It’s no good moaning that manufacturers need to do more to support retailers – it’s everybody’s responsibility to look for new opportunities for growth, says Gekko managing director Daniel Todaro
ERT has taken the brave step to look at how independent retail can be supported and survive, marking the start of a ‘Turning Point’ in the future of independent electrical retail.
Rent and rates increases and the Living Wage are just a few of the challenges retailers must combat. They can do this with a smart approach and by giving consumers what they desire, either in-store or online as an omnichannel approach.
One of our leading retailers, Robert Hughes, states that “personalisation and localisation is relevant” – sound advice from an independent group that is growing successfully.
Reliance on manufacturers to ‘do more’ is old-fashioned and misplaced. Manufacturers do not have a responsibility to reinvigorate electrical retail – it’s a collective responsibility.
With a falling pound, lower margins and greater competition in crowded categories, waiting for a brand to invest sufficiently in you is unlikely. Retailers need to be in control of their destiny and reinvigorate their model to appeal to all. Get brands to support you on training, promotion and display. Ask your buying group for those valuable generic soft skills that give you the ability to develop the categories that work for you.
Independents need to look for new opportunities for growth. The most obvious is the smart home, which is going to be linked to almost every category within the sector. With Gartner suggesting it could become a global market worth $38.35 billion by 2020 – that’s only three years away – the smart home is the future of electrical retail.
Independents have an opportunity to offer consumers a shopping experience not found in large multiples.
In the TV/AV category, 62 per cent of shoppers are between the ages of 30 and 49. One-in eight are male. This is an increasingly important statistic and, to quote Sony sales director for specialists Roy Dickens, the growth opportunity is “crossing the threshold into the consumer’s home” to install a solution, increasing attachment by offering a service that provides an end-to-end solution.
In domestic appliances, 70 per cent of shoppers are between the ages of 30 and 49. More than half (55 per cent) of shoppers in the category are female. This demonstrates the existence of ‘generation rent’, who don’t own their own homes and would be more inclined to rent MDAs.
Although shoppers with disposable income are in the older age brackets, don’t discount younger audiences. Many categories are more relevant to a younger audience – a prime example being audio. With just over half (52 per cent) of 16 to 24-year-olds regularly streaming music online, increasing your range helps to broaden your store’s appeal.
The omnichannel approach is an important part of the strategy and should be embraced as a method of attracting customers in-store whether, virtually or in person. The experience they encounter is what makes a shopper become a customer.
Retailers must ensure their staff can sell the benefits of high-value products. This can only be done through staff training, display, promotion and experience by retailers, supported by manufacturers, to achieve the combined approach needed to influence that ‘turning point’.