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April 2021 ertonline.co.uk


Q&A


Q: So when you moved online-only it must have helped that you already had the infrastructure in place for this? GM: We certainly didn’t plan for changes to come in as quickly as they did, but for years we’d invested in the digital side of the business and made sure our platform could do everything we needed it to do. Online sales were probably around four per cent


of total business before the pandemic, but now it’s moved to almost 100 per cent, as you can imagine. The website took the strain but our team really


stepped up and filled in where we needed. It was a great show of flexibility within all of us to keep things running as smoothly as possible. We learned a lot from the challenges thrown up


in the past year; we knew where there were some pressure points in the whole online process, so we looked to improve those. During the second lockdown things ran a lot more smoothly. Also, in the past, we didn’t really have a call centre


as such, as most of our customers made the trip to our store. But since the pandemic hit, the amount of phone calls has increased massively so we invested in that as well.


Q: Your store really stood out at the ERTAwards last year. Have you made any significant changes since then? GM: We refitted all the flooring to solid wood – this has now transformed the store, it looks bigger and it’s easier on the eye with immediate effect as soon as you walk in. We also installed a new e-mobility display. We’ve


got a great central atrium space in the centre of the store with really high ceilings stretching three floors, it’s a unique space to work with so we invested in a large artificial tree with some greenery to accompany our electric bike display – it adds to our strong sustainable ethos and the tree creates a huge impact in the store. It’s something a little bit quirky! A few years ago, our store looked very different,


with products packed in around the place on much higher shelves, but then we decided to lower all the product displays and open things up much more so you could see across the whole store. We also moved away from using glass cabinets so customers could touch and feel the products. Now everything is segregated and spaced out to


create the right look. We’ve got nice rows of coffee machines with space between them so customers can really explore the functions. Before we had coffee machines sitting on top of white goods and it felt a bit cluttered, so we needed to make some changes. And we sell loads of computer and internet


equipment; we’ve got routers set up with digital information screens. We thought it was becoming a lot more important to get these kinds of products out, plugged in and working for customers to interact with.


Q: What about your brown goods departments? How do customers interact with these products? GM: So, we’ve got a home demo area; one side we’ve got a big wall with our most premium flagship TVs and in front of that there’s a sofa and coffee table with speakers and other smart products, so it sort of replicates a living room area for customers.


It’s a real connected space where people can


see how things work with Alexa or Google or pair up with their phone. There’s also a door with a Ring Doorbell demo; there’s so much smart technology on offer these days but customers really prefer to try before they buy if they can.


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