kbb 2024: Personal connections with our customers are key for Armac Martin

Richard McGrail, CEO, Armac Martin

Q: What are the main challenges facing your sector and how are you tackling them?

A: Aspects of the market continue to face challenges securing supply of product, having a subsequent negative effect on lead times. However, this isn’t the case for Armac Martin due to our ability to control every aspect of our operations in-house. Last year, we undertook a major customer outreach programme to identify the main issues that our customers face and understand how we can continue to evolve our operations to help alleviate them. This has included making significant investments in our customer experience team, including the appointment of a dedicated customer experience manager, to ensure we have consistent open communication with our customers. 

Q: How do you think the relationship between supplier and retailer is changing?

A: While the evolution of digital technologies has transformed the way we communicate, we believe that establishing and maintaining personal connections with our customers is the key to maintaining successful relationships for both parties. As a luxury brand that is positioned within the highest tier of the market, it’s crucial that our customers physically interact with our products so that they can understand the value of our hardware and accessories – something that cannot be conveyed on a screen. Kbb is a fantastic opportunity for us to meet with both existing and new customers, and being based in our home town of Birmingham, it’s a chance for us to tell our story and convey just how proud we are of our local heritage, particularly as we celebrate our 95-year anniversary. The whole team is really looking forward to meeting with so many of our retailers over the three days. 

Q: How do you view the health of the UK KBB market? How can the industry improve it?

A: We have been pleasantly surprised with the overall performance of the industry towards the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024. A significant number of our customers have been proactively upgrading or expanding their showrooms, which is crucial for the industry to ensure it continues to stay ahead of the curve and meet latest consumer demand. It’s therefore really important that show­room displays are regularly updated to reflect these latest interior design trends, which is why we offer display showroom discount for all of our retailers, bolstered by dedicated marketing support.

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