One of the first retailers to become a Colour & Advice Centre back in the 1990s, Devon-based Abbotts DIY has seen its decorating sales “go off like a rocket” since signing up, according to co-owner Chris Abbott. “Having the level of support and marketing from a company the size of the then-ICI enabled us to really grow our paint and decorating side of the business,” he tells DIY Week.

Capitalising on the knowledge of the independent retail sector at a time

before YouTube tutorial videos, when multiples were struggling to establish themselves as product experts, Dulux recognised the gap in the market where retailers, such as Abbotts could shine. “It was a good partnership,” adds Mr Abbott, “which delivered great sales for us both. We ended up axing our Valspar and Crown ranges to accommodate more Dulux.” There is a Dulux Independent Retailer Panel – comprising of independent

retailers from all over the country put together by Akzo Nobel to get feedback on the scheme – of which Abbotts has long been a part. “[I think] this is very forward-thinking of Akzo – listening, changing and improving the way in which they do business with us by listening to their customers, who are, in effect, on the front line of retail,” explains Mr Abbott. “To my mind no other manufacturers in this sector do a similar thing.” It was here on the panel that Mr Abbott heard the Colour & Advice scheme was being re-launched for 2016. Calling this a “massive commitment to the independent retail sector”, Mr Abbott explained that “having this endorsement from a leading brand, and the key word ‘advice’, helps us stand out from the crowd,” despite the different trading conditions to 20 years ago. “We are constantly receving a high level of marketing support, various promotions, cash back, red letter days and even toy dogs! We have had produce and advice training which was extremely beneficial, particularly for new staff members. “I am delighted that Akzo Nobel won the Retailer Initiative Award, it was very much deserved. I feel other manufacturers should take note of this, not just decorating manufacturers, but all who deal with the independent retail market. Akzo have seen the potential in this market and, in partnership with us independents, have seen a mutual benefit.”


“Having this endorsement from a leading brand, and the key word ‘advice’, helps us stand out from the crowd.” – Chris Abbott, Abbotts DIY



Another early sign up to the Dulux Colour & Advice scheme, Hertfordshire- based Merlin Mica Hardware is another retailer who has seen its decorating department become a “core strength” of the store thanks to the resources provided by Akzo Nobel. “Being a Dulux Advice Centre sees customers come in specifically to get help choosing the right product,” explains shop manager Jenny Robinson. “The advice the staff give encourages customers to come back and recommend us to others. Having the extra knowledge [from the training] helps generate more sales.”

The training, explains Ms Robinson, starts with the basics of where items HALLS MICA HARDWARE

Having been a Colour & Advice Centre for 10 years, Halls is another Mica independent which has seen good returns on its decorating sales as a result. Unlike Merlin, which was approached by Dulux, Halls took steps to approach the manufacturer via Mica when the retailer recognised the need for a mixing machine in-store. Explained store owner Joyce Hall: “[The scheme] is useful in advising customers. We [staff] did not have the knowledge or facilities to advise customers before. Customers are now confident to get advice from our staff.” Like Abbotts, Halls has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with Dulux as a result of the collaboration, with sales increasing for the store, and Dulux products in particular.

are located, following on to the in-depth information on colour, co-ordination and choices. “Over the years many of us have visited the Dulux training centre or been to Dulux training seminars to develop our understanding of complementary colours and other features of the paint we sell. “Having the knowledge is great for your own sense of achievement, [as well as] the customer service satisfaction and profits that can be made.” In turn, the scheme has put Merlin on the map for decorating consumers. “We get customers coming in specifically for paint, so whilst it’s not made us a ‘décor centre’, it has become one of the core strengths of our shop. It has definitely made a difference to overall sales. We get people telling us they’ve come back as a result of the Colour & Advice service, so not only do we make the sale there and then, we make many more sales from repeat custom from it.”

Coming up in the next issues of DIY Week: Friday 26 May - Tools Friday 16 June - Tiles & Tiling Friday 30 June - Housewares & Solex

Suppliers, have you got a product or range that you want to shout about? To feature please send your press releases to 12 MAY 2017 DIY WEEK 17

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24