Marketing director of Roper Rhodes Simon Taylor explains the company’s strategy is to have major product launches every year, in every product category, in all of its brands.
Q: What do trade customers best know Roper Rhodes for and what do you think would surprise them?
A: As we have been serving the bathroom industry for over 40 years with over 4,000 skus across the main categories of furniture, brassware, sanitaryware and mirrors/cabinets many customers will know our provision is very rounded.
However, most will know us for our high-quality furniture. In fact Roper Rhodes group is the UK and Ireland’s largest supplier of bathroom furniture by value with around 25-30% of the market.
Our aim is to keep all of these in stock all of the time, with delivery to the customer in 48 hours or less.
Despite being more recognised as a furniture brand, we pay as much attention and investment into our other categories.
We approach every new product launch as an opportunity to improve the lives of our customers.
Q: Can you give an example of a new product launch which improves the lives of consumers and installers?
A: Take for example our recent development of a further concealed shower system into our Event Click range.
Our aim was two-fold. Develop a showering system that is simple and intuitive to use and to install.
We worked on the basis every aspect of the life of a shower valve must be considered, challenged and designed to be better.
The area we focused on was being able to move the valve whilst tiling in, even after it’s been fully connected and checked.
We achieved it by using a manifold that takes the rigid water feed and adds flexible hoses.
The result is any maintenance can be carried out on the valve with it fully removed from the wall and not packed behind tiles in an awkward position.
Q: In a crowded bathroom marketplace what would you say are your USPs?
A: We have an obsession with product development and are highly focused on our product “vitality” or “innovation” index scores.
This a metric used by many companies irrespective of sector and is the percentage of a company’s annual revenue that come from products launched within the past three years.
Established principles are companies with a product vitality of greater than 25% are likely to be market leading in their sector and companies with a vitality index of 40% or higher are likely to be the fastest growing and most attractive companies in their sector.
Based on our FY2020 data when we measure our vitality across our four main product categories, furniture, brassware, sanitaryware and mirrors/cabinets, the lowest performer is 32% and the highest is 65%. Our vitality index across our total sales is 44%.
To maintain this level of innovation our new product development strategy is to have major product launches every year, in every product category, in all of our brands.
While Roper Rhodes is our proprietary brand, R2 and Tavistock, when combined, account for 55% of our revenues.
Q: What plans have you got to support retailers?
A: Last year we launched our new Roper Rhodes website that is more mobile device friendly.
We have launched similarly improved sites for our Tavistock and R2 brands.
Consequently, there have been huge increases in website visitor numbers, brochure and swatch requests and visits to our retailer locator.
This is undoubtedly sending more traffic to our retailers and resulting in consumers making appointments to visit their showroom.
We have become increasingly focused on supporting our retailers through our digital marketing efforts with many new initiatives to come.