PEW recently took a trip down to sunny Brighton to meet with Phase Electrical Branch Manager, Gary Wordsworth, to discuss how it is drumming up business, how it stands out from the crowd and why the family feel benefits its customers.
What is a brief history of your career in wholesaling and how long have you been at Phase Electrical?
I began my career in the industry over 30 years ago when I joined a national wholesaler. I started on the trade counter and over the years have gained the knowledge and expertise to advance to the management team at various locations. In 2001 I was fortunate enough to move to North America with my family and continued my career with the same national wholesaler. Whilst there we laid the foundations for multiple branches in New England and I gained valuable experience. I returned to England in July 2010 and joined Phase Electrical Distributors, utilising my experience we launched a new branch in Brighton which has continued to grow from it’s opening in 2011. Eight years later we have built an excellent team and look forward to continuing to serve Brighton and its surrounding areas in the years to come.
You have included some ‘non-traditional’ items in your stock including games and BBQs, what was the thinking behind this?
Whilst we are proud of our traditional roots as a company, we believe that part of providing an exceptional service to our customers is the product ranges we can offer. Our new range from our catalogue ‘The Great Outdoors’ was born from this belief and has been received with positive feedback from our branch teams and customers alike. As an electrical wholesaler, our customers come to us for the products they expect us to stock and the continued popularity of the brochure proves they enjoy the extras!
With the rise of smart technology, what products do you see customers asking for the most and how much of that comes from their customer?
We have seen an increase in enquiries for a wide range of smart home products.
Smart heating controls such as the Nest Thermostat are a popular choice, as are app controlled heaters like the Rointe D Series. Rising energy costs seem to be a motivation for customers and their clients to be more mindful of energy consumption.
We have also seen an increased interest in smart lighting. This can be for security purposes or even the convenience of being able to control your home lighting whilst away through an app, much like you can do with the Ansell Octo. We ensure our teams are up-to-date on the latest smart technology as it hits the market, so that we can advise our customers on the best product for the desired application. Whilst the end users may do their research, we endeavour to provide a service that encompasses product knowledge, customer service and value for money through our trade counters.
How does Phase Electrical stand out from other competitors in the surrounding areas?
Our dedicated employees at the heart of what we do, delivering exceptional customer service and extensive product knowledge. Our first branch opened back in 2002 with a team of 3 and the belief that we could offer a local service on a national scale, whilst still retaining the feel of a family-oriented business. Our core values of excellence, loyalty, reliability, integrity, honesty, innovation and passion are the foundation upon which the company was built and we will continue to grow in the years to come with these values at the forefront of our business.
Can you tell me about the committee and how it works in terms of how much say everyone gets, how ideas are implemented and whether this is normal practice for a multi-branch wholesaler?
Our company Directors have a hands-on approach to the company branding and marketing and they will approve everything before it is released. We have a great team and work with the belief that every idea has value, an idea that could originate from a member of our warehouse team could be passed onto our marketing department and result in an entire catalogue. We believe that we are stronger working together and that ethos has resulted in some of our best work.
Do you find POS material a help or a hindrance when you have a small area to work in?
POS material is always a helpful tool, for both our trade counter teams and the customers. All areas are adaptable, no matter how small they may be and we find POS from both our suppliers and our own marketing team a great way to interact with our customers regarding the product.
How successful have the marketing campaigns been, including 18th edition literature, social media etc.? How important is social media in the market today?
We have our own in-house marketing team, who focus solely on our print, digital and social media marketing. Social media is imperative for every business, no matter its size. It’s a way for customers (and potential customers) to reach out directly and quickly, whilst feeling that their voice is heard. It’s a two-way communication channel with infinite reach, if used to its full potential. Our marketing team believe that the importance of social media marketing shouldn’t be underestimated and as a business, it is vital to move forward as methods evolve so that we aren’t left behind.