market review suppliers creating schemes rewarding partner loyalty in a bid to gain competitive advantage and incentivise retailers to promote their products and brands. Commenting on the benefits of becoming a Handicare partner, Paul said: “Our Partner Programme is designed to help increase dealers’ commercial activity as well as rewarding their commitment and loyalty and it’s really been gaining momentum over the last six months. For us, it’s all about choice, and we’d like to allow our partners to choose how much support they want from their preferred product partner. Next year promises to be an exciting one, and we’d love to welcome even more dealers to the programme.” This is a business model also being adopted in the younger home lift market by Stiltz, who launched their new Stiltz Home Lift Training Academy just over a year ago. The company has enthusiastically promoted the new training scheme to retailers, designed to enable partner companies to install the domestic lifts into customers’ homes themselves, rather than relying on Stiltz’ installation teams. “It has been very successful with
several dealers graduating from the programme,” said Gino Farruggio. “Our overall aim is to have a trade dealer representing Stiltz Lifts in every major city or town in the UK. However, while we have had lots of interest and approaches from businesses, we are very mindful of the way we select our trade dealer partners because it is paramount that the customers receive the highest level of service from them.” For retailers unable to participate in the programme, the home lift specialist offers two alternative tiers for dealers to become involved. “There is the option of the entrylevel Stiltz Lead Referral Scheme where the dealer promotes and markets Stiltz products, then passes on enquiries and receive commission on the sales (of up to £1,000 per sale),” detailed Gino. “Alternatively, a mid-tier programme is available whereby dealers promote and market Stiltz products, complete the sale and receive an even higher commission, but we complete the final survey and install the lift.” Referral schemes provide retailers that lack the infrastructure to assess and install stairlifts and home lifts with the potential to earn high
David Harrison, Sales and Marketing Director at Companion
commissions and offer additional products and services to customers without expensive investment. This is a model that drives Companion Stairlifts, as David explained: “Collaboration and strong partnerships have always been important to us at Companion; they are indicative of the way we conduct our business in a way that benefits our customers, partners, suppliers, employees and our community. We’re in business to be successful and grow; but it’s how we achieve this
WHAT DO RETAILERS REALLY WANT? Speaking with TPG DisableAids’s Alastair Gibbs, he told THIIS that some of the loyalty schemes offered were of little interest to him when choosing who to partner with. “We are main agents for many of the leading brands of stairlifts that are either manufactured or sold in the UK,” explained Alastair. “Some of the ‘Loyalty Schemes’ that are offered are of minor interest; in all honesty, we are often looking for a more serious commitment to partnering.” Installing around 1000 stairlifts each year, the retailer is a long-term supplier and installer of stairlifts to many different buyers and has contracts with Local Authorities, Housing Associations and also supplies lifts on Disabled Facilities
46 | www.thiis.co.uk
Grants and privately. For Alastair, there are two key areas which determine whether he works with brands; product quality and marketing support. “It is of little interest to us to have a short term special offer or extra discount or points for prizes if the core product offering has shortcomings. I often use the phrase, ‘Make me Comfortable’. This means I am comfortable in the knowledge that the product is of good quality, it is reliable, it has sufficient features and options to fulfil our customers’ requirements, and it is backed up by professional people that understand how dealers and distributors work,” said Alastair. The retailer noted that high percentage of profit on the day of
install was not what he was after if it was eroded away during the course of the warranty, resulting in no margin and an unhappy customer. He continued: “Additionally, I often think many manufacturers are slow or poor in their marketing support. It is all very well supplying quantities of glossy leaflets but that is Point of Sale, it is not marketing. What I would look for is how can we work together to bring customers to our door or encourage them to make contact in the first place.” Many retailers are keen to work with manufacturers that have got the core offer correct and understand how to meaningfully work with retailers to really add value to the relationship.
In the December issue of THIIS, we catch up with retailer Aid and Enable to find out how one article changed the future of the business. Thi...