Profit from the Green Agenda

11/01/2011 | With the risk of a double dip looming it’s more important than ever for retailers to create their own space in the bathroom market, to differentiate their products and services, and to up-sell with added value. Well what a sentence! It’s full of marketing buzz but it is quite true that only savvy bathroom retailers who pull their finger out and are pretty quick at changing their offer to meet latest demands will survive. You only have to look at the retailer closures over the last twelve months to see that the dinosaurs have had their day. “There is one area of the bathroom where we know that retailers are missing a trick. It is in the upsell to eco-products,” comments Yvonne Orgill, Chief Executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association. “There was a lot of discussion about water efficient products at last November’s Bathroom Conference and speaker after speaker talked about how the industry, from manufacturers through to installers, could benefit financially from the Green Agenda. The average Mr and Mrs Consumer are blissfully unaware of the latest stylish and ultra water efficient bathroom fittings now available. Manufacturers have jumped through hoops in the last few years to create bathrooms which both look good, perform well and, more importantly, save utility bills. But the average couple looking to refurbish their bathroom has no idea of what is available. Retailers, therefore, have a major part to play in educating the public of the latest trends, and upselling to green products. And at the same time they can improve their margins.” Bathrooms have a come a long way since the recession kicked in. Who’d have thought back then that WCs flushing with an average of just 3 litres would be widely available? Who’d have thought that cool surface click-stop flow-control taps would become a favourite? Product designers have been really busy creating bathrooms which look great and perform well. The task is now to get these eco-friendly fittings embedded into the market psyche. “Bathroom manufacturers, members of the BMA, realised five years ago that a dedicated Water Label was an essential ingredient in the marketing of eco bathrooms. With that in mind the Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme was born and during 2011 we saw it grow bigger and brighter than ever,” says Orgill. The 1600-plus eco bathroom fittings now listed on the scheme can be found in the web-based searchable files. Additionally over 1100 stockists, showrooms and retailers have registered their details with the scheme, for free, at www.water-efficiencylabel.org.uk/ The Water Label is similar in design to the familiar energy label found on white goods. It clearly shows the volume of water that the product will use if installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Consumers now have a choice – they can choose to go green, and select the most water efficient products from the list. Besides doing their bit to help resolve the UKs water shortage they will also save on their own water and energy bills. Whether we like it or not the drive towards water and energy efficiency is here to stay and the government has pledged to resolve the shortages. Consumer attitudes are gradually being changed but a clever retailer will seize the opportunity - now - to upsell their offering, push the latest eco products and profit from the green agenda with the Water Label as their guide. www.water-efficiencylabel.org.uk www.thewatercalculator.org.uk

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