their time between home and

This presents a huge sales opportunity for resellers

the office. In fact, in a recent GfK survey sponsored by

to help supply their customers with various options to

ACCO Brands*, over half (55%) of workers stated that

set up an effective home office, or upgrade an existing

their company will look to encourage working from home

space. Here are the top three trends and opportunities

(WFH) in the future, while 74% would like to continue in

which resellers can expect as we enter the next normal.

this way, or start working remotely in the future. For many professionals this was the first time that


working outside of the office was even an option; in

Just as consumers’ needs have evolved, so have their

fact, the GfK/ACCO survey found that over half of those

circumstances. As opposed to the office environment,

working remotely (52%) did not have in place any type

where supply purchases may have been handled by a

of workspace at home. When the pandemic struck, they

designated individual, the purchasing power is now in

set up shop at the dining table, on the sofa, or wherever

the hands of the end-user although - according to the

[24] MARCH 2021




GfK/ACCO survey - fewer than a quarter (23%) of people


who WFH have been offered any reimbursement for

Décor is only one ingredient when creating a home

office supplies required since lockdown. Nevertheless,

workspace that you actually want to spend time in.

the discretion to choose items, and decide where these

Resellers should seize the opportunity to introduce their

are purchased from, now belongs to the end user.

customers to products that will enhance wider wellbeing.

To suit the evolving needs of these customers, and

The WFH ‘commute’ usually entails walking from

to boost resellers’ sales, ACCO UK diversified more

the bedroom to the desk, and not really moving much

product offering, accelerated the launch of its smaller,

from there. Physical wellbeing is, therefore, a real area

consumer-friendly, packs and enhanced its service

of concern. Tools such as laptop risers, standing desks,

proposition with direct shipping. Since the decision

footrests, seat cushions, monitor arms, keyboards and

to purchase now falls to the end-user, marketing

trackballs can truly support proper ergonomic working.

campaigns reflect the need to be WFH-focused to

Kensington has a wide range of options available that

provide resellers with all the necessary tools for driving

are perfect for home office use. A good air purifier can

new business and to make the best possible sales

also be hugely beneficial, removing allergens, and other

proposition to choosy customers.

airborne pollutants, to provide fresh, clean air indoors. The new Leitz TruSens range provides peace of mind


that this is being accomplished by monitoring the air

Now that WFH is here to stay, expect to see your

quality in the room and delivering cleaner air.

customers using this purchasing power to create

With end-users starting to think differently about their

workspaces which reflect their taste and personal style.

home workspaces, and taking control of the products

Office products that do not detract from the décor of

they choose, there has never been a greater opportunity

the home, and which contribute to the creation of a

for resellers to introduce, or upgrade, their customers to

cosy, comfortable space, are going to be in even higher

solutions that will help them create a space they actually

demand from customers this year.

enjoy spending time in.

The new Leitz Cosy range was designed with this trend in mind, and offers some of the brand’s most-

*Impact of remote working on stationery products,

loved products in stylish colours and finishes that

office and IT equipment purchases, GfK, October 2020

complement décor rather than detract from it. Beyond traditional solutions in filing and storage, the range extends to other stylish lifestyle products such as glass clocks, notepads, boards and wireless chargers.

To learn more about the products in the ACCO UK portfolio, and to access useful marketing materials, visit:

www.rexeleurope.com www.leitz.com www.kensington.com

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [25]


[26] MARCH 2021





CLEANING UP In the past 12 months Everything Hygiene has seen its turnover triple. As Des Stevenson explains, extensive planning meant the business could cope - and he is confident that the company can continue to grow in the future


t has been a

business at that point was more than

price and provide every dealer with the

hectic year for

the B2B part of the business.”

backup they need and want.

Des Stevenson,

“I learned very quickly with

managing director


my last employer that you can give

at Everything

Everything Hygiene was able to cope

account managers the best products,

Hygiene. When the COVID-19

with the unexpected surge in demand

and best prices to sell at but, if they

pandemic hit, orders for the hygiene

because of the extensive planning that

are not confident with a product, they

products his company supplies

had gone into the business, such as

will stay away from discussing it, or

rocketed almost overnight.

securing supply lines and establishing

offering the option to their customer.

the warehouse, when it was set up by

We understand that, in order to allow

2020 - we could see what was starting

Des and his business partner Dave

dealers to start supplying restaurants,

to happen,” he explains. “But we

Irvine in 2018.

hotels, contract caterers etc., they need

“Within the UK - even in February

were able to get sanitiser in when

Both men have extensive experience

to be in a position where they have a

the supermarkets were struggling; I

– Dave has more than 40 years in

remember selling two pallets of hand

hygiene and Des has more than a

sanitiser in two hours!

decade in office products. After seeing


the company they had previously

Diversifying Everything Hygiene’s

industry, we struggled to get the basics

worked for grow their hygiene and PPE

product range has also helped. “As

like disposable gloves and FFP masks

business substantially, they believed

a wholesaler, we have been able to

and, when we could get them, we were

they could help office supply dealers

diversify our business to the extent

paying far more for the product - but

compete with larger companies in the

that we now say to customers that our

still selling out in minutes.

office supplies and hygiene market.

business name is ‘Everything Hygiene’

“As with many companies in the

“We also have a retail store and

“Everything Hygiene focused on

hygiene specialist to fall back on.”

- but just take off the ‘Hygiene’ and go

were inundated with customers buying

becoming a dealer wholesaler with

with ‘Everything’!” says Des. “It wasn’t

hand soap, sanitiser, gloves, masks,

PPE, hygiene and janitorial supplies,

easy to do, but we had many suppliers

toilet roll, disposable aprons etc., and

just as the OT Wholesale and VOWs of

who had dealt with Dave or myself,

we could service most of that business.

this world are with office supplies,” Des

historically, and they could see our

Our turnover in the retail part of the

says. “We offer great products at a great

focus and vision for the business

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [27]



Even before a pen has been ordered they will be ordering hygiene or PPE products

wiping surfaces more often – the list


goes on. More and more of the products

Des is now looking to build on

purchased by businesses will be in the

Everything Hygiene’s success, and

hygiene category.”

the company will shortly launch its e-commerce site, which will enable


customers to browse and purchase

This diversity also helped Everything

products from over 50 suppliers.

Hygiene to deal with the changing

“When lockdown is lifted, and

and backed us. We have such good

needs of both dealers and customers

businesses begin to return to their

relationships with our suppliers and

over the course of the pandemic.

offices, our business will continue

that helps us to support the dealers.

“For months we were selling gloves,

to grow,” he says confidently. “As

sanitiser, anti-bacterial hand soap, etc,”

a result of the pandemic there has

the number one reason why we have

Des says. “When the first lockdown

been a shift in consumer buying

been so successful in the current

eased that changed to virucidal surface

behaviour; consumers have adopted

market and has helped us grow as a

wipes and hand gel/soap dispensers,

a single-use policy with a lot of

business during the pandemic. We

floor stands, COVID-19 warning signs

hygiene products, such as mop

were lucky that the business had taken

etc. It then moved on to virucidal

heads, which means high volume

the decision, early on, that we would

multi-surface cleaners, which took

orders. Also, offices and workplaces

diversify into the PPE side of things.”

off as soon as the chemical industry

will be required to supply specific

released a product that could kill the

hygiene products to comply with

SARS-CoV-2 virus.

tighter hygiene controls.

“Diversifying our business was

Des believes that dealers should look at diversifying their offerings into areas such as hygiene. “The hygiene market

“Trying to keep up-to-date has

will only continue to increase in size,”

been tough, but we have managed

being the number one supplier of

he says. “Before the pandemic hit, the

to do it. Many dealers will need to

hygiene and PPE supplies to the office

UK hygiene market was worth about £5

be prepared for office returns as

supplies industry. I want Everything

billion, and overnight that increased.

the priority will be to prepare the

Hygiene to be a company all dealers

“Due to COVID-19 many people

workplace for staff and - even before

know they need to speak to if they

will have changed their habits, including

a pen has been ordered - they will be

are looking to move into the PPE and

washing and sanitising their hands more,

ordering hygiene or PPE products.”

hygiene market.”

[28] MARCH 2021


“Dave and I are passionate about


Work-life patterns are now a seamless blend. We work from the office, home and from almost anywhere. Leitz Cosy combines home style comfort with premium quality. Its minimal, versatile design and inviting matt finish colours create a positive environment wherever you are!




RETURNING TO THE NEW NORM When lockdown conditions ease again, many businesses will look to get at least some of their employees back into the office, but to do so they will have to ensure it is safe for them, and dealers and suppliers will be crucial in this


hile the new

Many people have embraced

Some people find it difficult to

national lockdown,

homeworking; in a survey of more than

find the peace and quiet they need to

announced on

2,000 people 52% said they feel closer to

work at home, while others prefer the

January 4, means

their family, and enjoy a better work-

interaction they get with colleagues in

that all those who

life balance, after working at home for

an office. Many businesses also want a

are able are working from home again,

months and want to continue to do so in

return to normality by getting staff back

when measures are eventually eased,

some capacity in the future, according

into the office.

there will be moves to bring people back

to recent statistics from Future Strategy

to the office.

Club. But it isn’t for everyone.

[30] MARCH 2021


But, when employees come back, there will, understandably, be some



nervousness. Close contact is the

their own suppliers who have their best

acrylic dividing screens between desks -

primary way COVID-19 is transmitted

interests at heart.”

will be dismantled, whether people work

– which means that the office will have

in an open plan office or not.

to be adapted accordingly or, if it has


already been set up to keep employees

People who visit offices, such as

antimicrobial panels which can protect

safe, these measures will need to be

delivery drivers, also need to be

against the transmission of airborne


considered. Patrick explains that

micro bacterial infections over a certain

Data Direct helped provide contact-

meterage will also be popular, and

flexibility in working arrangements in

free deliveries for customers. This

will they help boost the confidence of

the future, we do expect that human

is something else that will continue

employees to return to the office. They

interaction will return back to the

in 2021, adds Rob Burgess, business

can also have other benefits, such as

office for those essential roles, tasks and

consultant at Integra Office Solutions.

reducing sick days.

“While we expect there to be greater

meetings,” says Patrick Winterbotham, managing director of Data Direct.

“Suppliers should encourage

Rob adds that things like

“There is a worry that people will

scheduled deliveries, rather than just-

say ‘COVID’s over; let’s go back to

in-time, to clients,” he says. “If you can,

where we were’ but the only thing

companies which expanded their range

agree a delivery schedule with a client

people want to ditch is the mask,

to include PPE during 2020, Patrick

- maybe weekly deliveries rather than

eventually,” he says. “As long as the

adds, which will be an important

daily to avoid too many trips on-site

acrylic screen looks quite stylish there is

consideration for any return to the

- or even monthly, depending on the

no reason to take it away as people can

office, and equipment to sanitise the


be spreading the ‘flu, the common cold

Data Direct was one of many

office will also be important. To this end, Data Direct recently

“The same delivery processes as now – drop it at the front door and take a

or loads of other illnesses in the office, not just COVID.

launched SmartMister, which can be

photo of it – should be maintained; it is

used to sanitise the office. “Used with

more efficient, so why go backwards to

hands as well? I can’t see anything

the SmartMister solution, an HOCl-

what it used to be?”

wrong with that, and it isn’t a big cost

based formula which kills 99.9999%

Rob adds that if the dealer manages

“So why not keep sanitising your

for companies.

of viruses, this really is the ultimate

their own van fleet this adds another

product to keep offices safe,” he says.

layer of trust, rather than using a courier

for dealers to provide products because

“Using this, our dealers could then

to make deliveries.

loads of offices still don’t have what’s

not only return safely themselves, but

He also believes that the increase in

“There are loads of opportunities

needed. Dealers need to get the message

also provide an income stream by

ordering via the internet is here to stay,

out there to ‘Keep clean in ‘21’. Doing

selling or leasing this to their end-user

and suppliers and dealers need to ensure

this has to reduce sickness days and

customers to completely sanitise their

their sites offer tailored e-commerce

that then boosts productivity. Business

workplaces. Whether it’s an office,

solutions that are simple to use. “Almost

managers need to think about employee

gym, or any other type of workplace,

push button for the end-user,” he says.

welfare and dealers and suppliers should

misting the surroundings effectively

However, when it comes to the

really get behind this.

will fully minimise any further COVID

office, Rob says that, from conversations


he has, he doesn’t think the COVID

will have a sanitiser station and desks

measures businesses have taken - such

facing each other with acrylic screens or

as installing hand sanitiser stations and

toughened glass.”

“Dealers can support businesses effectively knowing there are many of

“A normal office, going forward,

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [31]



Why email marketing works for office supplies businesses With employees set to return to offices, as well as the still-thriving work from home market, there are plenty of sales opportunities for business supplies companies – and they will need clever marketing to ensure they capitalise on them to the fullest extent as Rory Groves, of Force24, explains


n times of

be a massive appetite for your products

and often it’s the brands that keep talking


or services at that minute, there is still

during the unforeseen circumstances that

businesses look

work to be done. Brands must keep

capitalise the most on this!”

to cut costs - and

talking to remain front of mind from a

often one of the

consumer perspective.

first budgets to be cut is marketing

“All the time, during the pandemic,

The best way to communicate with customers is through personalised marketing, according to Rory. “It

- but this can be a false economy, as

the demand for products and services

generates business, and lets people know

Rory Groves, marketing manager

has been building, the difference being

who you are and, when done well, breeds

at marketing automation company

that the budget has not been able to be

trust and familiarity with your customer

Force24, explains: “In times of crisis

signed off due to the uncertain climate we

base and potential customers,” he says.

it’s important for businesses to keep

find ourselves in. This pent-up demand

“The right message is only penetrative

talking,” he says. “While there might not

is bound to be released at some point,

when it hits the right person, on the right

[32] MARCH 2021




channel, at the right time - which means it

begin to sort the data into relevant data

what is relevant to them, as opposed

must be personalised. In such a saturated

sets, which can be divided up however

to blindly shouting, and hoping your

market, when everyone returns to work,

you want them; this means, depending

message hits the right person.”

and every business is trying to make up

on the data set, you can send a different

for lost revenue, how will you stand out

email to each person in each data set.


among them? Personalisation is the key!”

The result? Communications that feel

One of the biggest questions asked of

relevant to them. People are sick of

marketing is to demonstrate a ROI.

for many clients in the office supplies

receiving another generic email that

Historically, this has been difficult to do,

sector, with bespoke components based

doesn’t relate to their wants or needs.

but there are tools now that make it clear

on individualised messages – whether

If you can speak to them with the

how a marketing campaign has fared.

that be industry, job title, current/

right message, at the right time, your

“It’s important to move away from click

lapsed/new customer, POC, etc. – that

engagement rates soar.”

and open rates – what we at Force24 call

This is something Force24 does

are relevant for each person. “The outcome of this, from a lead

As Rory says, using data effectively

‘vanity metrics’ – and focus on the real

in all aspects of the decision-making

commercial value of what you are doing,”

generation perspective, is no more time

process - from triggering automated

says Rory. “It’s all well and good if your

wasted on cold conversations; instead

communications, through to analysing

emails have 60-70% open rates, but what

only hot leads to pass through to the sales

ROI from campaign - is key. “Being able

real value is that bringing in?

team to vastly increase conversion rates,”

to make use of the data your company

says Rory. “From a customer perspective,

has can unlock that extra layer of value

money you’ve put into your marketing,

comms that are bespoke directly for them

from things like segmentation and

and what the ROI has been overall.

are much more engaging.”

personalisation,” he says.

Not all tools can connect the dots to

However, he adds that, historically,

“It’s easy to lose track of what

show these metrics, but Force24 can


clients in the office supplies industry

with its advanced reporting; it can pull

An effective way to do this is through

have been slow to invest in marketing

together stats from all your campaigns,

automation, Rory adds. “This can save

technology in comparison with other

in seconds, so you can see your overall

you up to eight hours a week to let you

industries. “As a result, marketing in

ROI from everything you’ve done.

work on more important things while

the office supplies industry is often

letting the automated journeys work away

‘broadcasting’ - ‘shouting’ at an

coming, and we’re here to help

and nurture in the background without

unengaged audience.

everyone we can squeeze every bit they

you having to do a thing,” he explains. “Highly targeted communications

“In order to truly engage we need

“There’s a huge economic boom

can out of it by providing advanced

to be able to pivot to tell the stories

marketing automation that saves time

are the biggest benefit the customers

most relevant to each individual in that

and maximises engagement and ROI,”

will feel; no longer will they receive

moment in time. Therefore, we need to

concludes Rory.

cold emails that have been sent to them

consider multiple touchpoints to allow

and another 100,000 people from an

all channels to work harmoniously. To

outdated marketing list. Marketing

make the most out of their marketing,

automation will help by first cleansing

and to gain maximum return on

the data which, in turn, will allow for

investment (ROI), companies in the

higher deliverability rates and fewer

office supplies industry should be

emails ending up in spam!

looking at implementing a nurture

“Once cleansed, automation can

process that speaks to people about

For more information about email automation www.force24.co.uk

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [33]



Social Media trends you need to know about in 2021 In 2020 we were forced to transition our businesses online and overhaul the ways in which we market ourselves to the world – but the way you used to advertise your business won’t work in a post-COVID, digital-first decade


ere are three top

way they shop following the COVID-19

your products without even leaving

marketing trends


their social media app. Even in 2018,

that you need to

Lockdown restrictions saw an

in a pre-pandemic world, 55% of

know about in 2021

online shopping boom - so much so

shoppers purchased a product through

to get your business

that Amazon’s stock price rose by 86%

a company’s social media account,

in front of your ideal customers and

in 2020 and its founder, Jeff Bezos, saw

with 87% of buyers claiming that the

build an authentic community around

his net worth surpass $200 billion for

social media content on the brand’s

your brand.

the first time. With physical retail stores

page helped them make a decision

closed, where else could we go?

on a purchase (Avionos, 2018, and


However, Amazon wasn’t the

Absolunet, 2019).

Gone are the days where we used to

only winner here. Social media

scour the high street for the best deals

networks have responded to the

Instagram page, and you sell physical

on the new gadgets, appliances or

demand for seamless online shopping

products, consider how you can use

clothes we wanted; now, everything is

too. Facebook and Instagram have

their new shop features to make the

just a few clicks away from landing on

introduced shoppable content and

purchasing experience smoother for

our doorstep.

storefronts on your profile; TikTok

your customers.

A report published by Alvarez and

If your company has a Facebook or

has introduced shoppable videos and

Marsal and Retail Economics 2020

YouTube is, reportedly, working on


estimated that 17.2 million British

building shoppable elements into their


consumers – that’s close to 25% of the

videos too.

Now you may be thinking, “But we’re

UK’s total population of 66.6 million – plan to make permanent changes to the

[34] MARCH 2021


What are the implications of this? Your customers and clients can buy

B2B, having a storefront on social media won’t work for us.” I’m going to


challenge you to think again. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, at the end of the day we’re all H2H. Every

comments and messages at intervals throughout the day • Set up automatic replies on

purchase decision, negotiation and

Facebook and Instagram thanking

transaction occurs between two or

customers for sending you a

more human beings - and we know that

message and confirming that a

human beings spend an awful lot of

colleague will be replying shortly

time on social media! What does H2H marketing look


• Answers to frequently asked questions about your products • Testimonials and reviews from your customers • Behind the scenes of your business and production process • Introduce your team and their stories.

• Encourage your social media followers to message your company

In summary, the three key social media

like? It’s all about bringing personality

page through calls-to-action in your

trends you need to know about - and

to your brand and the way in which you

posts – for example, “Send us a

take action on - in 2021 are:

interact with your customers and clients

message if you’d like to know more.”

1. Social commerce and shoppable

through social media; social media is supposed to be ‘social’, after all. For the longest time, brands were

social media. 3. VIDEO CONTENT

2. Human to human marketing.

73% of people say they’re more likely

3. Video content.

fenced off from their customers and

to buy an item after watching a video

perceived to be very impersonal and

explaining the product - and product

Which one are you going to get started

corporate entities. Nowadays, social

videos increase the chance of purchase by

with first?

media facilitates comments, replies and

144% (Platt, J., 2014 and Hubspot, 2020).

instant messaging between customers

Even in the B2B world, your

and brands. Having conversations with

customers and clients are tired of seeing

your customers isn’t just a ‘nice thing

the same stock photos, promotional

to do’, it’s an expectation. It’s no wonder

posts and product images; they want to

that customers who message a brand on

be informed, entertained and inspired. In

social media, and get a prompt reply, are

fact, over 60% of LinkedIn users say they

more likely to follow through with their

engage with content because they find it

purchase, buy from that brand again,

educational and/or relevant to them.

and recommend that brand to their

Video content is a great way to

friends and colleagues. This ripple effect

bring your brand to life, inject some of

is unimaginable.

that personality we mentioned in the

Social media customer service could

H2H marketing concept a minute ago,

be what makes or breaks your business

and help your customers make a more

in 2021 and beyond. Here are a few

informed purchase decision. Here are a

things that you can action in order to

few examples of video content that you

optimise your customer experience.

could create for your brand.

• Delegate community management

• Product spotlights (show, don’t tell)

to one of your team members and have them reply to all social media

• How to’s or demonstration videos for your products

DANI BARKER, FOUNDER AT SOCIAL SOURCE Connect with Dani Barker on LinkedIn and Instagram for more social media strategies, updates and insights. Email DANI@SOCIAL-SOURCE.COM

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [35]

Open Doors to new opportunities with

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HOME PRINT MARKET SET FOR GROWTH Home printing has, understandably, risen in the past 12 months and the market is set to continue to perform strongly in 2021, as customers’ demands change to reflect a move to more permanent homeworking


n common with all aspects of the

will need to adapt to the needs of home working, with more

business supplies market, the COVID-19

emphasis on asset tracking, remote management and security.

pandemic presented the print market

“While the term ‘as a service’ continues to be a buzzword

with previously unknown challenges,

in the industry many people overlook and forget that the print

as employees suddenly started using

market has been doing this successfully for years with MPS.

equipment that was previously only for domestic use. However, as Kerrie Spalding, print and supplies general manager at Ingram Micro UK, notes, while the pandemic brought challenges to the print market, it has also shown the

Therefore, we see a significant opportunity for skilled resellers in this field to expand their reach and breadth of solutions while still focusing on print as part of their core offering.” Michele Mabilia, head of product marketing at Kyocera

agility and durability of businesses involved in it to adapt,

Document Solutions (UK) Ltd, agrees that there are

change and rethink how they operate to address changing

opportunities ahead. “Dealers can leverage traditional print

customer demands and re-energise the small office/home

relationships (basic MPS break-fix) to build new services,

office market. “Entry level inkjets and MFPs flew off the

such as managed IT, to deliver improved business outcomes

shelf at the start of the pandemic, and demand for ink has

and create new revenue streams,” he says. “This also

outweighed supply more than ever,” she says.

represents an opportunity to maximise customer life-time

“As the year progressed we saw sales and demand shift to

value, and strengthen the existing customer relationships

devices with higher upfront costs, but better running costs, or

for recurrent and repeated business. It is key for dealers to

contractual/subscription-based printing with added security

collaborate with strategic partners who can provide managed

features and software functionality across print and scan

IT services.

devices.” There should be significant opportunities for the print

“Incorporating home printing into MPS contracts, or offering flexible subscription models for home printing,

reseller market over the course of the next year as more

also represent additional revenue streams; however dealers

companies define their policies on home working, adds

must maintain the right balance between revenue gains and

Kerrie. “Large managed print solutions’ (MPS) contracts

profitability, as home printing may not yield the same

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [37]



level of profitability as office printing.” Michele adds that dealers can also add value by using

at Canon UK & Ireland, agrees that security will be a priority. “The responsibility for protecting home offices is,

remote data collection agents that can track home printing

increasingly, falling on employees,” he says. “In line with this,

usage to provide IT teams with assurance that printing is

we’ve seen a rise in the sale of printers that are compatible


with print security solutions. Partners should be equipped with advice on improving security measures - which will also


help them to form deeper relationships with their customers.”

There are also opportunities for dealers to provide greater security because home workers tend to have remote,


unsecured printers. “Organisations need to protect their data

Security will continue to be a priority in the coming

and IT infrastructure from cloud-based threats,” says Michele.

months even if, with lockdown measures set to ease in

“OEMs and channel partners must expand their security

the coming months, there will be a return of some people

propositions to incorporate a multi-layered security approach

to the office. Hybrid working – where employees work at

including zero trust, integration with IT security endpoint

home for a portion of the week and in the office for the

threat detection and monitoring platforms, SaaS backup and

remainder – looks set be the norm for some, and this presents

disaster recovery, multifactor authentication and security, and

opportunities for dealers to support customers with software

information event management.

solutions that can enhance hybrid working, says James.

“Cybersecurity is not about whether a hacking attempt

“The digitalisation of workflows is, for example, a high

will happen or not, but when and how it will happen. At this

priority for many businesses; resellers should be ready to

point, the home worker is one of the most vulnerable access

offer advice on the best products available,” he says. “Cloud

points and the best form of protection is awareness.

technology solutions are also a big growth area as they

“Working away from a secure office environment opens

support dispersed workforces – they can help employers to

the door to cyber vulnerabilities, even despite the use of a

be confident that their staff are receiving the latest software

virtual private network - which is the most common option

updates, while ensuring that the most sensitive business

offered by companies to their remote workers. Very often

documents are managed and stored securely.

printers can represent an access point; organisations must

“Ultimately, the pandemic has highlighted that hybrid

provide specialised training in remote working security for

working is here to stay in some capacity and, increasingly,

both network administrators and remote users.”

customers and businesses must seek out the best solutions to

James Pittick, director of B2B indirect sales channels

fit this model. While some may struggle with this shift, those who see this as an opportunity to provide customers with a truly end-to-end solution will thrive.”

[38] MARCH 2021



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Data safety at home The pandemic has meant that many more people are dealing with confidential documents at home - but there are plenty of ways dealers can help businesses to stay GDPR-compliant, and ensure that documents are stored or disposed of safely


recent study by Hayes Connors Solicitors

the original documents are then destroyed, with a cross-

found that 45% of employees said that

cut shredder, and disposed of.” Scanners are becoming

they had printed work documents at

quicker and more convenient, offering things like automatic

home. Of those, 35% said they put them

document feeds and fast scanning speeds, Andrew adds.

in the bin at their house, while 31%

said they put them in the bin outside! Meanwhile, 43% of


respondents said they did not shred their documents before

Once documents are scanned there are many options for

disposing of them.

safe storage; cloud storage is becoming a popular solution,

Richard Forrest, Senior Associate at Hayes Connor, called

as it reduces the risk of file loss and offers enhanced security

these results “shocking”, adding that these behaviours mean

while providing access from remote locations. “However,

that documents can easily fall into the wrong hands - and

your chosen solution must have privacy and data protection

the impact can be devastating. “It is far more common than

features in order to enable GDPR compliancy,” Andrew

people might think for criminals to go through bins looking for

explains. “You must also be able to quickly comply with

sensitive data they can use for the purposes of fraud,” he says.

subject access requests, within 30 days, enable the ‘right to be

Andrew Cowling, head of business development and

forgotten’ and have the capability to securely delete data at the

channel marketing at Fujitsu, notes that General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliancy has become more

end of the legal retention period.” Kevin Dobson, product manager for business scanners,

challenging than ever. “You need to have clear policies and

Epson UK, agrees. “The role of scan is as relevant now as it

procedures in place to protect personal data, and this can

was before pandemic, whether you’re working from home

be particularly challenging with customers and suppliers’

or the office,” he says. “Employees still have a need to add

paperwork due to the risk of loss, damage or theft,” he says.

documents to company systems, regardless of whether they

“Scan and shred is a potential solution to these challenges. In a nutshell, paper documents are scanned, indexed, stored;

[42] MARCH 2021


are in the office or at home, by scanning to office or cloudbased systems from anywhere.


“Those with specialist functions that would have needed a


sheets. Now that home and hybrid working looks likely to be

desktop scanner in the workplace - such as accountancy roles

here to stay we have seen a move to replace the small shredders

- will, most likely, still have the same responsibilities and,

bought in haste with larger, more capable machines.”

therefore, the same technology requirements. Multi-function

Jeremy Cooper, UK marketing manager at Fellowes,

devices are a great option for those with smaller, more

agrees that there has been an increase in demand for personal

periodic scanning needs, such as for contracts or expenses,

shredders designed for home and small office use in recent

enabling them to also meet other home working, or home

months. “As we see changes in working environments,

teaching, print requirements.”

product design is becoming ever more important. This means

Kevin adds that it is important that desktop scanners

it has to look good as well as perform brilliantly,” he says.

have software that make them less susceptible to hacking.

“The machines offering high security micro-cut shredding

“While this is a benefit in any environment, it’s of particular

capabilities are the most effective.” By ‘micro-shredding’,

importance in the home office where employees don’t have the

Jeremy means shredders that can reduce an A4 sheet into

same network security measures as they would in the office.”

more than 2,000 unreadable particles that are six times smaller than standard cross-cut.


He points out that yet another consideration when

Mark Harper, head of sales UK&I - office technology - at

shredding at home is safety. “Fellowes’ LX models have

HSM (UK) Ltd. points out that home scanning into backed-

patented SafeSense Technology, which automatically stops the

up company systems means there can be a lot of paper that

machine from shredding if hands (or paws) touch the paper

needs to be destroyed as soon as it is no longer required in

opening, providing extra peace of mind when using around

paper form - especially if it contains personal data. “Taking

children or pets.”

reams of paper back to the office to shred on infrequent visits is not only impractical for many; those documents present a


security risk until they are effectively destroyed,” he warns.

Of course, documents must be kept safe before they

He adds that the type of shredders being purchased has

are destroyed and, as Leon Haigh, UK sales manager at

changed in recent months. “We saw lots of very small shredders

Phoenix Safe notes, there are a range of small, home,

being bought at the start of lockdown one, but any busy

fire and security safes available that allow employees to

homeworker who is printing, scanning and needing to routinely

keep important documents and digital media secure and

shred documents will become frustrated incredibly quickly with

protected from burglary or fire. “We can also provide

a five-sheet personal shredder. These workers are much better-

a desktop solution through our multimedia drawers,

served with a small business shredder that will shred 10 or 15

pedestal size, lockable storage cupboards or fire files which

sheets at a time into a bin that will hold at least several hundred

can easily sit under a desk.”

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [43]



LIVE IT Life hack Clean jewellery with sparkling water. This simple trick will revive gold jewellery if you combine it with washing up liquid and let it soak for five minutes. The combination loosens soiling and removes debris.



THUMBS UP A furry friendship As reported by BBC News, a blind fox, rescued from the side of a road, has formed an unlikely indoors friendship with a dog and a deer. The animal, named Woody, had more than 150 ticks when he was brought as a cub to Geoff Grewcock, who runs Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, after a passing motorist spotted him last March. Despite a bleak prognosis, Woody recovered to take meals with greyhound Orla and ‘hang out’ with deer, Bramble. “He is an outstanding fox - and he thinks he’s a dog,” Geoff says.

Quote of the month “You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.” – Maya Angelou –

[44] MARCH 2021



Did you know?



Grapes go on fire in the microwave. Back in 2011 a physicist at the University of Sydney went viral after he placed a grape in the microwave and filmed the fiery aftermath - and, oddly enough, scientists couldn’t explain the phenomenon until quite recently. A March 2019 study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reported that the fruity fireball occurs as a result of the loose electrons and ions that cluster to form plasma when grapes get hot.


1. In which year was Concorde first flown? 2. What is Samuel L. Jackson’s middle name?

Locked up or locked down

4. Where is the gluteus maximus muscle located? 5. Which American singer has recorded albums entitled Glory, Femme Fatale and Blackout? Answers: 1. 1969 2. Leroy 3. Ear 4. Buttocks 5. Britney Spears

Knock me down with a feather

3. Where would you find the smallest bone in the human body?

A man, wanted by police, handed himself in so he wouldn’t have to spend more time in lockdown with the people he lived with, Sky News has reported. Officers said the man was wanted

What a wonderful world

for recall to prison and gave himself up at Burgess Hill police station in

Blossoming beauty

order to get some ‘peace and quiet’.

BBC News has reported that The National Trust is planning to plant dozens of blossoming trees, including cherry, hazel and plum, at different sites around the UK. As part of the plan, a circle of 33 trees will be planted across the capital, each one representing a borough plus the City of London. Designs are being finalised for groves in Nottingham, Newcastle and Plymouth - and other sites will follow. The project will help improve access to nature for those in towns and cities. The idea is to try to create a UK equivalent of Japan’s concept of ‘Hanami’ - the annual celebration of flowers, and the coming of spring.

Inspector Darren Tayor, from Sussex Police, explained the unusual turn of events in a post on Twitter. “Peace and quiet! Wanted male handed himself in to the team yesterday afternoon after informing us he would rather go back to prison than have to spend more time with the people he was living with!“

www.dealersupport.co.uk MARCH 2021 [45]


F A T H E R P. C L I P

Bringing hope, peace and unity to the good brethren of the business supplies community

The good Father discusses the office’s furry friend and why they were a key member of the team

I have noticed

office as part of a shipment from

he was here for so long. Who could

recently that lots

a wholesaler, I think he sneaked into

take his place? It’s a hard decision to

of office supplies

one of the boxes and caused quite

make and one we don’t take lightly but

companies have

a lot of damage which, for once, we

we’ve been looking out for a new

a company

couldn’t blame on them. He jumped

canine companion and Mrs O’Reilly 

pet. I’m not sure if it’s a consequence of

out and made himself at home in

(who doesn’t like dogs) is going to

lockdown, but it’s certainly something

the warehouse and everyone here

see one today to see if its suitable and

that can improve the office mood. It

immediately became attached to him. 

everyone has already started to suggest

also gives you an excuse to post cute

We had some wonderful times


names for our new pet.

pictures on social media and make the

together, we even trained him to

office out to be a modern and happy

pick out products in the warehouse

in the office I can feel a ghostly

animal-loving place, even if it is a

and fulfil orders, but he had his

presence. I’m not claiming that Sharpy

miserable hell hole with no sign of any

limits. He couldn’t input the

is haunting us or anything daft like

enjoyment whatsoever.

orders into the system or speak

that, but other people have claimed

to customers, so when it came to those

that they can hear a low growl as

passed away recently and in doing

sorts of duties we just threw a ball in

they walk past some suspension files

so he created a very sad office mood.

the warehouse and let him spend a

and others have said they detected

Certainly, for the first week or

couple of hours trying to find it.

a low whimpering after moving a

Sadly, our own office dog, Sharpy,

Sometimes now when I’m alone

so as people were still calling him and

We were advised that the best way of

bringing in snacks for him and feeling

getting over the loss of Sharpy was to get

Perhaps he’s keeping an eye out for

very down when they remembered

another dog right away. This might work

picking errors? I don’t know, but it’s nice

that he was no longer there.

for some office suppliers but it’s a very

to think that he left his mark in the

hard thing to comprehend when

company and his memory lives on.

Sharpy first arrived in our

[46] MARCH 2021 www.dealersupport.co.uk

box of permanent coloured markers.



Data-driven strategy Cassie Marvin, marketing consultant at Sense Marketing, on utilising data to enhance your marketing strategy


t was 17 years

dealers? And how do they go about

ago that I studied

creating one?


Before embarking on any new

by Objectives –

strategy it’s worth remembering that

known as MBO

nothing worthwhile ever comes easily,

- by Drucker. His philosophy focused

and if developing a data-driven strategy

around ‘What gets measured gets

was simple every business would be

managed’ and he talked about company

doing it. But don’t be deterred, the

goals and S.M.A.R.T objectives.

rewards for doing it well are significant.

I won’t lie, I found it fairly tedious

Cassie Marvin

So, you have a stack of ‘customer

and didn’t appreciate the significance

information’, where do you begin? It’s

of it at the time, but I did take away

important at the start to draft your

may deliver some interesting results

the principle of the topic - don’t waste

goals – what do you want to achieve?

- such as patterns or trends that you

time measuring everything that moves.

Higher customer retention rates? More

may not have not noticed before. If

Instead, spend your energy determining

new leads from your website? Building

you’re looking at website analytics, is

what to measure, and what importance

better brand reputation? Or maybe your

there a certain day that you receive

will be placed on those numbers.

goal relates to your products, services

more visits? If you ran a social media

or pricing? Starting with one clear

promotion, which post delivered the

measurement and data is that not

objective will give you focus and clarity

most engagement? Why might that be?

everyone is analytical. Sometimes the

on why you are going to invest valuable

task of trawling through spreadsheets

time in looking into your data.

I think one of the issues with

and CRM systems can be a daunting

Consider what data will be the most

The power of data lies in what you do with it. Many times I have heard businesses talk about the ‘thousands’ of

one, particularly when we are all so

useful and relevant in supporting your

customer records that they historically

busy. However, our world has changed,

goal. Sources could include Google

hold, and yet no analysis, reporting or

and businesses need to get smarter in

and social media analytics, your

activity is done with these.

how they market themselves to existing

in-house database or CRM system,

and potential customers.

customer survey information - or even

fire for a business. My advice? Find

information collected by your customer

the time to spark interest within your

service team.

business to consider a data-driven

Competition is fierce, and customers can be fickle, so how can a data-driven strategy benefit office

Taking an initial look at your data

Data can be the fuel that lights the


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