What trends are developing in paint stores and why are paint customers demanding much more in regards to service, quality product and colour matching?
It seems Australian paint counters, particularly in independent hardware stores, are still dominated by the manual tinting machine, but in this modern age, a computerised approach to colourising paint has proven to be a more accurate alternative.
Although automatic tinting machines have been used in Australia and New Zealand for many years, the majority of these machines are found in paint company trade centres or big box retailers, according to Bruce Peters, sales manager for Fast and Fluid Management – who are leading manufacturers of paint tinting and shaking equipment.
However, it seems paint technology has moved forward very quickly, resulting in the emergence of highly efficient automatic tinting and mixing machines that challenge the viability of the traditional manual Blendorama dispenser. In fact, in today’s market, a paint counter is often not only fitted with an automated tinting machine, but also an automatic clamping paint shaker or mixer, at a price point that will surprise even the harshest sceptic. Automatics are life savers for big box retailers because they “McDonaldize” and de-skill the process, putting the job in the hands of the computer and technology, according to Mr Peters.
In large outlets, where staff are moved from department to department, training time may be short so automatics, like Fast and Fluid’s “Accutinter” models then become a big attraction, he said. “In smaller stores, artisan skills exist and staff are trained well. These skills, combined with automatic technology in the paint counter, makes for a very powerful blend of know-how and experience, together with speed, accuracy and efficiency,” Mr Peters said.
When high speed is the issue, the Accutinter models are the Olympic champions, squirting out multiple tints at once. If a formula requires 10Y, for example (300mls of colourant), one may think it could take several minutes to complete. The fact is an Accutinter typically does the job in a matter of seconds, according to Mr Peters. “Technology is also raising a customer’s expectations in-store. They will have experienced the zap of a spectro, which finds a perfect colour match in seconds, sends the formula to the dispenser and then they see their paint mixed in an automatic mixing machine delivering a perfect blend of colour throughout the paint,” Mr Peters said.
It is impressive machines such as this, that are changing customers’ expectations and why it is critical that paint retailers use the right tools. This then ensures that colour errors are reduced, tinting and mixing time speeds up and the overall improvement in customer experience and satisfaction are all part of the impact of the new age equipment required o sell paint.
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