Own-brand products in the building and construction industry often have a strong customer and value driven offer, which in many cases can then establish the brand as a preferred alternative choice in its own right. Chris Woollard, CCF Category Group Manager for Interiors, discusses the importance of delivering own-brands as an important part of the product mix for customers of distributors.
Own-brand products on a whole have previously been subject to a number of misconceptions, such as being the cheaper or lesser quality option. However, as a result of investments in product development over the years the reality is that own brand products often can, and do, exceed the required levels of performance.
A Commercial Competitive Offering
For building contractors, installers and specifiers, own-brand products can be trusted to deliver. In fact, it is has become an expectation of customers, that when choosing products, a variety of choice is there. Without own brands on the shelf – to have a compelling proposition to meet all market place price points –the likelihood is that the customer will take their business elsewhere.
The Preferred Choice
Not just a market filler, own-brands can also come to the fore as the preferred choice, this is especially true where they have been established over a number of years. Customers have come to realise that the testing, performance and warranties, as well as compliance to Building Regulations are on par as a credible alternative to the other brands found on the distributor’s shelves.
This is arguably none truer than CCF’s Tradeline range of drywall solutions, of internal wall-partitioning systems, which integrate and extend into ceiling and flooring, to vital fixing and finishing components. The range has established an impressive following thanks to the breadth, availability and performance of its products. Additionally, it is clear from CCF’s experience that as long as the solution is proposed at the right level, backed by a robust system warranty and at the right price point, own-brand is a valuable addition to the product mix. The point is to offer choice which is why distribution is chosen in the first place as the ‘go to’ for the trade, who need a host of product options if they are to meet extensive client briefs.
As with all products, own-brands do have constraints, and cannot be used in some instances where the customer or building designer requests a specific product. This is part and parcel of the construction industry and is to be expected, however flexibility in projects isn’t unheard of and depending on the requirement a competitive equivalent may be needed to complement the order detail at any stage, which is where a credible own-brand can be a useful and viable alternative, as the preferred choice in a crowded marketplace.
Similarly, if a customer is bound by compatibility or warranty issues, it may be unsuitable to mix and match different branded goods. It’s always worth checking with customers beforehand to ensure that any products chosen or intended to be used will not put the end-user in a position where they cannot claim if a system develops an issue. However, for most every day applications, such as general fixings, compounds and more, products, including own-brand, are at the choice of the distribution customer.
Overall, putting choice at the heart of the customer proposition is what makes a distributor’s offering so appealing. It is up to the own brand to continue to add value to its product ranges, which are achieved by carefully listening to and responding to the ever changing needs of the trade.