it, or you pay someone to do it. Why not get a robot that’ll clean for you every day?”

‘Communicate key features’ Making a compelling case for a product on the shop floor is an ideal route to purchase, and supporting retailers with in- store materials and training are important objectives for manufacturers. Caroline comments: “For every key new range of products Groupe SEB puts together a launch support package. It’s important that the key selling features are clearly communicated and understood by retailers and consumers. As well as working hard to generate consumer awareness for their Tefal brand and products, Groupe SEB ensure that retailers are fully informed as well.

Bricks and mortar retailers

need to give people a reason to come into store, so the challenge is to offer something that piques their interest. In- store demonstrations and great displays are key to that

“Point of sale material, display units and

in-store training material are very effective communication tools. The Team SEB merchandising and training team is constantly out visiting stores keeping retailers up to date with the latest products and technology.” Showing off a product in store, and letting

a prospective customer get hands on with it, helps create a connection. “At Miele, we feel that live demonstrations

are key; allowing customers not only to see a particular model, but to also try it for themselves - for example on different floor types,” Victoria suggests. “This provides them with the opportunity to ask any questions that they might have with regards to features and performance, as well as having a first-hand experience of what they could expect in their own homes.” Running engaging demonstrations also

brings a benefit to retailers, creating interest on the shop floor and opportunities to talk to customers. Bo comments: “Bricks and mortar retailers

need to give people a reason to come into store, so the challenge is to offer something that piques their interest. In-store demonstrations and great displays are key to that. We are clear that suppliers have an important role in supporting retailers in this, which is why we offer extensive training and support to give staff the confidence to put on a show for customers and encourage them to buy. A demo of a Roomba for example can be

great fun, but also shows how powerful these machines are, in turn giving customers the confidence to buy.” Being able to engage with customers also

provides an advantage for bricks and mortar retail over online competitors. Bo continues: “Here you can feel and touch the product, get it demonstrated by a knowledgeable person in store, showing a customer what is the difference between models. You can’t do that online. “How many times have you bought something online, and it’s not what you expected it to be? The only option then is sending the product back. If you’re in a store, the store can evaluate what product you need; they are experts, so they can advise if you need a robotic vacuum cleaner at £349, or £499, £599 or £899. The retailer can make that decision with the customer, on that journey in the store.” It is also a reason that the brand has implemented a ‘good, better, best’ system, with the 600 series, 700 series, 800 series and 900 series, to find the product that fits a customer’s needs, Bo adds. “That expertise lives in the independent

stores,” he says. “They have the expertise, they just need to start using it actively, making sure that people know that there is an alternative to pushing around a vacuum cleaner, because no one likes doing it. Tell people there is an alternative, and they’ll reward you for it. If a customer comes into store, and has to make a distress purchase for a fridge freezer, they’ll make that purchase, have it delivered, but they won’t remember it for very long. If they see something brand new, like a robotic vacuum cleaner from iRobot running around on the floor, they’ll remember that, and tell their friends and family. ‘Do you know what I saw in this store?’ It’s something people share. Everyone who buys a robot, they talk about it.”

‘We are looking forward to a good year’ Looking to the future, there will remain opportunity in the market, even in the face of coming challenges. Victoria says: “The market is set to alter again this year, with all brands working ahead of the new legislation from the EU that is coming in September 2017, which will call for all vacuum cleaners to offer a wattage that is less than 900W.” However, that will prioritise efficiency, and doing things differently, something that Bo is confident iRobot already achieves. He adds: “We are looking

forward to a good year in 2017 – the market is still strong right now, and we are in a good position to capitalise on healthy consumer demand and also retailers’ need for quality, reliability and innovation.”

Tefal has debuted in the floorcare market with its Air Force vacuum, which uses centrifugal force to separate dust from the air as it passes through the machine

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February 2017

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