talking shop

Combens has enjoyed a 10% year-on-year increase for its brown goods business thanks to packages helping to boost premium TV sales

“I was very impressed by their ‘come and see what we do and decide if it’s right for you’ attitude,” he says. “I feel like we are all on the same team.” He also likes the almost daily contact he

receives from Radius. Matthew notes: “Hardly a day goes by when we don’t receive an email updating us about new product, and offer changes – even on a Sunday.” He finds the emails about various technical spec changes particularly useful. “If a customer asks a technical question I can easily call up the info - from screw sizes to HDMI slots,” he says. “We never had this before from the manufacturers. It’s very useful and time-saving and makes life so much easier.” Matthew is also full of praise for the way the Group are always there to help.

Indies really have to up their game to survive “The communication is excellent,” he says.

“They never say, ‘We’ll phone you back’. They sort out the query there and then. It’s like having another person on the payroll.” And it seems to be working well.

Matthew reports that his brown goods business is up about 10% on last year – an increase he attributes mainly to membership of Radius and their various “packages” which have helped boost sales of premium TVs.

Being a member of Radius has also introduced Combens to other

September 2018

Demonstrations and retail theatre are increasingly important for retailers, with a compelling demo of a product’s features drawing the conversation away from a focus on price | 13

manufacturers to broaden their appeal – including brands they never stocked before. It has also given Matthew the confidence to plan building a new and much larger ‘destination’ store on the causeway in a couple of years’ time.

‘Everyone is looking out for each other’ So, with many challenges still existing in the market, how does Matthew view the future for independent retailers? “Indies really have to up their game to survive,” he says. “It’s all about providing an

‘experience’ now. That’s why people go to John Lewis. It’s not always about price.” And ‘theatre’ is top of the action list for

Matthew’s new store, with manufacturer demonstrations and other special events to attract consumers. And his final words on membership of Radius? “If I knew how good it was I would have joined a couple of years ago when I first met them,” he says. “I certainly have no regrets and if I had to do it all again I would choose Radius. Everyone is looking out for each other. And this is how indies will survive.”

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