In the latest issue of ERT…

View the May 2021 digital issue of ERT

Editor’s comment: Making the most of every face-to-face conversation

Welcome to the May issue of ERT! This month, in a rare and highly exclusive interview with the trade media, I was privileged to speak with John Pickering, Managing Director of Miele Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa.

We spoke about the company’s historic core principles, with its ‘Immer Besser’ approach to business, which means ‘forever better’, and why consumers have turned to this trusted brand for over 120 years. “The company is all about quality, durability, sustainability and craftsmanship,” Mr Pickering told me, as he hopes to build on Miele’s impressive reputation and legacy.

John Pickering

He reflected on a turbulent year for the appliance industry, saying that business had been “volatile” but he added that Miele continued to work exceptionally closely with the electrical retail trade.

Looking ahead, Miele’s drive and determination is aimed towards some ambitious sustainability targets; it has declared its vision to be the most sustainable manufacturer in the category. “There’s no point being second or third,” Mr Pickering said.

He informed me there would be more news on this later this year, as well as an exciting pipeline of new products as part of Miele’s new campaign called ‘Quality Ahead of its Time’.

Also in this issue, Paul Laville and Daniel Todaro talk about experiential retail – engaging in a truly customer-centric conversation in this “new age of retail”.

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

Jack Cheeseman – Editor –

View the May 2021 digital issue of ERT here