Moving with the times

Carol Slade, managing director of Masterframe, looks at why four in 10 UK shoppers say that Covid-19 will fundamentally change the way they shop.

New research on the Internet Retailing website looks at how Covid-19 is changing the way shoppers buy: some 42% said that the way they shop will fundamentally change as a result of the coronavirus; 26% said they will pay more for local products; 25% for trusted brands; and 24% for ethical products.

More than half (57%) said they’ll spend more on those that are supporting the community, while 63% are more likely to buy from those taking measures to fight the outbreak.

It became clear to us that the pandemic was fuelling the growth of a stay-at-home economy. The way forward was therefore to build positive virtual experiences for retail customers so that their safety was assured and they were still able to explore all their options in a very real way. This in turn would help our network of installers to keep them engaged and interested enough to take the next step.

In spite of all the uncertainty, we decided the right thing to do would be to invest and immediately offer our Bygone Installer Network, free virtual showrooms produced by a professional production company. These virtual showrooms would include sight of all their products and, although we would finance the videos of the hotspots highlighting our products, they were free to do the same for their other products at their cost. Installers would then have a dynamic sales tool ready to send to their customers at the touch of a button.

To date, we have produced five videos and are working hard to roll out the programme over the next couple of months. We will also do a comprehensive virtual tour of our own showrooms and a full corporate video that we will share with our customers for their own websites. The virtual tour of our premises, complete with hot spot videos, illustrate the quality of our sash windows and how they are made. This transparency will help to forge a connection between Masterframe and the retail customer, assuring them that they are buying a product produced by specialists whilst supporting British manufacturing.

The offer has been well received.

Tommy Rose, director of Barnet Window Company, told us: “During these difficult and unprecedented times, Masterframe has distinguished itself from our other suppliers with its proactive approach to supporting us. The virtual showroom is exactly what is needed at this time to help us provide the very best service to our customers. The fact that it was conceived, discussed directly with us and other retailers, and then effected within days of its conception is testament to the positive approach of Alan, Carol and the rest of the team. Thank you.”

Edward Burgess, director of Burgess Group, said: “We were encouraged by the directors and team at Masterframe to have a virtual tour video undertaken free of charge at our showroom. We already had a Google version but the virtual tour offered by Masterframe was far superior, offering customers a much clearer vision of our products.

“We are looking forward to investing in phase two when we will add hot spots and video links for our other products to accompany those added for the Bygone Collection by Masterframe.

“This has been a helpful tool while the public have been unable to visit us. Even when life returns to normal we will use the virtual tour as a teaser to inspire customers to arrange an appointment.”