kbb 2024: In this fast-paced market, flexibility is critical, says TruBlue

Leigh Martin, managing director, TruBlue

Q: How’s business compared with last year?

A: Since our launch in summer last year, we’ve had 527 brands come on board, including Smeg, BSH, Bauformat, Omega, Callerton, Keller and JJO, TK Components, Sensio and more, as well as lesser-known or smaller brands, who perhaps couldn’t afford to have their catalogues hosted were it not free to do so. At launch, we were taking eight orders a day and now have 250 users. We have also become members of the KBSA and KBBG, and are officially recognised by Made in Britain as a fully UK-based operation, and we’re about to unveil Version 2 of our software at the show, so that will be exciting.

Q: If you were opening a retail showroom in this market, what would your strategy be?

A: In this fast-paced market, flexibility is critical. You don’t want to be bogged down by admin – you want to have the time to actually build your business and focus on the important things. Business management software that is flexible, agile and cloud-based can help boost the bottom line of any business, especially those just starting out. With the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy costs squeezing margins, it’s also important to look for a pricing solution that is regularly updated and accurate, so you can keep on top of those very precious margins. It’s fair to say that we’re living through a period of great uncertainty, but people want certainty, and deserve products that they can rely on.

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

A: There seems to be a push by some suppliers to automate all of their processes. The issue with this is that it doesn’t allow for any dialogue. One can’t ask questions this way, and it can make things difficult for retailers. Retailers we speak to also complain that they don’t see reps often enough. At TruBlue, we believe that it’s essential to nurture and foster strong relationships by keeping in touch with our customers and always making ourselves available to them, via our dedicated support team.

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