The specialised installation wholesale needs to develop on pricing and advice on product selection

HVAC installers and plumbers in Europe have been asked by USP Marketing Consultancy how, in their eyes, the specialised installation wholesale has developed in the last five years and how wholesale has to develop in the future. In this article some of the findings of the Q4 2017 report of the European Mechanical Installation Monitor are presented, with the theme: "Future role of the wholesale." The results of this research of USP Marketing Consultancy are based on 991 successful interviews with HVAC installers & plumbers in six European countries.

Range of products, product availability and availability of brands seen as most positive developments

Traditional installation wholesale has taken serious steps towards improvement and development in the last 5 years.  Some of the most visible improvements for the HVAC installers and plumbers in France, Germany, Poland and the UK are related to the range of products, product availability and available brands per product type. In Belgium and the Netherlands HVAC installers and plumbers are more positive about the logistical performance, the payment policy and the advice on product selection.

Room for improvement of competitive pricing

Next to the improvements which the market has noticed, there are also areas where less positive developments have been seen. Such areas are for example the competitive pricing in comparison to other purchase channels (Belgium, Germany, Poland and the Netherlands) and the web shop/ online ordering  portals (France and UK).

The expectations for the future of installers and plumbers are in line with these results – the least developed areas will need to be improved in the future, especially if the traditional wholesale would like to retain its customers. Special attention will need to be paid at the competitive pricing, as installers in all countries outline that as the area that will need the attention of wholesalers. With the busy time the installers in all countries are facing at the moment prices are less of an issue than they were during the crisis, but it could be expected that if the industry faces tough times again, installers will start searching for better price offers. Advice on product selection is also an important point of improvement for the future, according to the European HVAC installers and plumbers.

Same day delivery sought after

Although being quite satisfied with the logistical services the traditional wholesalers offer to the installers at the moment, there is one specific delivery service the installers in all countries still miss or demand as must-have service provided by the wholesalers: same day delivery. In countries like Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, online ordering at the wholesale and the web shop of the wholesale are key for the installers. On the other hand longer opening hours, physical stores and the possibility for live chats are less appealing to the European HVAC installers.

Conclusion

The traditional wholesale has developed in the last five years and there are multiple reasons for those developments. As  specialised installation wholesale came under pressure from pure online players during the crisis, most wholesalers adopted a better e-commerce strategy and had to fight again for the loyalty of the installers. Now that the market conditions are favourable again it is clear that the effort made by the wholesale is  paying off. Installers in general are relatively satisfied with specialised wholesale and in most of the countries they seem to be loyal to the channel, with no immediate? intentions to switch to another purchase channel. But in order to keep the satisfaction high the wholesalers would need to continue to develop on aspects like competitive pricing and advice on product selection, but also to take into account what installers expect as must-have services.