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EDA Report Connecting the industry


Electrical Wholesaler Editor Hannah Hart spoke to Chris Gibson, President of the EDA, about the organisation’s work with ETIM, the wider supply chain, and apprentice education.


One of the main purposes of ETIM is to digitise the sector – what benefits does this hold for wholesalers? I think it’s two-fold, really. We have to move with the times and we have to have a multi-channel approach. I think that’s the critical thing for me. It’s not that everything become digital, it’s having this omni-channel approach where you offer the customer a digital solution, but actually still give them the branch network, as well. What we tend to find is that a lot of customers start by actually looking online to find out which product to buy, but they still may want to walk into a branch to experience that traditional procurement.


So a customer can take data they’ve found online and bring it into the store? Correct. You have to offer the customer the choice of where they want to trade. I think when you talk to manufacturers, they welcome the membership with the EDA having that omni-channel approach. It also can protect from that potential influx of products from outside the UK that may not be the right quality or up to the standard that is required. With Brexit there is a real, true risk of product coming in that would be sub-standard.


What elements of the in-store experience do you want to take online, and vice versa? The key message is that our members, or the people in our branches, do have independent expertise. So they’re not just selling one product; they’re selling multiple products from multiple manufacturers. They can give that expertise to the customer. People might want to look online for certain information, but then have that confidence to actually go into the branch, to touch and feel the product. The fact that we have that proximity to the customer of the product is still absolutely critical.


30 | electrical wholesalerJune 2019


ewnews.co.uk


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