Paul Dawson, Commercial Director of electrical accessories supplier, Niglon, discusses the company’s recent launch of more than 500 new electrical accessories and the reasons for such a major investment in the range.
For a number of years, the electrical accessories market has been characterised by a race to the bottom, as many suppliers compete to offer lower and lower prices.
While everyone likes a bargain, there are several issues with this price driven approach to the market; for the supply chain, for installers and for end users. For the supplier and wholesaler it means increasingly low margins on commodity products that have no point of difference from competitors and, therefore, command no brand loyalty.
Meanwhile, for the installer, lower prices are usually delivered at the expense of design innovation, quality of materials and safety features, and, for the end user, a cheap electrical accessory screwed to the wall results in a compromise of the overall look of their interior, at a time when people are more focussed on style and design than ever before.
While there’s always likely to be demand for low end, low cost electrical accessories, at Niglon we believe that a supplier should be able to offer quality, design innovation, high end aesthetics and excellent levels of safety specification at a value-led price. We’re a company that has always been based on a one-stop-shop philosophy and a willingness to invest, which is why we’ve recently moved to purpose-built new premises with enhanced product development and testing facilities and a dedicated training room.
So, when it came to examining our electrical accessories offering, there was only one approach that fitted with our company culture; to develop a complete range that installers can trust for quality and value.
The idea was simple: to create a complete range of electrical accessories that would answer all requirements of installers – from simple domestic fit out to high end residential, light industrial, commercial and exterior installations. We have even included specialist features, like the anti-microbial properties of our Profile range, which make them ideal for the health sector, nursing homes and school installations.
The range is the result of a two and a half year design and development process and a £2.1 million investment in R&D, tooling and manufacturing capabilities. It combines a strong vision from our senior team with expert consultancy and a thorough research and analysis exercise to study market buying trends and the competitor marketplace.
Our analysis of the competitor landscape was, perhaps, the most telling element of this. It was clear that many of our competitors had followed our lead in offering a one-stop-shop approach. It was also clear that there was a huge gap in the marketplace for design-led, competitively priced electrical accessories because most of the products available were either at the higher end of the quality, design and price spectrum or competing for commodity-based sales, with very little in between.
The other major factor that highlighted the value to Niglon in making such a huge investment in developing and manufacturing so many electrical accessories as a one-stop-shop range, was the lack of agility in the marketplace. Established specialists in the electrical accessories market can find it difficult to update their ranges without creating a mish-mash of features and styles because there are so many items already in the supply chain.
And, of course, with high standards of quality, we have been able to design high standards of safety into every item, which supports both the contractor market and the safety of the end user throughout the service life of each product.
Originally billed as ‘The Magnificent Seven’, the new range of electrical accessories saw the launch of more than 500 individual items earlier in the year. Now with the addition of an eighth range where we have added over 100 exclusive screwless decorative accessories for the most discerning design-led customers, we are already seeing that our strategy of challenging the marketplace is paying off.
Quality and quantity
The feedback we’ve had highlights that customers are surprised by the high level of design that has been involved in the development process, taking Niglon beyond the square-edged generic socket and switch. We’ve also heard rumours that our new ranges are impacting on the sales of some of our high end competitors, thanks to the comparable quality and contemporary design at a lower price point.
We believe that the central requirements of quality electrical accessories are aesthetics, design values and safety and those three core principles do not have to be mutually exclusive or cost prohibitive.
To find out more about the range of electrical accessories available from Niglon, visit: www.niglon.co.uk