VOW WHOLESALE AND COMMERCIAL TEAM UP TO SUPPORT LOCAL CAUSES

With faster and more frequent product introduction, new category portfolios and the need to be optimise value through the distribution channel, a ruthless mindset is required to make sure warehouse space is being used for the right products.

Commercial, working with VOW Wholesale as their distribution partner, recently identified approximately 30 pallets of products that they wished to clear from the Arrow Distribution Centre. Previously, this might have been sent to landfill, but that is no longer an acceptable solution, particularly for companies like VOW and Commercial that put the environment and sustainability at the heart of their values and CSR policies.

Claire Reay, VOW Account Director, agreed with Commercial to share the products, which included washroom supplies like toilet rolls and hand towels, amongst a number of worthwhile local organisations. With the support of colleagues, products were consolidated, distributed, and in some cases, personally carried and delivered to eight very grateful charities, hospices, schools and community clubs in the Leeds and Wakefield area.

Claire was quick to recognise the generosity of Commercial and the hard work and determination of her colleagues who had helped to make this happen. “We are so glad that through the kindness of Commercial and the efforts of the VOW team, especially John McTigue, Jacqui Foster, Dan Rogers and Milan Harper, we have been able to make a positive contribution to good causes in the area. The letters of thanks that we have received are absolutely heart-warming. It’s great to know that we’ve been able to make a difference and that our efforts have been appreciated.”


VOW WHOLESALE UNVEILS MID-YEAR EVENT PLANS

VOW Wholesale has announced plans for its eagerly-awaited Mid-Year Dealer Event – a chance for its partners to review the year so far and look ahead to the company’s next wave of marketing initiatives to support the reseller channel.

VOW’s Diamond and Gold Venture customers – those signed up to its partner accreditation programme – will converge on Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa in Northamptonshire on July 4.

 

“There’s always a great atmosphere at the mid-year event, it’ll be great to take advantage of the golf and spa facilities and catch up with industry insights, opinions and gossip over dinner,” explained VOW Wholesale Marketing Director Helen Wade. “We’re also looking forward to unveiling full details of our 2020 Marketing Guide, which has been honed and updated to help our dealer network develop their sales and reach new customers.

 

“I don’t want to give too much away yet, but it’s fair to say that the overhaul of the guide has been designed to reflect the changing needs of dealers in this fast-moving market. There’ll be some exciting additions to our range of mailers and a refreshed emphasis on social media and digital activity through our MyMarketing portal and VOWDigicat online ordering tool.”

 

A cornerstone of the 2020 marketing guide will be the VOW Wholesale main catalogue, which continues to go from strength to strength. The 2019 version was a record-breaker – launching 3,000 new products and getting snapped up dealers through an unprecedented 350,000 initial orders.


Wholesaler VOW Re-affirms Commitment to Putting Re-sellers at Core of It's Business By Appointing New Board

VOW has reaffirmed its commitment to a strategy based on putting resellers at the core of its business by appointing a new board to maximise delivery.

VOW has reaffirmed its commitment to a strategy based on putting resellers at the core of its business by appointing a new board to maximise delivery.

Announcing the new leadership team, Adrian Butler, managing director of the UK’s largest business products and facilities supplies wholesaler, part of the EVO group of companies, said its formation was a “hugely significant development for our organisation”. He added that the new board brought “real focus, expertise and experience” to the company.

In addition to Adrian, the board’s members are: Lisa Hainsworth (sales operations director); Andrew Stacey (merchandising and marketing director); Martin Weedall (operations director); Thomas Barber (commercial director); Nikki Todd (customer experience director); and Cheryl Lamont (managing director of VOW’s managed services division).

Lisa has two decades’ experience in the business supplies industry and has joined VOW from global technology company Xerox, where she worked for three years as European sales operations director.

Andrew, who has been in the industry since 1989, has held several roles within EVO, latterly that of group merchandising and marketing director. He will now focus fully on driving VOW’s evolving product and customer proposition.

Martin, who has over 27 years’ industry experience, has held a series of senior positions within VOW’s operations, running regional depots across the country before most recently having a more customer-facing role as national sales director. VOW believes Martin’s strong understanding of operations and customer needs will play a key part in ensuring its service proposition fully meets resellers’ requirements.

Thomas, a chartered accountant, was latterly head of commercial finance with the EVO group. His new role will be complemented by that of new marketing director Helen Wade, who will assist resellers to drive and promote their businesses effectively.

Nikki, whose industry career began in 1990, was previously director of VOW’s fulfilment channel – encompassing services for national and online resellers, IT resellers and contract stationers. In her new post, Nikki will focus fully on VOW’s end-to-end customer proposition, by simplifying processes and making resellers’ lives easier.

Cheryl, who has worked in the business supplies sector since 1997, will head VOW’s managed services division, a fully outsourced service proposition. She will ensure its customer proposition is in line with reseller needs.

VOW announced late last year that its strategy was based on becoming a world-class wholesaler. It said it would achieve this by improving resellers’ experience of the organisation, creating opportunities to sell more products and being easier to deal with through innovation.  

Commenting on the new VOW board, Adrian said: “We’re really excited about this hugely significant development for our organisation. This new leadership team brings real focus, expertise and experience, which strengthen VOW considerably and puts us in an even better position to deliver on our strategy, ensuring we continue to concentrate completely on our customers’ needs.

“The VOW board now has complete autonomy in the day-to-day running of the company.”

Adrian explained the reason for this empowerment was that EVO understood its separate businesses knew their customers best and in the modern marketplace, needed to make decisions and respond to their needs quickly.    

Looking forward, Adrian said: “The appointment of the new board will lead directly to many important initiatives in the months ahead, as the directors all have their own joined-up plans – the changes they want to introduce which will bring us even closer to resellers. These projects will include streamlining our organisation in some key aspects, improving our speed of response and introducing ground-breaking customer service innovations.

“A good example of these changes will be the new sales structure, which we’ll announce shortly.”


VOW Appoints Experienced Specialist As It Expands Highly Successful Furniture Range

VOW has boosted a rapidly-growing area of its business by appointing Jenny Hipkiss to the newly-created role of furniture business development manager for the south of England.

The UK and Ireland’s largest business products and facilities supplies wholesaler, part of the EVO group of companies, has recruited Jenny as a new selection of steel items becomes available within its First range of office furniture.  

Jenny, who has over 10 years’ industry experience, has joined VOW from business furniture manufacturer Senator. She previously worked for office furniture manufacturer Lee & Plumpton, ergonomic furniture and equipment specialist Posturite, and office supplies and solutions distributor Lyreco.  

In her new role, Jenny will work with resellers, assisting them to grow their furniture sales with VOW. She has joined the company’s furniture experts, who include northern furniture business development manager Matt Allaby, plus internal sales, commercial support, product marketing, customer service and technical support specialists.

Reacting to her appointment, Jenny said: “I couldn’t see a better time to join VOW’s growing furniture team and I’m excited to now be part of it. Over the last 12 months, the company has invested heavily in this area and is clearly very serious about offering its resellers an unbeatable proposition. 

“This is backed up by the largest furniture stock holding in the wholesale market and an extremely reliable next day service, with a uniquely late 4.30pm cut-off time. First range, in particular, which provides an unequalled combination of quality and value, presents a massive opportunity for our resellers to increase their sales.” 

Explaining Jenny’s arrival, Vanessa Warne, VOW’s furniture category director, said growing sales and interest in the range meant an additional specialist of her type was essential.

Vanessa said: “Jenny’s history set her apart as a candidate for this role. She brings excellent understanding of the reseller market and great experience of working with end-users, from design brief to installation. She’s delivered projects in excess of £100,000, most recently a seven-storey office block at Bristol Law School.

“She’s incredibly passionate and enthusiastic about interiors and her personality makes her a great fit with our business.”    

The new Talos range of steel products under the First range umbrella includes tambours, cupboards, pedestals and filing cabinets available in various colours and come with integral locking to ensure personal security and component warranties between five to seven years.

Vanessa said: “We previewed the new steel items at First range’s southern launch and our Green Light event late last year and the feedback from the resellers attending was fantastic. The items offer great quality and price points that provide resellers with genuine competitive advantages over the rest of the market.”   

VOW announced in November that First range had recorded month-on-month sales growth averaging 25 per cent since its launch six months earlier. With the arrival of the steel items, First range now contains over 200 products and includes storage and seating suitable for multiple office environments, plus furniture for reception, bistro and breakout areas.

VOW’s overall next day furniture offering now contains over 1,400 items.

First range’s expansion comes as VOW launches its latest, extended quarterly Mega Deals furniture mailer. This is available free to resellers – who can customise it with their own pricing and branding – via MyMarketing, the company’s portal offering them an innovative email marketing solution and a comprehensive print module.


Leading Wholesaler VOW And Dealer Group Integra Present Major Charity With £3,000

Leading business products and facilities supplies wholesaler VOW and dealer group Integra Business Solutions have presented major charity Cancer Research UK with £3,000.

VOW, part of the EVO Group, raised funds during a six-month campaign promoting its exclusive brands to Integra members, marking the dealer group’s 20th anniversary, whilst    Integra organised a charity raffle and auction.   

The wholesaler’s campaign included raising funds at its exhibition stand during Integra’s national conference, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon. There, Integra’s gala dinner saw the charity raffle bring-in an additional £2,000 and former England footballer and manager Kevin Keegan auctioning a signed shirt, raising £550.

Andrew Tsierkezou, VOW dealer group director, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Integra’s big-hearted members and key partners, who have given so generously to a great cause.”

Providing Integra’s reaction to the fundraising, Aidan McDonough, chief executive officer, said: “I would like to personally thank all of our members and key partners who attended our national conference and who donated to this fantastic cause. Thank-you also to VOW for organising its campaign to help support us in our 20th year and helping us to support Cancer Research UK.”

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest independent research charity for the disease. It conducts investigations into the illness’s prevention, diagnosis and treatment in institutes, universities and hospitals across the UK. These are undertaken both by its own employees and grant-funded researchers.

The organisation also provides information about cancer and runs campaigns aimed at raising awareness of the disease and influencing public policy. Cancer Research UK’s work is almost entirely funded by the public. It raises money through donations, legacies, community fundraising, events, and retail or corporate partnerships. The charity has about 4,000 employees and over 40,000 regular volunteers.     

VOW now has 10 exclusive brands, containing products for workplaces and spanning all its product categories. These cover cleaning supplies, secure packaging and mailing solutions, till and machine rolls, catering essentials, office furniture, technology essentials, drywipe markers and highlighters, notebooks, storage solutions and ergonomic products.

The brands, year-on-year sales of which rose by 40 per cent in the first six months of 2017, comprise not only offerings unavailable from other wholesalers but for which there is often no real alternative elsewhere in VOW’s product range too.         


VOW Reports 25 Per Cent Average Monthly Sales Growth Of First Furniture Range

VOW is reporting 25 per cent average month-on-month growth in sales of its exclusive First furniture range during the half-year following its launch in May.  

The UK’s largest business products and facilities supplies wholesaler, a member of the EVO Group, says the figure was achieved thanks to bumper sales during September and October.

First range, intended to provide an unsurpassed combination of quality and value, now contains more than 170 products. Elements include desking, storage and seating suitable for multiple office environments, plus items for reception, bistro and breakout areas.

The range will be further boosted in January, with the launch of a selection of steel products, including tambours, cupboards, pedestals and filing cabinets.

Those steel products: are available in various colours, such as cupboards in grey or white and filing cabinets in grey, white, black, or coffee and cream; are suitable for both A4 and foolscap filing; have 100 per cent drawer extension, to ensure maximum usability; are fitted with an anti-tilt mechanism to ensure product and user safety; and come with component warranties lasting seven years on tambours, cupboards and filing cabinets, and five years on pedestals.

The steel items will be displayed to resellers attending VOW’s flagship annual Green Light event, which takes place on 7 December at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel. Registrations so far indicate a record attendance at this year’s event, where VOW Interiors, the service providing resellers with furniture solutions, will take centre stage in the exhibition.

VOW’s full furniture range of over 1,400 products is reinforced by the company’s service. This includes a uniquely late deadline of 4.30pm by which customers can place orders for next day delivery to the vast majority of UK locations.

In addition, training and support is available from Matt Allaby, the company’s furniture business development manager, and the delivery and installation service – provided by trained, specialist fitters – includes full packaging removal, product cleaning and tutoring on the furniture’s functionality, if required.   

Vanessa Warne, VOW category director for furniture, said: “The excellent sales figures aren’t surprising as they match the typical feedback we receive when speaking with our resellers.   

“The majority of those that have engaged with the new First range have sales growth figures with VOW which far surpass current market growth.”

Vanessa said resellers were increasingly recognising VOW was investing time and money into offering an improved and extremely competitive proposition, which met their customers’ needs.

She said: “Our feedback indicates most resellers now see us as almost unrecognisable, in aspects such as products, price and service, from 12 to 18 months ago and understand queries about our deliveries today are rare. They also apparently appreciate that in First range we’ve unveiled a winning package and they can trust us with more of their furniture business in the future.”


Vernon Kay To Appear At VOW Green Light Event, Which Will Be 'Biggest And Best Yet'

Top TV presenter and radio DJ Vernon Kay is to appear at this year’s VOW Green Light event, which the company says will be “the biggest and best yet.”

The UK and Ireland’s largest business products and facilities supplies wholesaler, part of the EVO Group, will stage the gathering, the annual high point of its events calendar, on 7 December in Birmingham’s Hilton Metropole hotel.

Vernon – a former model best known for hosting ITV shows Family Fortunes, Beat the Star and Splash! – will present awards recognising outstanding suppliers, products and resellers at Green Light’s gala dinner. He will also compère a game, based on Family Fortunes, involving teams of resellers, and deliver a DJ set at the after-show party.      

The gathering will additionally include a conference and an exhibition of suppliers’ products.

VOW says reseller registrations to attend this year’s Green Light already equal 90 per cent of last year’s total, with the event still two weeks away. Over 400 reseller representatives and 70 exhibitors are expected to attend.

Adrian Butler, VOW managing director, explained: “The conference will have the theme Expect More and will outline ways in which we’ll enhance our service to resellers in 2018. Green Light will also cover key initiatives we’ve undertaken this year, in areas such as delivering innovation, creating opportunities for resellers and improving their experience of dealing with us, as we’ve progressed towards our aim of becoming a world class wholesaler.”     

The gathering will also be addressed by external speakers Nigel Risner and Geoff Ramm.

Nigel is the sole motivational orator in Europe to have been awarded the Speaker of the Year accolade by business leader development specialists The Academy for Chief Executives, the Executive Committee and Vistage, plus commercial execution software experts Footdown. He is one of only six UK-based recipients of the Award of Excellence from the Professional Speaking Association.

Adrian said: “Nigel’s Green Light address, entitled How to Create Impact for You and Your Team, will challenge attendees to expand their horizons, embrace opportunities that await them and aim to have them dreaming of achievements which may have seemed impossible before.”   

Geoff is the creator of business concepts Celebrity Service and OMG Marketing. He has been acclaimed as an expert in devising highly successful marketing ideas and designing memorable customer experiences. In addition to providing entertainment, his presentations aim to make audiences engaged and leave inspired.

Adrian said: “Geoff will ask the audience whether, when their competition goes in one direction, they follow or head the other way.

“Making the point that, to become memorable, they must stand out from the competition, he’ll tell the audience how to market their businesses, so customers think of them not only the next time they’re looking to order but in 30 days, 30 months or even 30 years.”

Adrian said places at this year’s Green Light were being taken fast, so potential attendees should register now, to ensure they avoided missing a memorable experience.

He added: “There’s no doubt this year’s event will be the biggest and best yet and we can’t wait for it to come around.”   

Resellers interested in attending should visit www.greenlightevent.com.   

This year’s gathering will be sponsored by backers including office product manufacturer Acco Brands, consumer goods maker BIC, multinational conglomerate 3M, filing products manufacturer ExaClair, speciality packaging and envelope provider Bong and transnational food and drink supplier Nestlé and many more.


VOW Reports Many Positive Re-Seller Reactions To Southern Furniture Range Launch

VOW is reporting many positive reactions from resellers who attended the southern launch of its exclusive First office furniture range.

The UK’s largest business products and facilities supplies wholesaler, part of the EVO Group, staged the event at Allianz Park, Hendon, north London, the home of Saracens rugby union club. The day included a new sub-range of steel furniture being unveiled.  

Forty-five resellers in the VOW Venture enhanced partner accreditation programme attended the interactive event.  

Intended to provide an unsurpassed combination of quality and value, First range contains more than 170 products, covering 85 per cent of all furniture enquiries VOW receives from resellers. Elements include desking, storage and seating suitable for multiple office environments, plus items for reception, bistro and breakout areas.

The range encompasses both established VOW offerings, which have had their prices reduced to fit its affordability principle, and new products, including a selection of steel tambours, cupboards, pedestals and filing cabinets.

Those steel products: are available in various colours, such as cupboards in grey or white and filing cabinets in grey, white, black, or coffee and cream; are suitable for both A4 and foolscap filing; have 100 per cent drawer extension, to ensure maximum usability; are fitted with an anti-tilt mechanism, to ensure product and user safety; and come with component warranties lasting seven years on tambours, cupboards and filing cabinets, and five years on pedestals.

Reacting to the southern launch, attendee Paddy Dobbin, of Suffolk based Compleat Office Solutions said: The event was more than I anticipated. The format worked really well, with the interactive sessions, and it was great to see the quality of the products, discuss with the specialists and receive feedback directly. 

“Overall, it was an excellent day and my colleague and I feel well informed of what is available in terms of VOW’s service and offering.  What’s more, the event provided a great networking opportunity with other dealers.

“VOW is now an unrecognisable company, in terms of price and service for the furniture range, compared to 12 to 18 months ago.  I very rarely receive queries regarding our deliveries today.” 

Jamie Bloomer, of Northampton-based Halcyon Office Solutions, said the VOW team clearly understood the challenges of supplying furniture to a multi-channel customer base and have unveiled a winning package.

He said: “The event was informative and delivered with passion. We now look forward to working with a great and enthusiastic team.”

Dana Whitehouse, of BOS Sales (Office Equipment), based in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, said: “It’s great to know that VOW is investing time and money into offering us an improved and extremely competitive furniture proposition. I feel increasing confidence after meeting the team that I could trust VOW with more of my furniture business in the future.”

First range, all of whose elements have guarantees, ranging from two to five years, and on which bundle and volume deals are available, is reinforced by VOW’s service. This includes a uniquely late deadline of 4.30pm by which customers can place orders for next day delivery to the vast majority of UK locations, and free carriage for orders worth over £250.

In addition, training and support is available from Matt Allaby, VOW’s furniture business development manager, and the delivery and installation service – provided by trained, specialist furniture fitters – includes full packaging removal, product cleaning and tutoring on the furniture’s functionality, if required.   

Resellers attending the southern launch, who could touch and feel First range’s elements, heard presentations from VOW furniture category director Vanessa Warne and Matt Allaby. The event also featured a market update from Dan Wooler, managing director of Bristol-based furniture reseller TC Group, which operates the outsourcing service for VOW and online resellers.

The schedule additionally included presentations from two VOW suppliers: business machine, record storage and office accessory manufacturer Fellowes; and science-based technology company 3M.  

Summarising the event, Vanessa Warne said: “It was a great day. First range, including our new steel lines, was extremely well received and resellers were impressed by the high quality of the products, underpinned by our range of services and next day delivery as standard.

“Resellers reported that they walked away with some new ideas that would immediately benefit them when speaking with their customers. We’re now planning many more interactive events over the coming months.”  


VOW Offers Re-Sellers Chance To Secure 'Continuous and Guaranteed' Additional Revenue Stream

VOW has responded to feedback from resellers across the UK by enabling them to offer customers an expert workplace recycling service.

The leading business products and facilities supplies wholesaler, a member of the EVO Group, has broadened its offering by teaming up with national market-leading specialists GreensafeIT, one of the UK’s most highly accredited asset disposers.

VOW’s move means resellers can now offer end-users professional, safe, responsible removal, recycling and disposal of potentially hazardous waste – principally batteries, fluorescent lamps and electronic or electrical equipment. This is accompanied by a fully approved audit trail for added customer security.  

The service complies with all law and regulation, including utilising the correct documentation, and will meet the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force next year.  

GreensafeIT operates battery collections within industry-leading timescales. It removes the risk for customers of the serious issues that can be caused by factors such as leakages, short-circuiting or water ingress when batteries are recycled.

For fluorescent lamps, the company offers next business day deliveries and collections of the secure containers it provides. Its service includes the safe storage of hazardous waste streams, such as the mercury within fluorescent tubes, one droplet of which would contaminate 30,000 litres of water beyond a safe drinking level. There is also a fully compliant and safe transport solution, with treatment being available for all chemistries, meaning every type of lamp can be recycled.  

GreensafeIT’s electronic or electrical equipment recycling service covers numerous items needing a plug or battery, including TVs, kettles, vacuums, computers, printers and smoke detectors. Customers simply rent or buy containers and arrange for them to be exchanged when full, or schedule palletised collections.     

Announcing the partnership, VOW managing director Adrian Butler said: “It’s a key element of our strategy that we work with resellers to enhance their sales and incomes wherever we can.

“Their feedback to us had clearly indicated the demand for a professional workplace recycling service and this development shows how responsive we try to be to them. Resellers finding a market for this addition will generate a continuous and guaranteed extra revenue stream.

“This widespread wish for a specialist workplace recycling service isn’t surprising, as legal and environmental compliance is an ever-changing area that can already cause headaches for any business.”

The alliance with GreensafeIT also makes a series of additional options available to VOW resellers on a project basis. These include: onsite services, such as data erasure and media shredding, involving items including hard disk drives, CDs and USB flash drives; the secure, safe and controlled removal of IT and telecommunications equipment during office relocations; and a portable appliance testing service for IT equipment and peripherals, delivered by National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers-certified engineers.

Also available on a one-off basis are: IT recycling, encompassing personal computer disposal and remarketing; onsite data erasure; and configuration and bonded storage.

Resellers wanting to take advantage of GreensafeIT services should contact their VOW account managers.


VOW Recognised For Its Strong Partnership At Office Friendly Deler Association Festival

VOW is “delighted” to have been awarded the Wholesaler of the Year accolade at the Office Friendly dealer association Entrepreneurs Festival.

The award was presented at the Rio Carnival-themed gala dinner, following a day of presentations, interactive sessions and an exhibition at the event, held at the Belfry Hotel & Resort, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.

Martin Weedall, VOW’s sales director, commented: “We are extremely delighted and proud to have won the Wholesaler of the Year award and say a big ‘thank-you’ to all of the Office Friendly members who continue to support VOW. This is a real testament to the hard work of the VOW team.”

He added that VOW wanted to say “a big ‘congratulations’” to all the other worthy winners on the night.

Office Friendly’s managing director Julie Hawley commented: “This is a new award and represents a change in the market, with dealers having more choice for supply.

“VOW continuously works in partnership with the Office Friendly members throughout the year, with a backdrop of difficult market conditions. They have developed a new exclusive portfolio of products and engaged additional expertise in growth areas, to the support the members with their customers.”

VOW focused its stand at the festival` on its exclusive brands and presented a TV to Aaron Fenwick, from RAO Stationers, in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, who won the challenge it staged there.