The building materials supply business is anything but usual right now. The good news is that your customer is still on a journey to find you, even amid disruption – it’s just changed. That’s why it’s more important than ever for builders’ merchants to fast track to a fitter future with a digital marketing strategy.

“Traditional builders’ merchants aren’t built to last unless they adapt and survive,” says CMDi’s Managing Director, Dianne Lucas. “The COVID-19 situation is making even the old non digital-savvy buyers demand the convenience online services bring; if merchants aren’t e relevant they risk becoming irrelevant. E-Merchant Accelerator is the only solution in the market proven to accelerate their switch to digital trading and marketing at the same time.”

Why time is running out for merchants to switch

A logistics specialist has warned retailers to plan now for 40% of retail sales to be made online at the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak, which is double the current 20% of all retail sales. Due to the length of the crisis, this behaviour is likely to become ingrained in people’s behaviour just as the 1988 postal strike virtually created the fax machine market overnight.

Merchants need to act now to prepare themselves for the digital transformation taking place and adapt to be relevant to an increasing number of digital savvy buyers.

It’s not just about your website

Many merchants believe that digital transformation is just about having an online trading system. This is of course vital, but it’s far from being the only element. Merchants also need to consider a wider, fuller approach to their transformation including brand, segmentation, customer experience, and a digital marketing strategy.

4 steps to successful digital acceleration:

1. Explore. In order to transform your digital marketing and online presence, you need to explore what the changing customer landscape is and get closer than ever to your customers’ purchasing habits and needs.

2. Create a sense of urgency. Creating a sense of urgency is the best way to avoid the risk of leaving change too late and now there has never been more of a reason to act fast.

3. Create a transformation strategy. It’s essential to move swiftly against risks and towards opportunities. To do this, you have to build lasting transformation capabilities and strengthen your brand, as well as your digital trading approach.

4. Choose the right partner to drive change. Businesses tend to drive change with a very linear, project-management mindset. You need a partner who will help run your transformation as a comprehensive programme under one consolidated agenda. Change will then happen faster, more efficiently and far more cost-effectively.

Take action

Whatever stage of digital transformation a merchant business may be at, now is the time to accelerate to a smarter solution with a robust strategy, or take the first step to a new e-commerce trading platform, if you don’t already have one.

CMDi are BMF Service Members and the BMF’s long-term strategy partners. E-Merchant Accelerator is supported by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF). CEO John Newcomb describes the programme as “a vital tool to help our members get future fit fast”.

For more information please view the E-Merchant Accelerator service page. Alternatively you can contact Dianne Lucas, MD, CMDi, on 01483 924766 /

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