The past few months have been difficult for us all, but we have so many reasons to be optimistic. At The IPG, we have witnessed firsthand the resilience of our members — many have gone above and beyond to keep serving their customers, implementing new safety measures in store and fulfilling home delivery and click-and-collect orders.

The IPG team has embraced new ways of working and we have discovered new things about ourselves, our members, and suppliers. Most importantly, we’ve learned that whatever life throws at us, there is always light at the end of the tunnel, especially when you all work together.

Working together to grow and expand

The IPG levels the playing field by offering five key benefits to its members: increased buying power, business tools and resources, marketing support, IT services including digital screens and websites and exclusive rebates.

When a business becomes part of the group and joins forces with other like-minded independents in the plumbing, heating, and bathroom sector, it can achieve economies of scale and have a voice that can compete with larger companies. Members benefit from each other’s success; by working together we succeed together.

In line with its stated vision of “supporting independents,” the group strives to make life for its members as easy and as successful as possible while enabling its customers to buy the best brands locally at great prices.
Some of the IPG’s members share their experiences:

Dorchester Plumbing Supplies joined in October 2014, as it liked the idea of being part of a group that was specifically set up for the smaller independent business and liked the “stronger together” ethos. Director Steve Rolph said, “Working with The IPG gives us a voice that is heard a lot more clearly by our customers and a presence that is noticed. Being part of the group has given us the opportunity to work with suppliers and manufacturers that perhaps would not have opened their doors to us otherwise.”

WMI Simpsons, a family-run supplier of heating and bathroom products situated in Finchley, London, joined in 2015. Sales Director Justin Protheroe was impressed with the passion the group demonstrated toward the independents. Recently, one of his customers commented on a favourable price that Justin was able to offer him, saying, “It’s a better price than I can buy it elsewhere.” Justin responded that it was because he was part of The IPG, which negotiates with suppliers on behalf of all of its members to get favourable prices that he can pass on to customers.

ASE Plumbing & Heating Supplies, based in Ludlow, is a well-established family-run and owned business that first opened its doors in 1988. Director Adam Pearce explained how the group has played a major part in its success story. “Over the past seven years, we have benefited from several group strategies and initiatives, such as networking opportunities, marketing ideas and joint campaigns. The financial and business support provided has been second to none. The group has also helped improve our online presence by providing us with a website that is easy to update from the IPG portal and is well supported by suppliers with offers and banners. The profile of the independent merchant has been raised massively thanks to the group. The scale and strength that can be achieved together has only been highlighted through being a member.”

A new member in 2020, Howard Slowley from JCA Plumbing and Heating Merchants, based in Southend on Sea, was attracted by the support the membership group could offer his business. Howard wanted to be “all in” on the marketing initiatives available from the start. He believes that this will benefit his business and his competitive offering to his customers, saying, “I am positive about the future now I am a member of The IPG. The group has already supported my business in creating a new brand identity, new store signage and we are working together on a dual branded website; as our relationship develops, the only way is up.”

The IPG members have unique advantages that cannot be found in larger operations. They have exceptional product knowledge, are willing to go that extra mile to support their customers, can offer the best brands at great prices, and most importantly, they understand that together we are stronger!

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