Re-Sellers React Very Positively To Latest Venture Training Day

VOW says it has received very positive reactions to its latest training day from the resellers who attended.

The leading business products and facilities supplies wholesaler hosted the event, for members of its VOW Venture enhanced partner accreditation programme, at the Village Hotel Club, Solihull, West Midlands and almost 50 delegates attended.

Speakers included Anthony Stears, a leading expert on helping businesses improve customer service and increase sales via the phone, known as the Telephone Assassin, who delivered a three-hour workshop.

The day also featured Debbie Nice, VOW’s facilities supplies category director, delivering a presentation about this market.  VOW recently announced it had seen a 10 per cent increase in facilities supplies sales during the first half of 2017, after investing £500,000 in this part of its business.    

Four of the company’s suppliers also ran product training sessions at the Solihull gathering aimed at equipping the resellers with useful sales hints and tips: intelligent sound solution provider Jabra; business machine, record storage equipment and office accessory manufacturer Fellowes; personal and health care product specialist Kimberly Clark; and cleaning and related product manufacturer Robert Scott.

Anthony Stears’ session aimed to change the way attendees thought about telephone communication and motivate them to drive sales for their companies. It covered etiquette, obtaining permission to speak, call structure and techniques to retain control of conversations, among other topics.

The appearance followed Anthony’s delivery of workshops at similar VOW events in Leeds and London during April and May, which were hugely well-received.

Commenting on the Solihull event, attendee Sue Williams, of Hereford-based A4 Office Products, said: “The location was very central and the day’s format thoroughly enjoyable. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a course with VOW to anyone in the industry.”

Zena Vaghela, of PBS Office, based in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, said she felt training like this should happen regularly.

She said: “We all tend to go through the motions after a while and it’s nice to have that jolt to bring you back to the energetic sales person you were when you started. All-in-all, I would be happy to do another training day like this.”

Commenting on Anthony Stears’ performance, James Wood, of Woodco Office E quipment, based in Boston, Lincolnshire, said: “He was amazing. He made things very simple and easy to understand. I walked away from his talk with new ideas and a new way of thinking about my approach to cold calling. I also got a few tips on what to say in some situations, which helped a lot.”

VOW commercial and marketing director Heather McManus said the regular VOW Venture training days were now well-established and would continue. She said they underlined the company’s commitment to helping resellers drive sales and increase revenue wherever possible.

She added: “The involvement of Anthony Stears this year has enabled us to offer product and sales training under one roof for the first time, arming attendees with all the tools they need to sell successfully, and the reaction from resellers has been excellent.

“We’re delighted with this and will continue to seek new ways to make the training days even more attractive to resellers in the future.”  


VOW Set For Southern Launch Of Already Successful First Office Furniture Range

VOW is to hold the southern launch of its already successful First office furniture range at the home of Europe’s champion rugby union club next week.

The leading business products and facilities supplies wholesaler will stage the event on Wednesday 11 October at Allianz Park, Hendon, north London, home of Saracens, the continent’s Champions Cup winners for the last two seasons.

Members of VOW Venture, the company’s enhanced partner accreditation programme, are eligible to attend the gathering.

First range now contains upwards of 170 products, aimed at providing an unbeatable combination of quality and value.  It includes office desking, storage and seating, plus items for reception, bistro and breakout areas.

The range includes a mix of commodity products, in a number of finishes, whose prices reflect its affordability principle.

VOW managing director Adrian Butler said: “We wanted to offer resellers a range covering almost all their needs, while providing unsurpassed standards of craftsmanship and pricing. We’ve launched First range now because we really feel we’ve achieved these aims.

“The early signs are that First range is proving hugely successful, as it’s accounting for an ever-higher proportion of our furniture sales. We’re now enhancing its elements on a quarterly basis.”

First range is reinforced by VOW’s service, which includes a uniquely late deadline of 4.30pm by which customers can place orders for next day delivery. The company also offers free carriage for orders worth over £250. In addition, the delivery and installation service – by trained, specialist furniture fitters – includes full packaging removal, product clean down and tutoring on the furniture’s functionality, if required.   

Resellers attending the southern launch will be able to touch and feel First range’s elements, see some new products for 2018 showcased and hear about VOW’s furniture strategy. The event will also feature 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.  

First range’s northern launch was held in Leeds during June. It was the initial event of its kind that VOW had staged and the company said it was delighted with results and feedback following the gathering, as 20 per cent of resellers attending placed immediate orders for the range’s products.    

Attendee Paul Green, of Grantham-based Alexander Green Office Interiors, said: “It was a great event that showed VOW are really listening and taking actions to improve. The new pricing structure and products make a real change and dealers would be foolish not to take a fresh look at VOW as a credible supplier of convenience furniture.”

Emily Edwards-Whitley, of ACS Business Supplies, based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, said: “I found the day really useful. Each session was fun, interactive and informative. We left really motivated and ready to take on this category.”     

VOW Venture members interested in attending the southern First range launch event should email marketing@voweurope.com.  


VOW Celebrates Being Only Wholesaler Shortlisted For Two Prizes In BOSS Awards

VOW has become the only wholesaler to have entries shortlisted for more than one prize in the annual award scheme operated by the British Office Supplies and Services Federation (BOSS).

The leading business products and facilities supplies wholesaler has become a finalist in the Initiative of the Year category for its Product Conveyor and seen its senior web designer Daniel Canetti shortlisted in the Emerging Professional of the Year award.

VOW’s Product Conveyor allows end-users to order goods from resellers as they become available throughout the year, though the company says its annual catalogue, containing thousands of items, still serves as a hugely useful sales tool and basis for informed purchasing decisions by resellers.

The highly streamlined Product Conveyor process, which took several months to develop, has removed catalogue-related launch barriers, such as production deadlines, and up to 78 days from an item’s launch lifecycle. There are now as few as 10 days between suppliers presenting goods to VOW and these becoming available to resellers.

VOW launched over 270 items via Product Conveyor in the first half of this year – an average of more than two per day – and expects to have added over 1,200 products to the by the of 2017.

Dan Canetti joined VOW less than two years ago with very little industry experience. However, he was recognised by his peers in 2016 as Support Employee of the Year for the entire EVO Group, of which VOW is a part, ahead of more than 1,000 other eligible staff. He was also promoted from executive to senior web designer.

Reacting to the two short-listings, VOW managing director Adrian Butler said: “We’re delighted at this recognition.

“The Product Conveyor is an industry game-changer, as it’s transformed the way the channel works. It’s broken the mould of the sector’s rigid traditional merchandising and annual catalogue cycle, replacing it with a much more contemporary and flexible model, ensuring that resellers can offer customers the right products at the right times.

“Dan’s shortlisting is also richly deserved, as he’s quickly made himself a pivotal part of our large organisation. In addition to extensive technical skills, he’s demonstrated excellent leadership, project management and other key aptitudes.”

Winners of this year’s BOSS Awards will be announced on 30 November at London’s Tower Guoman Hotel.

VOW’s double-shortlisting echoes its performance last year, when it was also the only wholesaler to be a finalist in two categories: it went on to win the Initiative of the Year prize for its VOW Venture enhanced partner accreditation programme and was shortlisted in the Catalogue of the Year section.


VOW Launches Unique Rewards Scheme For Re-Sellers In Enhanced Partner Accreditation Programme

VOW has become the UK’s first wholesaler to launch a continuous and comprehensive scheme with world-leading specialist consultancy Corporate Rewards incentivising resellers to buy business products and facilities supplies.

The ground-breaking initiative, open to members of the VOW Venture enhanced partner accreditation programme, will consist of various incentives and promotions during a year. All will involve points being awarded for purchases of relevant products over defined periods, with the highest scoring resellers winning valuable prizes.

VOW Venture Rewards, as the innovative scheme is called, has been accompanied by the launch of a bespoke portal, enabling participants to track their performances against targets in current initiatives and see announcements of incremental opportunities to earn extra points provided by suppliers sponsoring the promotions, for example.

The VOW Venture Rewards scheme consists initially of the current Heatwave, Whiteout and Discover incentives. Eligible resellers had to register for these by the end of July and the promotions run until December.   

Heatwave and Whiteout are for VOW Venture members based in the UK, while Discover is for those in Ireland.  

Each reseller registering for one of the three incentives is receiving a monthly target for purchases of goods supplied by VOW and manufactured by the sponsoring brands, throughout the promotion period. This goal represents a 10 per cent increase on the amount the reseller spent on equivalent products during the same period last year.

For every £1 or €1 the reseller spends over their target, they earn a point. The entrants in the three incentives with the most points at close of business on Christmas Eve will win prizes.

The Heatwave winners will experience three nights at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa, on an exclusive private island in a lagoon near Venice. The Whiteout participants will spend four nights at the Hotel La Chaudanne, in Méribel, one of the world’s finest skiing resorts. The successful Discover entrants will stay for three nights at the Puente Romano Golf & Spa Resort in Puerto Banus, Spain.

Sponsors of the three incentives include 3M, Acco, Alba, Bic, Brother, Dahle, Durable, Energizer, ExaClair, Hamelin, Henkel, Muggi, Nestlé Professional, Newell Brands, Philips, Q-Connect Toners, Schneider, Securit, VOW Interiors and all VOW’s exclusive brands.

Heather McManus, VOW’s Commercial and Marketing Director, said: “It’s a key part of our corporate strategy that we work with our resellers to help them increase sales and grow their businesses. We’re therefore delighted to be announcing our unique VOW Venture Rewards scheme, which will further incentivise them to do just this, through a series of original and enjoyable promotions throughout the year.

“We’ve also launched the scheme because we wanted to reward our VOW Venture Partners who perform outstandingly and whose contribution to our business we value so highly.”

Corporate Rewards, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, works with some of the world’s leading businesses to create award-winning recognition, motivation, incentive and event programmes. The company’s clients include Microsoft, Red Bull, Pirelli, Honeywell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise plus other household names in industries such as information technology, manufacturing, finance, automotive, retail and fast-moving consumer goods.   


VOW Warns Re-Sellers About Grey Stocks Of Q-Connect Products In UK Market

VOW is warning resellers that grey stock of the Q-Connect private label range of low-cost office essentials has reached the UK market.

The leading business products and facilities supplies wholesaler has said that only a small amount of the grey stock, which is being sold at reduced prices, is relevant to the domestic market and it believes some of the goods on offer are at least two years old.  

Q-Connect products are aimed at providing a high quality, attractively-priced alternative to brand name office essentials. Established in 1998, the range comprises 70 product groups and over 5,000 lines – including business machines, writing implements and computer consumables – all conforming to the highest EU standards.

The range’s products are available exclusively through members of INTERACTION, the Belgian-based alliance of wholesalers and distributors from more than 20 European countries, which developed and owns the Q-Connect brand.

VOW is the sole wholesaler based in the UK or Republic of Ireland authorised to sell Q-Connect products, as its parent, EVO Group, is the only INTERACTION member located in either country.

Andrew Stacey, marketing and merchandise director with EVO Group, said: “The grey stock has come from a Dutch reseller and it’s therefore unsurprising that only a limited number of its lines are relevant to the UK market.

“The reseller concerned also left INTERACTION some time ago and therefore has no access to the current Q-Connect range. This explains why a significant percentage of the grey stock is toner products that we believe are over two years old. These can be identified easily, as they use the European KF code, rather than the VOW one.”

Andrew said EVO Group had spoken to INTERACTION and were confident there was no more grey stock to come. He also believed measures now in place would ensure a similar episode did not occur in the future.       

He said: “We’d ask resellers to bear in mind that the only wholesaler based in the UK authorised to sell Q-Connect products is VOW.  We can supply from the whole range, with everything we provide being up-to-date and fully relevant to the British market. I’d add that neither we nor INTERACTION have any intention of changing these arrangements.”

Resellers with queries about, or wanting to order items from, the Q-Connect range can contact their VOW Account Manager for further information.


VOW Grows Facilities Supplies Sales By 10 Per Cent Following £500,000 Investment

VOW is reporting facilities supplies sales 10 per cent higher than last year after investing £500,000 in that part of its business during 2017.

The leading business product and facilities supplies wholesaler said some of the money has been used to recruit additional personnel, including two specialist business development managers, who work directly with resellers to increase their product sales.

VOW says the investment has also enabled it to improve marketing support for resellers, offer a more complete product range, deepen its stock holding to aid availability, and instil a better understanding of the facilities supplies marketplace among staff across its business and in the reseller community.       

The company now offers over 5,000 facilities supplies products, in areas such as catering, janitorial supplies, premises management and health and safety compliance, and has direct relationships with over 100 major manufacturers.

VOW says its most popular facilities supplies lines so far this year have been mainly in the cleaning and catering categories. They include hygiene and janitorial products, such as chemicals, mops, buckets, cloths and wipes. Also in-demand have been white goods, beverage and vending machines, cups, cutlery, napkins, sugar and drinks, such as tea, coffee, cola, water and fruit juices.       

Adam Noble, managing director of the Derby-based national business services provider Irongate Group, said: “There’s been a step change from VOW this year in the facilities supplies area, a really important growth category for Irongate. They’ve clearly introduced increased price flexibility and seem to have really listened to their customers over broadening the range of products they offer.”  

Explaining the reasons for the £500,000 investment, VOW managing director Adrian Butler said: “We knew that our resellers were making purchases of facilities supplies products from providers other than us. We also realised we could help resellers increase revenue, through supplying an enhanced level of expertise in areas such as sales and merchandising, and improve efficiency, by enabling them to make multiple purchases on single orders. I’m pleased to say this decision is proving successful.”

Adrian said a major contributor to the performance was VOW’s high-quality overall service, based on a consultative approach.

He said: “Our next day delivery contrasts with many of our competitors only supplying in three to five days and, alongside the rest of our service, this means we now offer a genuinely stockless solution, avoiding resellers having to buy in bulk. In addition, we provide thorough training and marketing support to resellers and deliver an after-sales service that’s second-to-none.”

Adrian added that VOW’s exclusive 2Work range of cleaning products, designed to provide superior solutions at affordable prices, was another key reason for the success.

VOW’s support for some resellers this year has included using their purchase ledgers to help them optimise pricing structures and therefore attract more revenue. VOW says it would encourage other resellers to partner with it in this way.

Adrian said: “The £500,000 investment and enhancements following it reflect the fact that our strategic vision includes adding real value for our resellers and helping them to grow their businesses.”

Facilities supplies and sales training is available to resellers in VOW Venture, the company’s enhanced partner accreditation programme. The next such event is being held on 13 September at the Village Hotel Club, Solihull, West Midlands. Resellers can discover more details by emailing marketing@voweurope.com.  

Resellers wanting more information about, or to order, VOW facilities supplies products should call the sales office on 0844 980 8000 or speak to their account manager.


VOW Encourages Re-Sellers To Act Quickly If They Want To Win Luxury Breaks In Italy Or France

VOW is encouraging eligible resellers to register quickly for an incentive and take their pick of a luxury break in Italy or France if successful.

The leading business products and facilities supplies wholesaler has reiterated that the registration deadline for this year’s Heatwave and Whiteout incentive, which offer these prizes, falls on 31 July. The incentive is open to all UK-based resellers in the company’s VOW Venture enhanced partner accreditation programme.    

Each reseller registering for one of the trips will receive a monthly target spend for the period until December on goods supplied by VOW and manufactured by the sponsoring brands. These include 3M, Acco, Bic, Durable, Energizer, ExaClair, Hamelin, Henkel, Newell Brands, Alba, Dahle, Muggi, Schneider, Securit, Q-Connect Toners, VOW Interiors and all VOW’s exclusive brands.

This target will represent a 10 per cent increase on the amount the reseller spent buying equivalent products during the same period last year.

For every £1 the reseller spends over their target, they earn a point. The 38 entrants across the two elements with the most points at close of business on Christmas Eve will go on the trips.

The Heatwave winners will experience three nights at the JW Marriott Resort & Spa, on an exclusive private island in a lagoon near Venice. The Whiteout participants will spend four nights at the Hotel La Chaudanne, in Méribel, one of the world’s finest skiing resorts.

Heather McManus, VOW commercial and marketing director, said: “Our unique Heatwave and Whiteout incentive trips continue to go from strength to strength. Last year, the number of Heatwave and Whiteout participants rose by over 40 per cent. Resellers increased sales of the participating brands by up to 35 per cent during the incentive period.     

“The early signs are that this year’s delegates will be even more successful and we’d urge VOW Venture members who haven’t yet registered to do so before it’s too late.”

Eligible resellers can register for the incentive at www.ventureincentive.co.uk.


VOW Labels Unique Scheme Inviting Re-Sellers To Apply For Longer Credit Terms A 'Game Changer'

VOW has acclaimed its unique new “no cost or catches” scheme under which resellers can apply for 30-day extensions to their current credit terms as a “game-changer”.

The initiative, the first of its kind from a broad line business and facilities supplies wholesaler, is open to all resellers throughout the UK. The scheme is powered through a bespoke agreement VOW has concluded with giant financial services group American Express, which is advertising the initiative using the strapline “supercharge your cashflow.”  

VOW managing director Adrian Butler said: “We’re really excited to be offering this game-changer, which has been a year in the making. It will see resellers currently with payment periods of 60 days, for example, now potentially extending them to 90, following a simple application process. The scheme has no cost or catches for resellers, who’ll deal directly with us, not a third party.  

“Resellers will be able to use the cash freed-up for any purpose they like, including supporting growth plans, attracting new business, safeguarding existing revenue or simply easing any cash flow pressure. We developed the scheme following conversations with resellers about what’s important to their businesses.”

VOW says it briefly previewed the scheme at its mid-year event earlier this month in Northamptonshire. This was attended by about 60 resellers in the VOW Venture enhanced partner accreditation programme, plus company suppliers and staff.

Adrian said: “Even this low-key mention has generated a significant response, with numerous resellers already showing serious interest in securing the benefits of the extended terms.”

Other UK-based resellers interested in taking advantage of the longer payment periods should register by emailing gamechanger@voweurope.com.


VOW Reports Hugely Successful Launch Furniture Range Designed To Deliver Unbeaten Mix Of Quality And Value

VOW, the UK’s largest business product and facilities supplies wholesaler, has reported a “hugely successful” launch of its exclusive First Range of office furniture.

Intended to provide an unsurpassed combination of quality and value, the range also aims to satisfy the vast majority of reseller furniture requirements.

The company said 20 per cent of the resellers in the VOW Venture enhanced partner accreditation programme attending the unveiling event at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds placed immediate orders and the range is already accounting for a fast-rising proportion of its furniture sales.      

First Range contains 130 products, covering 85 per cent of all furniture enquiries VOW receives from dealers. Elements include desking, storage and seating suitable for multiple office environments, plus items for reception, bistro and breakout areas.

The range includes both new products and established VOW offerings, which have had their prices reduced to fit its affordability principle.

Examples of furniture available in First Range include radial desks and pedestals for less than £120, mesh task contemporary look chairs for under £35, reception chairs for less than £25, and multi-purpose stacking chairs for about £16.  

VOW managing director Adrian Butler said: “We wanted to offer dealers a range covering almost all their needs, while providing unbeaten standards of craftsmanship and pricing. We’ve launched First Range now because we really feel we’ve achieved these aims and the early signs are that the launch period is proving hugely successful. We’ll now enhance the range on a quarterly basis.”

First Range is reinforced by VOW’s service, which includes a uniquely late deadline of 4.30pm by which customers can place orders for next day delivery within Britain. The company also offers free carriage for orders worth over £250. In addition, the delivery and installation service – by trained, specialist furniture fitters – includes full packaging removal, product cleaning and tutoring on the furniture’s functionality, if required.   

Attendees at the one-day launch event heard about the thinking behind First Range and VOW’s plans for its future. They also received interactive training in tailored sessions, centred on collaborative working, wellbeing and ergonomics, with staged room layouts displaying First Range items. In addition, resellers and their sales people attending were provided with product knowledge and, following the event, received comprehensive marketing and training materials.   

Adrian said: “This was the first event of its kind we’ve staged and we’re delighted at how it went. On top of being given the chance to appreciate directly First Range’s quality, attendees heard about key trends in the furniture market its products satisfy. They also learned about extensive value-added services we provide that help them to use the range to exploit opportunities, grow their businesses and increase margins.”   

Reacting to First Range’s launch, VOW customer Albert Sterry, of Dublin-based Codex Office Solutions, said: “I’m really impressed by the furniture and the pricing. It’s a great range of desks, storage and seating, which meets customers’ demands and price points. The lead time is impressive and, with the stock behind each product, what’s not to like? Well done, VOW, and keep up the good work.”     

The next First Range roadshow event, to which VOW Venture resellers will be invited, takes place at the Allianz Stadium, Hendon, north London, on 11 October.