A new name above the door

Wednesday 26th of January 2022

The IPG merchant membership group for plumbing and heating merchants and manufacturers is working to support tradespeople who buy from its members with more competitive prices.

You may have noticed its name appearing alongside some of your favourite local plumbing and heating merchants. Since 2019, dozens of independent businesses across the country have become dual-branded, with signs for the IPG springing up.

The IPG membership group helps independent plumbing and heating stores and bathroom showrooms compete with the buying power of the national merchants while remaining independent. Becoming a member of the IPG gives them access to products from suppliers that they may not have been able to stock otherwise, at competitive prices.

The IPG was founded in 2013 by chairman Robin Beal and is now the largest and fastest-growing membership group for plumbing, heating, and bathroom specialists. The group has more than 200 member locations nationwide and offers products from more than 140 suppliers.

The first three dual-branded stores were created in 2019 in collaboration with Newline in Kingswinford, West Midlands; Gas & Plumb Bits in New Milton, Hampshire; and Plumb Inn in Enfield, North London. Each got received a facelift inside and out, with jointly branded store signs, an improved layout, and digital screens for promotional messaging about new products and promotions. The IPG promoted each branch throughout the local area to encourage new customers and raise awareness of its member store.

Ray Andes, managing director of Plumb Inn, says: “We have a new-look trade counter and showroom, a new-look website and an opportunity to be involved in marketing initiatives that, as an independent merchant, we could not achieve on our own. The IPG’s support of the independent sector will be pivotal to the development and growth of our business.”

 Independent merchants that join the group receive marketing support in the form of own branded websites, digital marketing and exclusive monthly promotions they can send out to existing and potential customers.

For gas engineers, this means competitive prices and information about new products and promotions through exclusive social media content created by suppliers and The IPG team themselves. All this content is branded #TheIPG to make it easier to identify.

Group members are also choosing to create websites and e-commerce platforms – many of them didn’t have a website previously – making it easier for customer to buy online.

 The IPG has plans to further develop its offer to gas engineers, as it says it believes merchants, suppliers and tradespeople should all be able to work together to benefit every step of the supply chain.

Glenn Fisher, managing director of The IPG, says: “Our partnerships are in place to seize those opportunities together and help each other have more successful businesses. Because with your success comes our collective success and, with our collective success, the group will continue to grow stronger, together.”