Here Matthew Blake, HR Director at Rexel UK & Ireland, shares his thoughts on the brand journey and how it is proving to be a great move for colleagues, customers and suppliers alike.
In the past two years, electrical distributor Rexel has undergone a huge change, resulting in a network of 250 branches countrywide now trading under the Rexel brand name in the UK. As part of this transformation, a consistent product offer is now available at all branches, the average journey to a Rexel branch stands at just 20 minutes and the brand offers 90 years of industry experience and knowledge for customers. In addition to a strong UK heritage Rexel UK is part of a global business operating across 26 countries with €13.3bn sales and 27,000 colleagues.
The journey for the new Rexel first began in early 2017 and ultimately saw the bringing together of well known industry brands, Newey & Eyre, WF Senate, Wilts electrical wholesalers and Parker Merchanting.
Of course this kind of re-branding is not without its challenges, but it also presented us with significant opportunities for our suppliers, customers and the Rexel business across the board.
Throughout the change it’s been vital to be clear on the people element, from colleague engagement, training and development and clear, simple internal communication, to ensure that whilst we were transforming into one large scale operation, we retained our local branch focus and maintained the important relationship between branch colleagues and their customers.
We have also needed to maintain consistent business operations and standards as we strive to become not only a growing business, but also a market leader when it comes to the customer offer within our industry with such things as our digital offering.
We are now approaching the end of the first stage of this journey and we have experienced many positive outcomes from these changes across the business.
For Rexel colleagues it’s been an interesting journey. This year we travelled around the country as part of the ‘Rexel on the Road’ initiative to meet colleagues nationwide, share our business plans and obtain significant insight into their own experiences.
Our colleagues are key to the success of our business and we know they are motivated and work hard to deliver a positive customer experience in their branches. This is something we are particularly proud of and hope to extend through our webshop that started trading this year. We have launched our central Facebook page, including a ‘face of Rexel’, currently Danny Musgrave, Trade Counter manager at Hull, this year who is not only engaging with customers in branch but also through this online channel.
To support our own team we have introduced a new training programme, now featuring over 160 product training modules, as well as developing new apprenticeship programmes.
From a supplier perspective the Rexel story is also positive. They now have a large nationwide branch network through which to sell their product, and providing an opportunity to expand their offer in terms of width and depth of product. They can rely on our experienced colleagues to be on hand to share their knowledge of their product ranges with Rexel customers, and the webshop provides yet another vehicle to promote and sell their products, and meet customer demand for choice in how and when they deal with us.
At a customer level we are able to offer a consistent, but much wider, product offer with the addition of site supplies and workwear across the whole network.
New business developments have also supported a better customer experience. The webshop and customer app makes purchasing quicker and easier and offers features such as same day delivery within certain areas, instant credit decisions, and shareable shopping lists for businesses allowing better communication online.
A new CRM system has also enabled a better relationship with our customers to ensure they receive relevant information and our sales teams are better able to identify needs and maintain consistent communication. This development is a success story after being shortlisted for an Electrical Industry Award.
The market is changing and we need to not only be up to date but a step ahead through effective digitalisation of our offer that supports our customers.
It is our aim to continue to strengthen and develop our position within the digital world, whilst also retaining the local business feel at a branch level, catering to a wide range of customers, from sole traders to large national customers.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
For more information on Rexel’s services and solutions, visit: www.rexel.co.uk