Topps Tiles said it was seeing a direct link between online traffic and store visits as it continues its strategy of integrating digital into stores.
“As we gain greater experience of digital we are increasingly confident in the strength of the link between driving online traffic and store footfall and we continue to review opportunities for additional investment into this area,” it said in half-year results out today.
It has identified another 20 to 25 priority opportunities for store openings, building on an existing store estate of 375.
The tile retailer, a Top100 retailer in IRUK Top500 research and Top25 in The Customer performance dimension, also said it remained focused on its strategy of ‘out specialising the specialists’ as it works to offer customers value for money supported by “an industry leading product range, world class customer service and multichannel convenience.”
The update came as Topps Tiles reported group revenue of £110.5m in the 26 weeks to March 31. That’s up by 3.7% from the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £6.4m were down by almost a third (-32.6%) from last time.
Chief executive Matthew Williams said market conditions had been “more challenging” in the second quarter of the year, thanks to bad weather and an early Easter.
“Against this background, our clear strategic focus, coupled with strong promotional positioning, enabled us to outperform the overall UK tile market,” he said. “We continue to strengthen our position as the UK’s leading tile specialist. Our entry into the commercial tile segment approximately doubles the size of our addressable market while staying within our core specialism of tiles.”
He said that trading had improved in the first seven weeks of the second half, with like-for-like sales down by 0.2%.
Here’s what the retailer said about its digital strategy.
More than 40,000 customers a week now use the Topps Tiles online visualiser. The retailers has seen traffic to its website increase by 50% following a “significant” investment in pay-per-click search engine optimisation (SEO).
It now sends more than 5,000 personalised brochures to its customers every month which it say provide an important source of follow-up contact in store.
“Almost all of our customers come to one of our stores at some stage of their shopping journey with us and as such our store estate remains extremely important and relevant to the business,” said Topps Tiles in today’s results.
The retailer has focused on a seamless customer journey, with investment in customer service. Almost a third (124 of 375) stores now feature new merchandising approaches such as a design advice area.
Topps Tiles’ Rewards+ loyalty scheme now has more than 70,000 trade members. The retailer, which bought commercial tiles specialist Parkside in August 2017, says trade sales are “an exciting source of future growth” to which it is responding through a new trade credit facility, extended trade brands, relevant merchandising and a focus on an efficient in-store experience.