BHETA Forum 2018: New sales models & new markets

The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) forum on 21 March proved a showcase of opportunities for members open to new ways of trading.

New sales models, new ways to use sales data, new overseas markets and new approaches to the supply chain were all covered, as was additional grant support, trade mission opportunities, retailer opportunities and consumer marketing campaigns from BHETA itself.

Speakers included the new Toolstation Managing Director James MacKenzie, Matija Kranjc, Company Director of Merkur – one of Slovenia’s largest home retailers, Eric Churet of SEDEX and Neil Cooper of Phocas Software, BHETA associate member and data analytics provider.

James Mackenzie, former Commercial and E-commerce Director of Screwfix, positioned Toolstation to BHETA members as the value champion in the sector, with everyday low prices on the brands the trade wants to use. With over 300 UK branches, 12,000 product lines in store, a further 2,000 online and a database of millions of UK customers, Toolstation is one of the fastest growing companies within the industry. The branches are predominantly convenience-led and are becoming more destination-led as the Toolstation offering grows, drawing on a local customer base. Online, account registration enables the ability to precisely segment and regionalise customer marketing as well as a “live” stocklist which is updated every two seconds.

Mackenzie explained that Toolstation’s pitch to its customers is ‘there when you need us’ and has won the Which? Retailer of the Year award for two years running for its services and ease of buying. From a supplier point of view, the Toolstation boss appealed for more trade brands to talk to Toolstation to explore opportunities.

Export opportunities

Hot on the heels of a successful trade mission to Slovenia last September in collaboration with the British Slovenian Chambers of Commerce, Merkur, Slovenia’s largest home retailer, explained its market position and its interest in branded tools and consumables at every level from entry to premium. Company director Matija Kranjc gave a profile of the business’ 23 stores and 15 franchises; 58% retail, 30% professional and 12% wholesale, but also how best to contact the business in pursuit of listings.

Eric Churet of SEDEX, the global collaborative platform for sharing and sourcing data on supply chains, explained its role in the modern supply chain. SEDEX enables the vetting of retail and supply businesses across over 40,000 members in over 150 countries to ensure that products for potential listing are being sourced in line with current standards in labour rights, health and safety, the environment and business ethics. The final speaker was Neil Cooper from one of BHETA’s long standing service providers – Phocas Software. Phocus Software provides the means of analysing sales data in order to model a single source of the truth in terms of actual sales and customer behaviour in a way that is easy to interrogate, understand and action.

BHETA’s Home Improvement and Garden Sector Director Paul Grinsell said: “Today’s market is full of challenges from the best use of data, to trading overseas, to providing an appropriate supply chain. This forum gave a real insight on how to access several new opportunities while mitigating the risks of doing something new.”

Companies interested in BHETA and in attending BHETA events should contact the Member Services Team on 0121 237 1130 or email at There’s more from BHETA in the April issue of Torque Magazine.