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EDITOR’S COMMENT Jack Cheeseman


May 2021 ertonline.co.uk


The gift of the gab Making the most of every face-to-face conversation


R 10


etail stores are open and market data is reflecting that consumers have been enjoying getting back to the shops! Retail


sales have risen above seasonal norms for the first time this year, according to the CBI. So it would appear that people feel comfortable being out and about, even if it means practising the old British tradition of quietly queuing in order to get into their favourite stores! On a recent trip to my local town centre, the


high street was buzzing with people – despite the unseasonably wet weather! – and there were queues everywhere. That pent-up demand that’s been spoken about so much recently is certainly playing out in reality. But what about those stores that boast a truly unique experience – something that consumers can


only benefit from when they’re actually in the store (as in, not shopping online or browsing through the shop window)? The electrical retail industry is very familiar with the concept of experiential retail; where the shop floor is an engaging and inviting space and demo areas encourage people to get hands-on. This contributes towards a memorable shopping experience. But regardless of the size of your business, or


the showroom space or amount of gadgets and gizmos you have at your disposal, one particular aspect of the retail experience is easily at-hand with every salesperson – the gift of the gab. Sure, right now most people’s faces are hidden


behind facemasks, but the power of a conversation can go a long way. But not just any conversation, one that is constructed around each


individual customer and the product(s) they are after and what they are going to use it/them for. This is not an experience that can be easily replicated online, and it’s not always something you get in other types of shops. Electrical retailers stand out for being personable and understanding, and for being true experts in their fields when shoppers are looking for honest, friendly advice. And finally, at long last, you’re able to


showcase these qualities in-person again. It’s time to make the most of every single customer that walks through the door. This is something that Paul Laville and Daniel


Todaro talk about in their Opinion pieces this month (over the page) – engaging in a truly customer- centric conversation in this “new age of retail”.


This year the ERT Awards and Turning Point Live! Conference will return! The day will not only celebrate the successes of the electrical retailing sector at the Awards, but manufacturers and retailers will come together at the Conference to share ideas on best practice as the industry continues to recover from such turbulent times. Preparations are in full swing to create


an informative and inspiring agenda for the conference, as well as an entertaining Awards ceremony in the afternoon. The format for the day will be the same as you’re used to from previous years, also being held again at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London’s Covent Garden. I’m very much looking forward to everyone coming together once again at


long last! It feels very strange that industry events stopped suddenly last year, and I know that people are itching to get back out and about to see friends and colleagues after such a long time! More details will emerge about this


year’s ERT Awards and Turning Point Live! Conference in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.


Email the editor at jackcheeseman@ertonline.co.uk What do you think


?


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