Despite the economic impact of Covid-19 and uncertainty over the looming Brexit deadline , the home improvement industry continues to operate well above expected levels – giving companies the opportunity to build strong sales pipelines and , hopefully , improve margins .
However , behind the scenes , it ’ s a different tale . Several major suppliers have collapsed , placing even more demand on existing over-capacity manufacturers , while material shortages and supply-chain issues plague the industry .
Meanwhile , a string of installers have also gone bust . According to Insight Data , 2020 has seen more changes across the industry than in any year since 2008 / 09 .
Not surprising perhaps , but it begs the question ‘ what will 2021 look like ?’
The good news is the outlook for 2021 appears positive for our industry as a whole . Economic downturns and recession do not
affect all sectors equally – while some are devastated , others can grow , and the home improvement market has seen a resurgence as more people work from home and avoid long-haul holidays .
However , I suspect we will see some big changes in 2021 , and that there will be more winners – and losers – than ever before .
It ’ s no surprise that Insight Data reports a huge uptake in new database subscribers keen to get a clearer picture of the industry and identify new opportunities and markets .
The two titans in any business are ‘ cash ’ and ‘ brand ’. If a company has enough reserves , it can withstand difficult trading , and , if need be , invest in new markets or acquire other businesses . Strong brands ensure customer loyalty and instil trust – crucial at times of uncertainty .
2021 will see a shift in the industry , and the winners will be those investing to acquire market
share ; either organically through strategic sales and marketing activities , or through acquisition .
The losers will be those that stand still – fail to invest , make cutbacks , or simply don ’ t react to the tsunami of change that we all face .
One thing is for sure , the opportunities ahead will be immense . Taking action now to map out your 2021 plans is essential . That means investing in operations and facilities , but it also means getting your sales and marketing strategy right .
For trade suppliers , staying visible is crucial – even if you don ’ t want more new business right now . Focusing on your brand , rather than new customer acquisition , will pay dividends as supply-chains level off and capacity increases .
Now is a great time to build your new website and plan a strong PR , digital marketing and advertising strategy for 2021 ,
while using the Insight Data Salestracker database will provide unique market intelligence for your sales and marketing team .
Don ’ t ignore traditional marketing or face-to-face . 2020 may have pushed people online , but the window , door and conservatory industry is all about people , and deals are done on a handshake ( or elbow nudge ). 2021 brings us both the FIT Show in May and the Glazing Summit in October , both of which will attract real industry decision-makers .
Installers will face new challenges in 2021 . The impact of Covid-19 has accelerated digital migration even among more traditional customers . For installers to survive or flourish , they must invest in their website , social media channels , digital marketing and online reputation .
However , as more installers than ever invest in their digital presence and lead generation , competition increases , and the online marketplace becomes the new battleground . To stand still – or to grow – companies will need to invest in increasingly
sophisticated digital marketing strategies .
So how do installers succeed in this new digital landscape ? The harsh truth is that companies who fail to make the move to a strong online presence will eventually lose .
However , consumers will always gravitate towards brands they know and trust . The companies who invest not only in their online marketing , but also their brand , will emerge the winners in the long run .
And , ironically , the best way to build your brand is offline . Showrooms , radio , local PR , print media , sponsorship and leaflet drops instil trust and credibility , and as a result , amplify online results .
Taking steps now to review your business and marketing strategy will help prepare your business for a bumpy 2021 .
Andrew Scott is a leading industry consultant who has acquired , built and sold several companies . He is the founder and MD of Purplex Marketing and Insight Data .
www . purplexmarketing . com