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News 12


Q: Exertis published its fi nancial results the week before the Plug In event. [For the year ending 31 March 2019, DCC Technology – which trades as Exertis – saw revenue climb 21 per cent, while operating profi t grew 35 per cent to £64.7m, driven by acquisitions and strong organic profi t growth in the UK and Ireland.] What are your initial thoughts? LL: The growth within the overall business was excellent; we’ve held up because of the breadth and depth of our products. Smart tech was phenomenal, we saw massive growth and we predict to continue to see that over the coming years. We’ve got a lot of voice-activated type devices driving the initial behaviour and we’re seeing now that most of the audio brands are going down that road, with the benefi ts of having Amazon and Google activation as a kind of must-have in their products. On the other side of it, TV brands are starting to go that way as well so that becomes the activation hub of the home.


Then we’ve also seen a lot of growth in the simple- to-use stuff, the lightbulbs and the power sockets; but also in the outside world – lighting in the garden, security, even networking. Our growth in these areas has been fantastic. There’s lots of development of the whole ecosystem that people want; the convenience is one side of it, and home security is defi nitely a really important element. But with many different products, different brands


and different price points, this is great from the retailer’s perspective because it means that there’s something to appeal to various amounts of consumer spend. The products are not big in terms of on-the-shelf space but the actual proposition and the breadth of value-add sales for people coming back and adding to it, it’s a


July/Aug 2019 ertonline.co.uk


great opportunity. A lot of what we’re talking about needs good explanation, good understanding and independent dealers are in the perfect place to be able to offer this. People need to feel confi dent that they can go and speak to somebody if it doesn’t work the fi rst time, rather than just sending it back. Depending on the consumer and what they want to do, they can have a professional installer or they can install it themselves and that depends on how much they want to spend.


Q: How important is it to Exertis to offer training services and be a reference point for independent retailers? LL: Well, fi rstly we’ve got this event today, we’ve got our show home already built – although I don’t know


if we can keep moving it around! – and our aspiration is to have the support of our vendors and to create training venues to send a uniform message covering all the different product groups and price points. It’s about the independent dealers coming to us and saying, “this is what we want” or perhaps a group of them, like Euronics or Sirius Group saying, “we’ve got a level of interest across 20 different retailers, can we organise something centrally that we can train the staff?” We can organise things like this. In the end, for the manufacturers, there has to be


an interest in getting involved in smart tech from the independents; if we get dealers onboard with it there are really meaningful discussions that we can have.


Q: What does the future look like to you? LL: Our categories keep expanding rapidly. Specifi cally, many of the devices from the domestic appliances/white goods brands are becoming smarter. I think the fi rst independent retailer to say “we are a smart appliances seller”, is a great story and a great evolution. We’re also working with a brand looking at deliveries, like an electronic delivery post-box secure system, so instead of having to go to the Post Offi ce you’ll just get a message about the pickup. There’s loads of convenience around this; we all live busier lives and with smart tech, the more convenient these things are the better. We’ve got one of the automated vacuum cleaners on show here from Blaupunkt – a brand that we’re aligned with. A lot of people are living in apartments nowadays, you can just let it loose when you head out and then it’s all clean and tidy. That’s true convenience, especially with young people, let’s be honest, they’d rather be out socialising than doing domestic chores around the house!


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