July/Aug 2019

Panasonic restructures it’s indie support network

After a successful 12 months, Panasonic is making some business changes to allow for shared future growth with it’s retailers across the UK independent sector.

The CE giant is repurposing its current sales structure and increasing its face-to-face call frequency for its wider customer base. News of the changes has already been communicated to Panasonic’s independent retailer network, but ERT Editor, Jack Cheeseman, spoke exclusively with Graham Goldsmith, General Manager UK Independents at Panasonic, to discuss the changes in greater detail and what this really means for the indie market. “One of my remits within the company when I joined was to look at how we effi ciently service the independent market, maintain our direct relationship and increase face time with as many indies as possible. This is key for us to continue to grow in the future,” he began. “It’s very much a positive move. We

haven’t made any structural changes to the sales team since 2014, and fi ve years is a long time in retail, so we felt it was the right time. The market is tough out there, but nevertheless, we have to become more effi cient and focussed, this allowed us to reset what our aspirations are within our business.” At the time that ERT spoke with Mr Goldsmith, Panasonic was going through an interim period which saw a number of structural changes to the Area Sales Manager team and as a result created the opportunity to recruit two new Regional Account Executives

for the independent market. The new additions are Jordan Waller, who will look after the south region, while Matthew Gahan will look after the north. Both have previous experience of working in the CE market across the independent sector. Throughout July, independent retailers should begin to see these changes implemented and the members of the newly-structured sales force out in the fi eld.

“Some manufacturers have distanced themselves from the independent trade and moved their independent

relationships through buying groups”

Alongside this, the company’s large independent accounts will remain to be serviced by the Regional Account Managers. “This, for us, creates a leaner, more agile sales

structure,” continued Mr Goldsmith. “We’re making sure we are seeing and going through the doors of our wider independent base, far more than what we were previously. “The indies are a huge focus and a really integral part of what we do. We have to align and become more effi cient in the way in which we operate with the


independent market, bearing in mind our competition has implemented a different contact strategy, and not necessarily direct. Therefore, we clearly have to react to market needs and address the changes in our customers’ requirements.” Mr Goldsmith reported that he believes that some manufacturers have distanced themselves from the independen t trade and moved their independent relationships through buying groups; while Panasonic understands the merits of this model, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to trade with buying groups but on an ad-hoc basis, he told ERT.

UK Training roadshow Following Panasonic’s retailer showcase in January and the positive response from its customers, the company decided to re- launch its UK training roadshow – which

hasn’t taken place for nearly four years. This will be rolling out towards the end of July in six locations. Mr Goldsmith commented: “There was excitement

around this at the showcase; our customers asked for this and it’s something we’re delivering. We’re extremely excited. “It’s a great opportunity to engage with store staff and get product into the hands of the people that actually sell on the front line. We are dedicated to the promises that we’ve made along the way.”


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