A networking forum held on April 21 by BHETA (British Home Enhancement Trade Association) attracted more than 325 delegates.
Two Amazon category leaders featured as guest speakers at the event, which was held at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Amazon UK manager for homewares and furniture Jeff Wemyss and manager for tools and home improvement Oliver Sawers treated a packed house to some insights into the online retail giant’s plans to expand with more suppliers and additional selection.
In their presentation, the duo outlined several vendor services and discussed a number of new consumer-facing services. Amazon is working with BHETA to build a proactive ‘creating value together’ relationship, including events such as Meet the Buyer, vendor workshops and fulfilment centre visits.
Senior members from Jeff and Oliver’s teams joined the pair over lunch to network with delegates, who welcomed the opportunity for face-to-face discussions.
Another speaker at the forum was Decco chief operating officer Charlie Lacey, who outlined the opportunities that its seven UK-based distribution centres, servicing High Street retailers and garden centres, can provide. Some 80% of this family company’s turnover is home and garden products, with construction products accounting for the remaining 20%.
Charlie said Decco is continuously looking to attract new suppliers and new products to enhance its wholly branded portfolio, and noted that the firm’s ‘logistical excellence’ is in itself an opportunity.
With its partnership approach, offline and online support services, stock holding, fleet, promotional programmes and trade shows, the Decco network could be utilised as a means to penetrate new markets as well, he said.
Co-ordinating with the forward-looking themes of the day, Daniel Fearnley, head of home for market research expert GfK, outlined the latest consumer data on both online retail and the consumer shopping journey in general.
His presentation included interpretation and advice on how suppliers can maximise purchase of their products and brands, regardless of the particular retail channel.
Finally, Clive Daley of mdj2 Associates reviewed the ongoing issue of the exchange rate .He delivered some practical solutions for suppliers attempting to negotiate the cost implications of fluctuating currency with their retail partners.
Advocating a number of possible strategies including multi-level relationships and value engineering, Clive’s presentation covered not only collaboration but, when necessary, a more aggressive approach.
Commenting on the proceedings, BHETA housewares sector director Will Jones said: “Big picture politics just keep on presenting surprises – all of which impact on economic prospects one way or another.
“Yet our speakers all confirmed how much potential there is for growth in the home and garden market if we work together as partners for the greater good.”
BHETA DIY and garden sector director Paul Grinsell added: “It was great to welcome so many delegates keen to engage and to hear from really excellent speakers who want to work in a mutually supportive manner.
“We have received considerable numbers of positive comments from delegates. The following feedback from [plastic home and outdoor storage solutions supplier] Keter UK really sums up the impact of the event: ‘I would just like to thank you for such a great day. I was able to network with some great people and came away with extended knowledge and resources, which I have put forward to the business to help grow new opportunities moving forward’.”
For more information about BHETA’s retail engagement programme and BHETA membership in general, contact the Member Services Team on 0121 237 1130 or visit the BHETA website at www.bheta.co.uk