ICI Paints AkzoNobel’s Woodcare division comprises Sikkens, Dulux Trade and Cuprinol Trade.
• Cuprinol Trade will now focus on landscaping applications.
• Dulux Trade and Sikkens will focus on exterior and interior end uses.
• New display systems are available in 1-6m options.

There is such a thing as being spoilt for choice.

Take, for example, a trip to the local timber merchant, builders’ merchant or DIY shed for a pot of paint, where an overwhelming range of options can lead to much head-scratching.

But one manufacturer, ICI Paints AkzoNobel, is “demystifying” its woodcare products and making their selection a much more straightforward process.

The move is part of a significant investment in the company’s Woodcare division – in fact, the biggest spend on the division in 15 years. “A lot more timber is being used in design and construction and the protection of that timber is increasingly important,” said Dr Steve Snaith, marketing director at Dulux Trade.

So, by the same token, it’s increasingly important that customers are comfortable with product selection and that what they are buying to paint their shed or window frames is actually what they need.

“Comprehensive research into the insights and shopping habits of trade customers revealed that woodcare is complex and confusing for many,” said Richard Bradley, marketing manager, Dulux Trade Woodcare. “We have addressed that by simplifying the portfolio and making sure people know where the different brands sit.”

Cuprinol Trade now focuses on its “market heartland” of products for landscaping applications – preservers for sheds, fences and so on, as well as treatments and fillers and no longer includes exterior and interior coatings as part of its range.

Exterior and interior applications – which account for 80% of the trade woodcare market – are now the preserve of Dulux Trade and Sikkens.

“Dulux Trade and Sikkens now hold very different brand positions within the market, as our aim is to ensure that the two brands together offer a comprehensive woodcare solution,” said Mr Bradley. “Sikkens is aspirational, a premium range of products to help enhance and protect the inherent beauty of wood. Dulux Trade is also a high performance range, which provides advanced protection with outstanding durability and functionality.”

This brand repositioning follows through to the merchant in the most tangible form as ICI Paints AkzoNobel is currently rolling out new point of sale merchandising kit to all its distributors, free of charge.

Its new display system aims to make the buying process “as simple as one, two, three”. Header boards establish each of the brands distinctive offerings, while colour coded aisle barkers guide the customer to the correct area of shelving for exterior, interior and landscape applications, or treatments and fillers.

The third consideration for the customer is the area of use – joinery, cladding and doors, for example, – and this is indicated on the shelf edge tickets which match the colour coding of the aisle barkers.

Other features of the display include product guides, colour charts and easy-reference product selectors, which also help customers match the coating to the application.

“It’s a very flexible system and can be used in anywhere between 1-6m displays, depending on space,” said Mr Bradley. “The sales team will discuss individual requirements with merchants, or they can contact the customer services number at Dulux Trade (0870 242 1100).”

As both the brand repositioning and the display system have been driven by feedback from end users, Dr Snaith is confident that sales will increase as a result. “Woodcare products are a relatively infrequent purchase, accounting for about 7% of the coatings market by volume, but this is something simple that will help merchants sell product,” he said.

“We wanted to help customers select the product they need in the quickest way possible and our research focused on how to achieve this. Now we have a system which is simple to understand and use, guiding customers and staff to the most desirable product to purchase with ease.”