Shopfloor PROFILE: WHO?

February 2020

February 2019


business forward, as the main Birmingham store will soon be moved and reopened with an added kitchen, bedroom and bathroom portfolio. “When people can see appliances displayed in a

proper kitchen environment, it’s so much better,” he continues. “People buy into the dream, and when you look at how amazing this new store is, it makes the sale of the kitchen even easier. “People are increasingly looking at high-end stuff that will last and they’re prepared to pay more for it. And now we’ve evolved into offering the full kitchen package – flooring, blinds, appliances, furniture, worktops – the lot!”

The launch event for this new home design department was spread across a whole weekend in September, with celebrity chefs and cooking demonstrations and a raffle with prizes donated by Borshch’s manufacturer partners.

Mr Cox says he wanted to make it a big opening weekend to attract as many existing and potential new customers as possible to demonstrate how the business is changing for the better. “We are really evolving – we’re not just about

fridge-freezers and washing machines anymore – we have so much more to offer,” he explains. “I felt like we were missing a trick before. We

are competitive in this area but to continue to be I knew we needed something a little bit different in this new store. This just strengthens our business and gives us a new opportunities. We have our loyal customer base, but we also deal with contractors and developers, which provides new areas to explore.”

Q: How has business been performing since adding kitchens to the portfolio? Simon Cox: The majority of kitchens we’ve sold up to now have been full packages, including appliances and flooring. So it’s been great! Imagine just selling the appliances and letting the customer go elsewhere to buy their new kitchen – it just doesn’t make sense. This is something electrical retailers have got to look at and take on if they can, because the market is tough at the moment so you’ve got to try new things. And we already had our fitting teams in place, too – they work incredibly hard and they’ve done a great job so far, so that goes hand-in-hand with this new part of the business. We’re tapping in to people’s aspirations – we’ve got some really lovely flooring samples upstairs and customers are always commenting on how good it looks. We could have just put carpet tiles down and saved ourselves a lot of money, but we took the opportunity to show off what we sell, and thankfully it’s paid off and proven to be really popular!

Q: And what support have you had in this new venture? SC: Well Symphony Group has been amazing. The team came to visit me and we discussed the dream and they went away and made it happen! Before I knew it, the installers were in the store putting in the displays and basically rebuilding the first floor. It all happened quite quickly, but they talked me through the whole process and they have delivered on everything they said they would.

Q: How important is it for you to offer that all- in-one package? SC: It certainly makes things easier for the customer. If they have to go running around to different places for tiles, furniture and appliances it’s tiring and time consuming. But if they know they can come to one

Simon Cox (pictured) explains about how he turned his new store into a destination kitchen showroom. He says: “We’ve got some really lovely flooring samples upstairs and customers are always commenting on how good it looks. We could have just put carpet tiles down but we took the opportunity to show off what we sell.”

place, get a good service and get the job done – all at a good price as well – it just works. The chain multiples can’t offer the personal touch like an independent can; they will just sell you a box and say goodbye, but we sell a complete service. If a customer needs a fridge the same day, we will deliver it, even if it means putting it in the back of my van and doing it myself!

I believe you only ever find out how good companies are when things go wrong and having our own service department is a big thing because a lot of the manufacturers just operate call centres and it’s a nightmare to get hold of them. So on our appliance repair side, we fully test all

the products we get and our engineers work really hard to work out what’s wrong and, if they can, repair it.

Q: So a good team of knowledgeable, well- trained staff is crucial for you then… SC: Yes, 100 per cent. Everyone who wears the Borshch badge is a representative, whether they are selling, delivering or cleaning. From that initial customer phone call or store visit, right through to the delivery and installation in the customer’s home, everyone has to be on top form and knowledgeable of what they’re talking about. All our staff go on various training courses and manufacturers will come in and do a cooking demonstration in the kitchen too. It is essential


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