Heat up heater sales this winter with these expert sales and merchandising tips

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This author is on Twitter: @Patrickavenell

The weather has been wild on the East Coast this week and, while the torrential rain will eventually abate and the weather become more clement, the chilliness will continue right through until the first taste of spring in September.

Feeling the cold, more and more customers are expected to visit appliance retailers enquiring about heating appliances. With that in mind, we spoke to several experts to find out some tips on how to match a customer with the right appliance.

Dave Smith from Fujitsu General said retailers should utilise the facilities online and in apps that help size rooms to find the optimal heating solution.

“The redesigned Fujitsu General website includes the Economatch calculator to help homeowners find the right air conditioner for their needs,” Smith told me. “Simply enter basic details — such as room measurements, insulation and the direction windows face — to find the best Fujitsu General products.

“However, floor staff should still discuss with consumers any other specific requirements. Ultimately, their lifestyle routine, budget, as well as any plans to renovate their home will impact on their buying decision.”

For those looking for a smaller, personal solution, Elisa Oliver from Milner’s, marketers of the Vornado brand, said using a series of qualifying questions will help to get the job done quickly and correctly.

“Here are some questions to ask customers looking to buy a heater,” Oliver told me, before rattling off her list:

– Does the room need to be heated or will eliminating cold draughts and improving insulation be enough?
– How many rooms need to be heated?
– How big are they?
– How often and for how long will heating be required?

A spokesperson for Kambrook, one of the biggest selling brands in this market said merchandising the right products at the right time was essential.

“Upright fan and personal ceramic heaters are affordable and instant solutions to stack at the front of the store at the start of the heating season or when a cold snap suddenly occurs.  Into autumn, when consumers are seeking wider home heating solutions, ensure micathermic and ceramic tower solutions are prominently positioned and staff are well trained on the various benefits across the range.”

Merchandising tricks aren’t as useful for much larger, more expensive year-round reverse cycle air conditioners. This requires a more patient, thoughtful approach, according to Adrian Brown from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

“The sales cycle for air conditioners is slower,” Brown told me. “To improve the chances of closing the sale, it’s important that the sales staff are able to be confident when talking about the features, reliability, and efficiency of individual units. Then customers can feel confident to go home and discuss the benefits of individual models before making a decision.”

Feel free to add any of your own tips and hints for selling heating appliances in the comments below.

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