Trade Price Guide

In 2018 City Plumbing set out to aggressively disrupt the Plumbing and Heating arena. We knew our market was changing both for installers and contractors.
More of our competitors were using online, customers wanted to have better relationships with suppliers and also wanted a seamless and quick trading journey by having all the products they need in one place, with one invoice. At the same time, we knew we needed to provide a more tactical experience for specialists products.

So as a company we started to simplify our business with a new operating model – restructuring our office and regional and national sales. We also introduced an extended range of products – with trusted prices, great availability and convenient and fast ways of purchasing.

We then spent 6 months researching and planning: understanding how customers buy products and what their purchase journey looked like and how our range size and prices compared with our competitors. We introduced 22 new product ranges and repriced 1,000’s of products to be at a market competitive position.

The next step was to make the customer journey easier and this led to the launch of the City Plumbing Trade Price Guide (TPG).

The objective of the TPG was to house all our ranges in an easily accessible guide that installers and contractors could use when they needed products and pricing at their fingertips.

It needed to be compact enough to fit into a side door of a van/glove compartment and visually share all the brands our customers know and trust It also needed to be linked to the City Plumbing website so tradespeople could have a seamless sales journey – from their brochure to their online basket.

It needed to be simply done – batching all relevant products together, giving top tips on additional products they may need to finish the job, also providing some education on our proposition and what we have to offer. Reaching out to our existing customers and reacting our lapsed customers. The Guide was also used to reach out to prospect customers. The Trade Guide was also to be used as a product guide for our branch network and sales teams.

The first Trade Guide took over 4 months to create from planning to print, starting at 480 pages and over 6,000 product lists, 23 different categories including our new Electrical range which launched earlier in the same year. We had 75,000 copies printed, costing £110k in all.

We then spent a further £275k on above the line activities including SEO, PPC, On The Tools, Captify, Radio, Social Media and Quantcast.

We targeted 1.2m customers with email campaigns over a 6 week period, across our existing customer base and prospect customers. All backed up by a direct mail campaign to 10,000 prospect plumbing and heating Engineers and 6,000 lapsed customers with voucher offers to encourage spend and reactivate. £20k was spent on branch POS to support the campaign backed up by incentives to encourage engagement with the branch network.

Other activities we used to drive engagement included Statement stuffers, PHPI magazine, Monthly Deals, Invoice ticketing, Telesales and sharing the TPG guide on Showroom Rewards – our incentive programme for installers.

The results
The results were phenomenal. YoY sales saw a huge 14.2% increase. We also saw the largest number of customers trading with us in the launch month, for three years (32,573).

TPG products sales improved from pre to post-launch by 5.4% equating to £2.4million sales and £0.5 m trading margin. PPC had it’s best month with 27.5k sessions at an ROI of 14%.

ATL digital expenditure generated 2.7 million impressions and 18,595 clicks. The TPG landing page online was viewed by 6,925 unique devices 7,905 times. Quantcast display ads were served 1.6 million times.

Unmanaged customers – TPG drove sales improvement in all categories with the biggest improvement in Heating.

Activity to push the Trade Price Guide to lapsed customers delivered a reaction rate of 14.1%.

The Trade Price Guide campaign helped drive a strong peak in October to our online website of 306k total sessions – 28% or 65k sessions up in September and

118% YoY. TPG online landing page was viewed by 6,925 devices 7,905 times.

Our customers and branches actively use the guide on a daily basis and anecdotal feedback has been very positive leading to the production of 3 more editions.

We have on our fourth edition of TPG, in one year, and have increased the page count by 180 pages and product lines by over 2,000.
This now includes the growing range of Electrical products, new and extended ranges across all categories, stronger proposition messaging and cross-selling categories, backed up by better availability in branch.

We’ve also been more selective in how many copies and collateral we send out to branches. They now get the right POS for what they need and the availability to order more if needed, therefore reducing waste and costs.