Case study: Plumbase

A segmentation of tradespeople for a national merchant

How we help Plumbase

We have worked with Plumbase on several research projects to help them get closer to their customers. This study used both quantitative and qualitative research to inform the business’ future strategic direction.

How we help Plumbase

We have worked with Plumbase on several research projects to help them get closer to their customers. This study used both quantitative and qualitative research to inform the business’ future strategic direction.

The challenge

The merchant plays a pivotal role in the life of a tradesperson. It is a place to pick up products for the day, get technical advice, arrange site deliveries, hear about new innovations and also grab a few crucial minutes to socialise. This model has worked extremely well for national merchants in particular, who have the buying power but also the ability to offer a traditional type of branch service.

The plumbing and heating sector has a core of merchants who have dominated for a long period of time. Plumbase identified that installer’s expectations were beginning to evolve, using a wider blend of channels to purchase and check product. The omni-channel brands of Screwfix and Toolstation were also making significant inroads. Although we know older customers specialising in heating are far more loyal to the national merchant, Plumbase needed a way to make sure they stay relevant to younger tradespeople going forward and roll out a strategy that plays to their core strength – the local branch.

The solution

With the realisation that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is no longer relevant to tradespeople, Eureka! designed a research project that would identify and bring to life the most pertinent groups that Plumbase should concentrate on. After conducting over 500 interviews with customers and non-customers, we undertook a deep dive of the data and created a bespoke trade customer segmentation. Segmentation is the advanced statistical technique used by market researchers and data scientists to create a best-fit model based on a host of survey or transactional data held by a business.

After reducing the number of variables at our disposal, our clever software here at Eureka! HQ worked out which combination of the data was the optimum way of describing the target clusters. Richard and Dave then weaved in a big more magic, based on our 40 years of collective experience of talking with trade customers, to arrive at the optimum number of customer segments. We then conducted focus groups to validate the segments and ‘bring to life’ a series of pen portraits, using real-life anecdotes to illustrate service expectations in branch, the appeal of rival brands and the stresses and strains of working on the tools.

Tools

Focus groups

Customer segmentation

Online surveys

Services

Competitor analysis

Brand research

Customer satisfaction

Customer journey

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Eureka! helped us create a unique customer trade segmentation which we are embedding into the heart of Plumbase; the results are already being used by senior stakeholders at the very top of the business. The results have also allowed us to share key insights with our suppliers, maintaining our position as sector knowledge holders and industry partners. Eureka! demonstrated to me that they are experts in our field and Dave and Rich are a pleasure to work with. They have years of research and insight experience in our sector, why would you use anyone else?

Liam Gibson, Head of Marketing

Eureka! helped us create a unique customer trade segmentation which we are embedding into the heart of Plumbase; the results are already being used by senior stakeholders at the very top of the business. The results have also allowed us to share key insights with our suppliers, maintaining our position as sector knowledge holders and industry partners. Eureka! demonstrated to me that they are experts in our field and Dave and Rich are a pleasure to work with. They have years of research and insight experience in our sector, why would you use anyone else?

Liam Gibson, Head of Marketing

The Eureka! moment

The findings of the research study reverberated around the business and provided tangible evidence that there were some valuable trade customer segments who currently had very low brand consideration towards Plumbase. Although the business had a very loyal, heating-orientated set of customers our data showed that they were of an older age profile and therefore closer to leaving the industry in the short-medium term.

The overall findings gave the required insight to the marketing team to plan a new branch-level service proposition. Branch managers would be encouraged to think more about their customer mix and adapt accordingly. Our review of branch-level assets in the focus groups also helped the marketing team work on the most appropriate tone of voice for materials going forward and ensure maximum impact.

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We’d love to bounce some ideas around with you

Either get in touch with us below or have a further browse of our website to discover how we can solve your business conundrums.

We’d love to bounce some ideas around with you

Either get in touch with us below or have a further browse or have a further browse of our website to discover how we can solve your business conundrums.

Eureka! Research

The Mill | Radford Road | Alvechurch | Worcestershire | B48 7LD

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