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Home Appliances ANALYSIS: FLOORCARE


Left and inset: The app-controlled Princess Robot Vacuum. Right: Now being supplied by Exertis, the Rug Doctor machine.


28


Robo-vac


The Princess Robot vacuum (the only robo-vacuum mentioned by our contributors) is app-controlled and also does well in customer reviews – averaging an impressive 4.3 out of five – and Mr Speake, at Smartwaves Group, which manufactures the product, believes that as the technology improves, we will see “an evolution from random cleaning patterns towards more advanced mapping possibilities”, making for a much more efficient machine. “First there was gyro-mapping, then camera, then laser and now AI solutions being developed,” Mr Speake says. “In addition, there will be more wet and dry cleaning options and better docking stations.” Mr Speake adds that as consumers start replacing their first robot in the coming years, the prices for advanced models will come down, and the market will expand. In terms of what this means for Smartwaves and Princess, Speake says that the brand will focus on what the market is currently looking for and adjust accordingly. “Of course, our main aim is to be competitive and appealing to our consumers by offering both advanced, quality products with exceptional value.”


Hygiene and wellness are also great considerations


for modern consumers “and with allergies becoming more common, consumers are looking for new ways


“As consumers start replacing their first robot in the coming years, the prices for advanced models will come down and the market will expand.”


to protect themselves and their loved ones in the home,” says Harriet Croft, Exertis General Manager, Core Electricals. The Lancashire-based electricals distributor has


just taken on Rug Doctor – “an interesting new signing” Ms Croft adds, “not only for its strong presence within floor cleaning, but also for its focus on improving the wellness of consumers.” The Rug Doctor machines enable the user to clean beneath the surface of the carpet, reducing irritants in the carpet and upholstery. Keeping carpets clean and hygienic requires more than just vacuuming regularly. “They may look clean, but beneath the surface, there’s a lot of dirt and grime that can’t be seen. The deep cleaning power of a Rug Doctor destroys the breeding ground for mites and bacteria,” Ms Croft says.


Secure the sale Considering how retailers can most effectively sell floorcare products in store, the answer, as always, comes down to education and demonstration – as well as a bit of reputation. Witt’s Mr Johnson envisages cordless vacuuming becoming more mainstream and lifestyle driven and says that retailers can facilitate this transition by helping to eradicate stereotypical ideas about the limitations of cordless models. “In-store demos of smart features, using a simple smartphone or tablet, work well, re-positioning the products as trendsetting gadgets,” he comments. “They are often also a great opportunity to highlight features, such as extended battery life. “Displaying the numerous accessories with which many cordless vacuum cleaners now come will also help to market them as multi-purpose products.” Hoover


Candy’s Mr Matthews agrees that


demonstration is important, adding that it’s essential for retailers to know the product inside and out. “We emphasise to independent retailers that it’s all about the personal experience, it’s where the customer comes face-to-face with our brand for the first time as you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”


Finally, at Exertis, Ms Croft comments that with its


strong rental proposition, Rug Doctor already has a significant retail presence. “By having the products on display, customers can see the key features of the product and how easy the product is to use. With Rug Doctor investing in high quality innovation and R&D, consumers will see the high quality product available to them at home.


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