2023 has been an exceptional year in STH Westco’s journey. From the Francis Kitchen & Bathroom rebrand to the introduction of our dynamic visual merchandising service, we’ve remained dedicated to offering you the best in plumbing and heating solutions. As the year draws to a close, join us as we take a look at the key achievements and milestones we have accomplished over the last 12 months.
We rebranded Francis Pegler as Francis Kitchen & Bathroom
In 2019, STH Westco gained the exclusive right to sell Francis Pegler branded products in the UK. In early 2023, to reflect changes in our offering and marketplace, we changed the Francis Pegler brand name to Francis Kitchen & Bathroom. With a portfolio of products that combine striking aesthetics, exceptional quality, and leading-edge eco-efficient technology, you can find out more about the latest Francis products – designed with you in mind – on our website.
We officially launched the STH Westco visual merchandising service
For merchants, the promotion of products to installers and other customers has always been an essential part of the sales process. And, despite the increasing use of digital marketing channels, what happens in store remains crucial. In response, in 2023, we officially launched our new visual merchandising service in the Midlands with the appointment of Ellie Roe to the Westco team.
The service soon proved to be a huge success. So much so that we appointed two more visual merchandisers – Jacquie Barella (Scotland and the North) and Zoe Ward (South of England) – to our team and rolled the service out across the UK. Today, Ellie, Jacquie and Zoe are helping our merchant customers to:
- Develop creative and attractive store displays
- Create intelligent retail floor plans that encourage sales
- Ensure that all our display units are presentable and adequately stocked
- Ensure that all STH Westco and Francis displays align with their own brands and objectives
- Announce promotions, sales, and upcoming special events
- Increase sales of Westco and Francis Kitchen & Bathroom products.
Ultimately, our team is helping our customers to maximise their visual merchandising and increase sales of our products.
We made some customer service improvements
Getting the great products you need quickly has never been more critical. And, over the last 12 months, we have made some key service improvements.
- We appointed FedEx as our new delivery partner. This means that, when you order from STH Westco, you now benefit from in-depth tracking, delivery updates and fewer returns (due to reduced handling of products from warehouse to delivery point). We also offer a next-day delivery service for a small charge.
- We introduced a new order form. Buying from STH Westco & Francis Kitchen and Bathroom has never been easier with a new, user-friendly form that ensures a smooth and hassle-free ordering process.
- We launched the Westco Support Bot. Helping our customers get through to the right people as quickly as possible, to use the bot, simply visit our website to get instant and intelligent answers to your support questions.
Committed to making life easier for merchants, plumbers, and heating engineers, with service excellence at the heart of this promise, find out more about some of the improvements we have made in 2023.
We attended #InstallerSHOW2023
STH Westco exhibited at InstallerSHOW in June 2023. The UK’s largest event for heat, water, air, and energy technology professionals, it is the place to see and try new product innovations, meet your peers, connect with manufacturers, and gain industry insights. And we were delighted to play our part.
Showcasing our stunning Francis Kitchen, Bathroom & Showers, as well as the ever-popular STH Press & the Classic Westherm TRV, we were also on hand to discuss our customers’ heating and plumbing needs, and we had lots of lovely give-aways!
We had a fantastic time at the event. As well as showcasing the latest plumbing technology and top-of-the-range bathroom and kitchen accessories, the STH Westco and Francis teams engaged in insightful discussions, exchanged ideas, and connected with like-minded professionals.
We continued our journey towards carbon neutrality
At STH Westco, we have always been conscious of our environmental impact. We recognise that all of our functions and operations have an influence on the world we live in, and in response, we have sought to reduce the consequences of our own activities.
Recently, things have really gained traction, and we made a significant investment by recruiting a Head of Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) and creating a group-level environment team that involves all our business units. In early 2023, we looked at our current position, and outlined where our business hopes to go next.
As part of our commitment to reduce the consequences of our activities on the world around us, we are also working towards the coveted ISO 14001 accreditation. In 2023, we took a deeper look into ISO 14001, and why it is so important to STH Westco.
We helped our clients reap the benefits of working with us with the STH Westco installer hub
The STH Westco Experts Portal is a one-stop-shop crammed full of information to help our customers get the most out of working with us and the fantastic products we supply. In 2023, we ensured this hub was a useful tool for our installer and merchant customers. If you haven’t yet visited our installer portal, here’s what you are missing out on:
- The chance for installers to win great prizes with every qualifying purchase!
- An at-a-glance look at the features and benefits of our most sought-after products
- A range of useful guides designed to enhance your expertise
- A handy stockist-finder to make it easy for installers to source our products in their local area
- All the tools retailers need to ensure they are armed with the latest product information and trends.
To find out more, visit our portal at: sthexperts.co.uk
We created some bespoke content for installers
Throughout 2023, we provided value-add information designed to captivate the attention and interest of plumbing and heating professionals, we included details on the following:
- Our Installer Hub
- The Francis Kitchen & Bathroom Signature Style & Finish
- The Latest Bathroom Design Trends
- The Installer’s Toolbox
- Expert Tips for Seamless Installations
- And more!
We announced two fantastic collaborations
Magnet and Francis Kitchen & Bathroom – The power of attraction just got even stronger
With a reputation for design, sustainability and UK-craftmanship, there is a reason why discerning homeowners choose Magnet. And, because functionality and style are essential when it comes to home design, homeowners can now enjoy both when they enhance their Magnet kitchen sink with a Francis tap. Combining the best our brands have to offer makes for a perfect collaboration, and in 2023 we showcased our products together at exhibitions, online, and in showrooms across the UK.
Reginox and Francis Kitchen & Bathroom. Let that sink in
When it comes to selling quality sinks and taps, Reginox and Francis are two of the most celebrated brands in the world, with an enviable reputation for innovative functionality, high-grade materials, and beautiful design. Helping homeowners elevate their bathroom and kitchen designs, in early 2023, Francis began working in partnership with Reginox to demonstrate how well our taps and sinks look and perform together.
We launched our latest brochures
Earlier this year, our Connections & Control Valves catalogue became available to download. Covering everything from fittings to heating and brassware, it’s a must-have for modern installers, so be sure to get your copy if you haven’t already.
Our Platinum Kitchen & Bathroom brochures also landed in early 2023. And they don’t just look fantastic; they also boast an exceptional range of products. Contact our sales office or your local representative for a copy of our brochures and find out more today.
We made some key appointments to our growing team
Signalling our commitment to ongoing improvement, we were delighted to welcome some key individuals to the Westco family in 2023.
- We appointed a Head of Product Management. In August, John Gartshore joined us as Head of Product Management, with responsibility for implementing improvements throughout our business.
- We welcomed three new Regional Sales Managers. Jamie Harris joined us as a Regional Sales Manager for the South, Lisa Henderson is responsible for our customer base in Scotland, all the way down the country to Leeds and Chris Lane is responsible for our customers in the Southeast, East midlands, London, East Anglia & home counties
- We appointed a new Contact Centre Manager. Also in 2023, Debbie Lloyd joined us as our new Contact Centre Manager with a focus on improving customer communications and ensuring that each interaction our customers have with our business is handled with the utmost care and professionalism.
We provided some design inspiration
Throughout 2023, we provided our homeowner customers with some inspiration when upgrading their kitchen and bathrooms. For example:
- We shared two super-stylish trends that are being talked about in all the interior design blogs and magazines. And they couldn’t be more different! Read our blog for more info about maximalism and escapism!
- As the summer season approached, it was the perfect time for homeowners to update their kitchens. Whether planning a complete kitchen renovation or seeking simple ways to revamp their space, our seasonal post helped our customers explore the top kitchen trends.
- With us all looking for moments of serenity and relaxation in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we shared a few simple tricks to help people transform their bathrooms into an oasis of calm.
- Infusing homes with a unique blend of timeless elegance and contemporary flair, the juxtaposition of the old and the new creates an unbeatable sense of depth and character. We provided some tips to help homeowners seamlessly blend vintage elements into the modern living space.
We discussed how to reduce heating & hot water bills
With British Gas warning that household energy bills will likely remain high for the foreseeable future, we provided some top tips to help homeowners keep warm this year. For example:
- We examined how installers could help their customers keep warm and reduce costs with some quick fixes.
- We discussed how the proper installation and use of TRVs is essential to stop energy being lost from homes.
- We looked at how prevention is better than cure when it comes to heating system maintenance
- We provided some tips to help homeowners winterise their plumbing systems and stay safe and warm this coming cold season.
We provided free heating and plumbing parts to help Depher support vulnerable people
Disability and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Repair (Depher) provides vulnerable people with access to affordable and vital emergency works. It relies on public donations to cover all labour and materials, provides free services during winter months, and discounted during summer. To help this worthwhile Community Initiative Company, in 2023, STH Westco supplied various plumbing and heating products free of charge.
We joined TikTok
We use social media to engage with our customers and others working in the plumbing and heating sector. And, earlier this year, we joined TikTok, where we turned up the heat and flowed with creativity! Pop by and say hello on our social media channels as we share some piping-hot plumbing & heating content!
Thank you from everyone at STH Westco
Undoubtedly, 2023 has been a pivotal year for STH Westco, and our accomplishments and advancements set a strong foundation for our continued growth and innovation in the years ahead. Your custom and feedback have been invaluable in shaping our initiatives and fostering our commitment to excellence.
As we prepare to welcome the coming year, we’d like to extend our heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support and trust in our services and products. We look forward to continuing our journey together, embracing new opportunities and launching new products designed with you in mind.
Thank you for your trust, loyalty, and continuous support. Here’s to a promising future filled with collaboration, growth, and shared success in 2024 and beyond.