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THE ERT INTERVIEW TERESA ARBUCKLE


Appliance market. We know why consumers buy into Beko in large appliances and believe we now know why they might buy into a new stylish category offer from Beko in SDA.


Q: Beko picked up the Best New Product – MDA award at the ERT Awards in October for the AutoDose dishwasher [DEN59420D]. Congratulations! Why do you think that particular product won? TA: We were so thrilled to win this ERT award! To be the most innovative product in that category with the competitors that we were against, it shows that a lot of our innovations are really hitting home. I think what’s interesting is that AutoDose has


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got three different levels to it. The first part is the connectivity – I mean five years from now the whole world will be more connected and I think any major manufacturer that wants to be here in five years should be moving in this area. If they’re not even trying out stuff and failing, they won’t know what good looks like further down the road. Then there’s the voice enabled element, which is just growing and growing these days what with Amazon Alexa and Google Home and others coming in too.


And the third point is about tailor-making appliances so it fits consumer needs without them having to do anything. What’s even better is that the algorithm tests the water to find out how dirty the dishes are and dispenses the right amount of detergent.


Which links to our key sustainability message and consumers only using what they need. AutoDose is at the top end of our dishwasher range and it’s doing very well; I believe it allows people to see just how good things can get in dishwashing.


Q: Why is sustainability important to Beko? TA: At Beko we are always trying to make sure we take the things that matter most to people into our core innovation.


So in our washer dryers, for example, there are 60 PET recycled plastic bottles used in the making of every tub. Using less plastic is a big deal these days and you will see Beko plc develop more and more products using recycled materials. It’s not just about the functions of appliances anymore, but also about what they’re actually made out of. I don’t think the climate emergency is going


anywhere and people will continue to talk about this until they start seeing real change; my belief is that people will start buying products for those reasons, if they are not already of course.


Q: How do you see the market moving forward? TA: Anything that suggests a shock to the economy is not good for business, as a general principle. When there’s talk of Brexit and ‘no deal’ and elections people tend to shrink their spending. It’s simply that when things look a little better, people feel more comfortable about what they’re spending and you can actually see figures improve.


I do think that the white goods industry has survived the last two-and-a-half years generally well, and that’s because companies like us continue to drive innovative products into the market, supporting retailers every day and not just saying “good luck” and letting them get on with it. That’s our job – to deliver to retailers more


interesting campaigns and footfall-driving activities, with the general supportive message that “you’re going to be okay”. My role on the Board of AMDEA links in really well here of course and we are planning for some really exciting changes in the year ahead [more on this over the page].


Q: You’ve said before that there’s still a lot of catching up to do in terms of consumer education. Where do you stand on that now? TA: I think most of the time people take their home appliances for granted – they’re just there to do a job. Consumers have lots to do every day and they expect these durable products in their kitchens to just work and, as a result, sometimes they don’t realise that technology continues to innovate behind the scenes as well. It’s the manufacturer and retailer’s responsibility


to advise and educate consumers; when they come in for a white good, they often don’t know as much so they want to be advised accordingly. And that’s where independent retailers can still


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