• High product visibility is crucial.
• POS boards with strong graphics help secure sales.
• It’s vital that a customer’s first impression of a product is a good one.

When it comes to selling mouldings, the old adage that “location, location, location” is a key factor in influencing a purchase seems to ring true.

Just as having a house in the right location can prompt potential buyers to convert to definite purchases, so too the location of mouldings in store – and their visibility – can help shoppers turn a casual browse into a sale.

It’s not rocket science, says Gerard Wilson, key accounts manager at SAM Mouldings, but he’s always surprised by the number of retailers and timber merchants who get it wrong. In fact, believes Mr Wilson, some retailers have still got a big job to do in terms of getting their merchandising right.

“The one issue I still have with most merchants is visibility in store, in terms of seeing the product but also in terms of customers knowing they’re stocking and selling MDF mouldings,” he said. Although SAM Mouldings provides unbranded products to merchants for them to badge up with their own logos and brand names, the company would certainly work with them and advise them in terms of in-store positioning.

“I think it could all be dramatically improved,” said Mr Wilson. “For example, with primed MDF, it’s an added-value product and really needs to be promoted correctly in terms of its benefits over [solid] timber.”

SAM Mouldings has already carried out a number of joint initiatives with big customers where it’s produced internal point of sale boards with strong graphical depictions of the MDF mouldings, flagging up the whiteness of the products and listing clear statements of the products’ benefits. It’s also produced exterior banners for the outside of the buildings or fences reading ‘Stockists of quality MDF mouldings’. These are branded on behalf of the merchant, as is all the product literature.

“We get track-back of sales increases, and it showed that the results of this merchandising activity were good – in fact some more than others,” said Mr Wilson, who’s witnessed figures showing 10-20% sales increases over a certain period after an initial promotion. “There is lots of potential for retailers to tap into if only they can get their ranges and their merchandising right,” he added.

Like many other retailing environments, when it comes to selling mouldings, first impressions count. “It boils down to the initial presentation of the product,” says Mr Wilson, adding that, often, product is left to gather dust in a pack.

“What we are doing to enhance our packs is either bagging or shrink wrapping our material to protect it and give it a better finish,” he explained. “Based on the type of wrap you can buy, it can actually improve the look of the product and therefore make it more saleable and more attractive to the end user.”

Mr Wilson also believes that there are opportunities for dual siting of related products. “The obvious one with MDF is for fixing elements, mostly glue products, but also nails and general carpentry goods,” he said. “Because MDF is only pre-primed and semi-finished, there is also a good opportunity for paints and finishes.”

However, he added, it really depends on how much effort the retailer wants to put into it. “Add-on sales are something that works exceptionally well, but you have to make it easy for the customer. That’s why a retailer like Tesco does so well: often, you don’t think you even need a product, but it ends up in your basket.”