Despite the general increase in online sales, recent research has highlighted that tradespeople still prefer more traditional methods of buying equipment.
Research by in-vehicle secure storage brand Van Vault has unveiled surprising results, providing further insight into purchasing habits of its trade customers.
The survey, covering a number of trades, including builders, electricians, plumbers and carpenters, showed that when buying secure storage solutions for their van, the preferred choice is to purchase in-store.
In recent years the overall value of internet retail sales has steadily increased. According to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, online sales in February were up 9.4% year-on-year, currently running at 17.6%. Online sales have reached a value of £1.19 billion.
Despite this, the study of 300 tradespeople revealed that merchants are going against the current retail grain, with stores being the first choice, rather than online.
- 41% of participants prefer to buy secure storage solutions in-store from a local or specialist retailer.
- 38% claim that they purchase goods from national brands such as Wickes or Screwfix.
- These two figures are at odds with the 51% of UK consumers who currently prefer to shop online rather than in-store.
When it comes to buying secure storage – which is driven by a wide range of issues from replacement to theft, and from needing extra storage to getting a new van – often tradespeople do their research online first before making a visit to store to purchase.
The research showed initial online research is done to look for product information, but visibility in-store is important as they want to actually see the product before purchasing in-store.
This is because it is easier to see the quality of manufacture as opposed to simply looking at a picture online.
They are provided with a better understanding of the size of the product, storage capacity and the tools that it can hold, if they see it in-store.
Deborah Hunt, Marketing Manager at Van Vault, said: “Merchants have a vital role to play when it comes to providing customers with advice. Our report found that 38% of tradespeople rely on merchants/stores for recommendations and information and one in four seek expert advice from a member of staff.
“That is why at Van Vault, we ensure merchants can support their customers in the best way possible and respond to what they want – security, functionality, quality and peace of mind – providing extensive and in-depth information.
“Our research shows that leading brands need to invest in their retail customer base whilst responding to the changing shopping habits of the trade.”