New research from Verona finds independent tile retailers are optimistic about the future

Verona, the UK’s largest distributor of tiles, mosaics, outdoor porcelain and flooring, has released findings from its latest insight report carried out amongst a nationwide network of independent retailers which discovers how the industry is performing post-pandemic.

The key highlights reveal a positive attitude and sense of optimism amongst retailers who feel business is strong despite the pandemic and rising cost of living issue, with working relationships, product offerings and consumer demand better than ever.

Strong supplier relationships post pandemic

Despite various setbacks over the past few years, independent retailers remain positive about the future of their businesses. With extra support from their suppliers throughout the pandemic, many retailers feel they have forged stronger, more reliable working relationships and are able to have their needs met more efficiently, whether be ordering more stock, meeting tight deadlines or requesting sales materials.

Improved products on the market

Retailers are happy with the variety of tiles on offer to them. Research suggests that retailers are adopting a well-rounded product offering which now spans tiles, flooring and outdoor porcelain. With interior trends shifting every season, it’s vital that suppliers are able to spot the next big thing to enable retailers to offer a diverse product offering comprising of both contemporary and timeless styles.

Feedback suggests there is a hunger for more small format designs, including geometric hexagon, rhombus and diamond formats, as well as larger outdoor porcelain and bold, decorative designs. In response, Verona will be launching a string of new collections to cater to each of these areas and help accelerate retailer sales.

Materials and purpose

In terms of materials and purpose, porcelain is currently selling better than ceramic, bathroom tiles are in greater demand than kitchen tiles and patterned tiles are more popular than plain, meaning that retailers need to ensure their core range also moves with the times.

Customer support and superior products tackle price wars with nationals

With an ever-growing number of chain tile stores opening and household DIY retailers expanding their surface options, independent retailers are more under pressure than ever to meet consumer demand for trend-led designs, round-the-clock support and competitive prices. Reassuringly, most independent retailers find they are in a strong position, offering superior quality products which are hand-picked from trusted suppliers, but there is concern across the board about being undercut on price by national retailers.

Jayne Adamson, Marketing Manager at Verona comments: ‘With the nation and businesses facing a barrage of national crisis’ over the last few years, we felt it was key to carry out research with our independent retailers to better understand their opportunities and threats. What was most encouraging was learning that the majority of customers feel like stronger working relationships have been formed and that suppliers are providing them with the support they need to meet demand and succeed in a competitive market.

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