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An independent point of view


Being resourceful I


recently attended the retra annual


conference in Newcastle and listened to the many excellent presentations by manufacturers and marketing experts, and over the two days I spoke with like minded independent electrical retailers. What became apparent to me was that many of us are seeking to use our resources to the best advantage given the difficult trading conditions in order to grow our businesses. So I looked up the meaning of


‘resourceful’. According to the dictionary it is “having the ability to find creative and clever ways to overcome difficulty”. Something I believe independents are best placed to do. We are lucky that our industry continually offers new and exciting products as electrical manufactures create product innovations in both the white and brown categories. The threat to our industry does not therefore lie in the lack of product innovation but in the erosion of profit, as we all know too well. However, I genuinely think the future looks promising as good manufacturers are putting measures in place to help us regain our margins, such as exclusive models and promotions, including cashback promotions. It is up to us, however, to get behind these initiatives and capitalize on them, helping not only ourselves but the industry as a whole. It is important that we try to support and work alongside manufacturers to retain our profits, strengthen our business and the industry, rather than using it to buy our customers by way of simply discounting.


Many consumer electronics-only


retailers have now taken on white goods to grow the business, a decision I took in 2003, and have never looked back – after 23 years of being browns only it was


something of a shock. Joining Euronics has opened a new world of resources in terms of products and information. Staying informed is vital in today’s market and being part of retra and buying groups, such as Euronics, has been invaluable and has made a huge difference to my decisions and my profit! Look at the resources that are available to you – I have just mentioned retra and buying groups – but also look for inspiration within your business. Ask your staff for help – perhaps they are waiting to be invited to tell you about a fantastic idea they have for a promotion or an attention grabbing advert. Test some new marketing ideas. We


recently decided to give our adverts a great ’headline’ and added a call to action. The response to our adverts was very noticeable. Moreover, we keep a customer database and make a point of emailing our customers on a regular basis. Are you using this to the full? When have you last emailed or telephoned your customers with a new offer or to inform them of a new product? Are you collecting emails at every opportunity? These types of actions or changes don’t cost very much to do, but they can bring incredible results. In our store in Lutterworth all products


are set up for demonstrations. The browns, where appropriate, are connected to the internet to demonstrate Smart TV, washing machines are switched on and the range induction hob is ready to cook. We encourage customers to get their hands on the product – something that the internet can’t offer. By holding demonstration events we give customers an excuse to come into our store and interact with the products. At first we were very nervous


By Ian Jones,


Lutterworth Sound & Vision


about doing this in case we failed but to do nothing was not an option. We have the time, space, great products and a customer database – all the ingredients for success. We view our website as an essential


resource to build relationships with new or existing customers. Customers often want to research or begin a relationship with your company before they buy.


It’s


not essential to have the most fantastic website money can buy – but it is crucial to have a web presence. Keeping it up to date and fresh is essential. Your store is a key resource. We have


recently increased our selling potential by moving our workshop upstairs and extending our shop floor area by 500 sq ft. Each square foot has a potential to generate extra business.


Innovation will drive the industry


forward. Let’s keep thinking of ways we can be innovative with our businesses, and, above all, we need to be resourceful. Profit will follow. ■


“Ask your staff for help – perhaps they are waiting to be invited to tell you about a fantastic idea they have for a promotion or an attention grabbing advert”


14 The Independent Electrical Retailer May 2012


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