A Northamptonshire timber product manufacturer has embraced modern strategies to connect with customers during the Covid-19 crisis which has resulted in their order books being in a stronger position than this time last year, despite the cancellation of major national shows.
Family business Scotts of Thrapston, which is celebrating its centenary this year, has a proud reputation of turning timber into a range of products, including summerhouses, stables, American barns, garages, car barns, pavilions, roof trusses, joinery, engineered flooring and education buildings.
Managing director James Scott said the company was now fully open for business having responded quickly to the Covid-19 crisis and embraced best practice.
“As a company, we are celebrating our centenary this year. Having been through a world war and weathered countless recessions, we have learned many lessons to help us come out of this in a good position.
“We have a challenging time ahead and what we have to go through in the short term is daunting, but you have to adapt, and I strongly believe that the future is bright. There are people out there who have a passion for their gardens, there is a demand for our summerhouses and our stables and we hope customers will come back and support not only local suppliers, but will buy British and help the economy too.”
It was a blow to the company when national events such as the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace Flower Shows, and Badminton and Burghley Horse Trials were cancelled, but they created a successful campaign to counter the setback.
James added: “We did what was needed to be done and embraced alternative methods using our website, digital and social media tools to connect with our customers. We created a virtual homage to Chelsea with a video showcase of our summerhouses and had a strong marketing campaign which has helped put our order books ahead of where they were this time last year.”
However, while James believes such modern methods are important during the current crisis, and a way to connect with a younger generation, he believes that it is still best to sell person to person, which remains a cornerstone of the Scotts service.
He added: “In our 100th year, what this highlights is our philosophy of engaging with our customers, listening to them, and accommodating their dreams and this is where we have been successful during the lockdown.
“However, the shows certainly do play a part, we have a lovely, quality product, and our customers can not only sit in the summerhouses but they can meet the people behind the product and put a face to a name. They can see us – the manufacturer, supplier, erector – they can look us in the eye and know that they will be looked after, and there is a real value in that and an emotional connection behind the purchase.
“I think people buy from people, especially when it comes to a luxury item. As with any major purchase, the thrill is in the research, in finding the product and having it sold to you. We get a real buzz as a business from meeting incredible people, and it is our amazing customers that keep us going.”