Light the way to great showrooms

Posted on 08 May 2019

Light the way to great showrooms

NMBS and Toolbank are again sponsoring a category at the 2019 BMN Awards for Excellence, this time embarking on a search for the Lightside Showroom of the Year. Here, NMBS Sales and Marketing Manager Dean Hayward explains why a well-designed product showroom can be a valuable sales tool for lightside merchants.

Vote for Lightside Showroom of the year HERE

NMBS and Toolbank are delighted to be sponsoring the Lightside Showroom of the Year category at the 2019 BMN Awards for Excellence, highlighting those merchants who specialise in the lightside sector.

Lightside products are a vital part of the industry, with tools, power tools, fixings and accessories in particular playing a core part of any professional tradesperson’s toolkit. Professional tradespeople take real pride in the tools and other lightside products they choose to work with, and you only have to view social media to see them eagerly awaiting the arrival of their latest power tool, or swapping suggestions on the best gadget to solve a particular problem.

As technology continues to develop, bringing new cordless power tools and clever inventions to the market, the lightside merchants who sell these products are seeing profits grow as they continue their vital role in the construction industry.

Manufacturers are carrying out vital research and development to continually bring these new products to the market, but it’s thanks to the expert knowledge of staff at lightside merchants across the country that tradespeople have somewhere to go to learn about these new technologies, and to see how they can be used to improve their own businesses.

Just like their heavyside and specialist cousins, lightside merchants host breakfast mornings, provide training and advice to their customers, and create fantastic merchandising displays to show these products in their best light.

Merchants aren’t immune to the changing service expectations, and the demands of modern customers who expect a premium retail experience everywhere they go.

Showroom success

Showrooms have seen a rise in popularity among merchants who operate the kitchen and bathroom sectors, but it’s not just these products that can benefit from a well-thought-out showroom display. A striking showroom or branch full of product helps to inspire customers, encouraging impulse purchases and add-on sales.

In the tool and power tool sector in particular, there are dozens of manufacturers offering thousands of product ranges, all claiming to supply the perfect tool for that particular job.

It’s the work of the lightside merchant to cut to the heart of the market, creating displays that feature a range of tools for different jobs, different abilities and at different price points, so that no matter who walks through the door, the merchant can sell them the right tool for the job.

These displays should provide product knowledge at a glance, without overwhelming the customer with information. They should be striking to look at, but easy to navigate, grouping products of similar types together, all while ensuring that the customer can see easily which one is right for them.

Clear and simple overhead signage can help customers navigate quickly to the right part of the showroom, with a coherent, well-organised space improving their purchasing experience and helping to secure customer loyalty and return visits in future.

Even better is a showroom that doesn’t just have rows of boxed products for customers to pick up, but also has the latest tools on show for them to touch and feel, so they can browse and see whether the power tool they have in mind really is as comfortable and easy to use as it looks. In these days of interactive media, TV screens and tablets can be a powerful sales tool, sited next to products to show videos of the products in use and to free up staff to help customers in other ways.

All this while also making sure the products are safe and secure to prevent both theft and injury, especially if there are areas for customers to ‘try before you buy’.

On our travels around independent merchants, we have seen some very impressive lightside product displays, from the merchants taking part in Toolbank’s Real Deals for You promotion, to those merchants who have created their own marketing and merchandising campaigns designed to increase footfall and encourage sales.

We want to urge all those merchants who have invested their time and energy creating these inspirational showroom displays over the past two years to submit their nominations now, to shout about their successes and demonstrate how a well-designed showroom can make a huge difference to a merchant’s bottom line.

The Awards are open to entries until September 2019, and can be submitted online at All the entries are judged by an independent panel of industry experts. 

We are once again looking forward to the BMN Awards for Excellence in November, and we can’t wait to celebrate with all the winners and finalists!

For all the latest news and updates from NMBS, or for more details on how to become an NMBS member, visit

Vote for Lightside Showroom of the year HERE


NMBS’ partner in sponsoring this category, Toolbank, offers NMBS members a great range of tools and power tools, with excellent standards of customer service and some fantastic point-of-sale and marketing sell-out initiatives.

To find out more about the brands and products that Toolbank supplies to its stockists, visit

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