DIY and Industrial Trade News asked Gert Senekal, Group Operations Executive for the Essential Hardware Group a few questions around its plans with the new paint retail store.
DIY: You’re starting an exciting new store concept offering stores an option to specialise in paint on two levels – décor (trend) and specialised coatings under the highly successful banner of the Essential Hardware Group. Why start a specialist paint retailer?
Senekal: The need for niche retail solutions in our market is growing as consumers are looking for specialist advice away from the ‘big box’ environment. Paint and finishes are a growing trend in the independent sector, this offers a great opportunity (for an organisation with the muscle of the Essential Group to add value) to specialised independent retailers, under a consolidated national brand with tried and tested deals and support structures.
DIY: What makes Paint Trend ‘n Trade different to the other specialist paint suppliers already in this retail space?
Senekal: Paint Trend ‘n Trade has the full support of all structures within the Essential Hardware Group, under a well-developed and differentiated brand. Included in this is a private label brand, which is called ‘Qolor – Switched On Coatings’ and is manufactured by the winners of the DIY and Industrial Trade News Paint supplier of the year 2016 – Excelsior Paints.
The private label offers you, the independent retailer, an opportunity to make much healthier margins on quality benchmarked coatings with ‘category busting’ guarantees. You also receive an additional 1-year life expectancy from any equivalent Qolor product on offer from the equivalent competitive product.
DIY: Why would an existing specialist paint store choose to join Paint Trend ‘n Trade?
Senekal: As an independent retailer in South Africa, one would understand the retail landscape is an extremely competitive space with huge corporates systematically consuming markets, traditionally serviced by ‘Mom and Pop’ independents. We see a lack of cohesion and ability to negotiate better deals, as well as difficulties in market due to lack of ‘ economies of scale’.
Under an organised brand, the independent retailer can compete directly with the ‘big boxes’ and fully retain its independence and ability to trade. Over and above this, we offer bulk negotiated trade agreements with all major suppliers and additional growth categories, which may be introduced to your business to enhance your performance and satisfy your consumer.
The additional support structures made available to you include marketing, trading and community involvement (to name just a few) and will place your business in the forefront of the community you serve.
DIY: You offer a growth guarantee to new members of 10% above CPI – How is this guarantee possible and what will Paint Trend ‘n Trade be doing to guarantee this minimum growth and exceed the industry averages?
Senekal: Our Growth Performance Guarantee is an industry first which will mitigate any perceived risk that the retailer may see in joining our group. Unlike competitive groups that ‘over promise and under deliver’, we will put our ’money where our mouth is’. We confidently assure that if growth of 10% above CPI cannot be achieved in your store, for the guarantee period, using our systems and professional advice, you will receive a full refund. This refund will include your membership fee, joining fee and retain the rebates you earned during the period.
Therefore, there is absolutely no downside for any retailer; you finally have a win, win, solution for your independent business.
DIY: What kind of growth are you offering? Top line revenue or bottom line?
Senekal: The Performance Growth Guarantee gives you the assurance that using our professional team of consultants will add 10% above prevailing CPI to your “top line” growth.
DIY: You are offering a Private Label Paint Range. What will constitute its range and who will be manufacturing this range on your behalf?
Senekal: The independent retailer, need a tool to set them apart that offers a quality product range, with an opportunity to grow margins and enhance your total offering as well as profitability.
We proudly announce that, in conjunction with Excelsior Paints, we have developed the Trademarked Qolor (Color) range of ‘Switched On Coatings’. This will enhance your offering to the consumer, with category busting life expectancies, which will offer more credibility in the eyes of your consumers.
Senekal: Qolor is obviously a play on the word Color, which speaks to exactly what is on offer to you in the range. Using the ‘Q’ allows for the use of the universal ‘power’ symbol and hence the payoff line, ‘Switched On Coatings’.
The brand has been trademark protected to offer you the assurance that you have exclusive right to stock and market this brand without any other group or retail chain challenging your position.
DIY: Are there any special unique selling points for the private label?
Senekal: Simply put, we have the backing of the award – winning Excelsior brand, and an additional year of life expectancy when compared to competitive products, this means you will have a range of effective fast movers which will compete in the known value item categories.
The payoff line for the Qolor range is, ‘Switched On Coatings’, because by using this range, retailers have the means to ‘Switch On’ their profitability through enhanced quality at an affordable price. Again, we offer your consumer’s peace of mind, with Qolor’s additional one year
DIY: Will the décor side of the business (trend) include a full range of décor products?
Senekal: Trend offerings comprise elements encompassing ‘Walls, Floors and Ceilings’. Currently this is a high margin growth sector in the market offering the traditional paint retailer an opportunity to expand your business into new categories. This will give the opportunity for superior margins, which will enhance value to your customer and grow your business significantly, should you wish to expand your range offering.
DIY: When you refer to Paint Trend ‘n Trade as a ‘Specialty Paint Destination’ what is it that makes it ‘Specialty’?
Senekal: Paint is generally a more specialised environment because of the nature of the product, specialised advice, application, performance factors and requirements, specifications and many more aspects.
Paint Trend ‘n Trade is viewed as a specialised coatings destination due to the fact that not only is there a comprehensive decorative coatings strategy, but also an industrial solution, an automotive solution as well as specialist wood finish and application solutions.
DIY: Please describe your ideal store including your long term vision
Senekal: The ideal store is an attractive well-differentiated environment that offers all consumers a destination that is ‘solutions’ orientated, with competitive ranges and is also grounded in community values.
The long-term vision is to establish Paint Trend ‘n Trade as a leading destination colour and trend retail solution for every community is South Africa.
DIY: What type of retailer fits your target audience?
Senekal: If you are currently a specialist retailer with a large component of paint as your offering to your community, we would like the opportunity to add value to your business through a wide range of business tools without any risk to you or the business you have built over the years.
Using The Industry First performance guarantee, we aim to give you ‘peace of mind’ that we take you and your business seriously and that you are not just a number. To us, you are an integral part of our strategic focus, which is backed by a team of expert retail professionals.
DIY: What type of consumer will the brand attract?
Senekal: The Paint Trend ‘n Trade brand serves a multi-faceted market including, Decorative coatings and solutions, Industrial, Automotive and Specialist wood finish coating solutions. The paint Trend ‘n Trade brand is targeted at the higher end of the LSM range, as well as the paint contractor, trade and property developers.
DIY: What is the goal for the first year?
Senekal: Paint Trend ‘n Trade’s strategic intent is to achieve twenty stores in the first year of business and then become established as the leading paint and finish retail solution for independent retailers in every community throughout South and Southern Africa.
We believe that if we put in some honest, hard work and partner with retailers with similar values, the sky is the limit. We would like to see a store in every suburb and town throughout our beautiful country, changing communities and consumer’s lives for the better with products, services and new initiatives.