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Shopfloor


PROFILE: POWERHOUSE


28


Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes


Powerhouse doesn’t stand still. The Jersey retailer used lockdown to make changes in store while sales staff became delivery drivers, call centre operators and even online product reviewers! “We learned a lot from the challenges in the past year,” says Head of Retail, Gavin Murphy. He speaks to Jack Cheeseman.


O


ccupying a former power station site in Jersey, Channel Islands, Powerhouse (Jersey Electricity) offers a 12,500sq ft ‘out


of town’ retail park-style store. It is a one-stop shop for everything in home electricals. The impressive showroom includes a huge variety of departments, from MDA, SDA and cook shop to TV, home audio, smart home and office technology… and even electric transport! Back in December, Powerhouse won the Best


Independent Consumer Electronics Retailer award at the ERT Awards. It was the retailer’s investments in its store and staff that impressed the judges. In the past year, it’s put nearly half a million


pounds into a smart home and heating demonstration area with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice connected integration. Not only this, but during the first lockdown in


Jersey last year, the Powerhouse store was closed and the company used this time to rejuvenate the look with new flooring throughout and updated product displays to encourage a more experiential approach. At this time, the business was supported by the Powerhouse.je 24/7 transactional website – which,


like many retailers, has proven to be invaluable. The company was transformed overnight from a traditional retailer to a pure e-commerce business with a free next-day contactless delivery service. Many of the staff adapted and took on various


roles to support the business online; sales assistants became pickers and packers, delivery drivers, call centre operators and bloggers… a few have even been doing product reviews from home to help push traffic and interaction towards the website. Since restrictions began easing on the island in


May last year, the store has remained open – as it was classed as an essential retailer by Jersey’s own governing body. Gavin Murphy is Head of Retail at Powerhouse


and speaking exclusively to ERT, he explains that Jersey followed a similar trajectory to the UK in terms of the pandemic, adding that it was the company’s decision to close its doors during the first lockdown due to the severity of the situation. “We’ve made some significant investments in


recent years to keep us on the digital route, so everything was already in place to move online,” says Mr Murphy. “Staff were out delivering products


every single day; as it’s a relatively small island it’s easy to get out and about for even small orders. “In the second lockdown – which here was just


before Christmas – we remained open but we were quite cautious.” Mr Murphy says in order to be safe he used a local


security firm to manage the doors to only let a handful of shoppers in at one time. He adds thankfully now things are getting back to normal.


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