Twelve members of the B&Q buying team attended the event which saw some 84 twenty-minute appointments take place covering all categories from heavyside DIY to garden to housewares.
Fifty-five companies were able to present their ideas to the buying team in response to a brief which focussed on new and innovative products and also innovative packaging ideas.
In particular, B&Q was looking for:
• Products / kits that make the job easier for customers
• Products that sell well in other hardware retailers around the world
• Any areas where a gap in the current offerings from B&Q can be addressed
The day was aimed at all sizes of potential supplier and to facilitate the listing process, BHETA partnered with Birmingham Innovations Ltd in the role of potential distributor. For the successful companies on the day there is no listing fee and a B&Q online presence represents the quickest to market option with trading within 14 weeks a possibility. B&Q online is achieving four million hits a week and is the fastest growing part of the business. For those suppliers selected to go straight into store, retail opportunities are expected to go live by August.
BHETA home improvement sector director Paul Grinsell said: "This was a great day. It was the first time we have worked with B&Q in this way and the mutual benefits of Meet the Buyer for all parties was plain to see. I am very hopeful that further such opportunities can now be organised and I know there will be no shortage of interest."
B&Q category director new categories David Lennon added: "Overall the day was a great success. It’s the first time that B&Q has launched anything like this and the energy around the day from both the suppliers and the B&Q buying teams was really encouraging. We know that B&Q can be seen as a difficult business to which to present innovation or newness so in my categories we wanted to address this and give suppliers of all sizes the opportunity to present. My buying teams believe that they have found upward of 100 new products that will make their way into our assortment over the next few months. We hope to repeat the day several times per year."
Companies interested in taking part in future BHETA Meet The Buyer events should contact BHETA on 0121 237 1130 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance, or visit the website www.bheta.co.uk.