T H E M AG A ZI N E O F T H E E L E C T R I C A L G O O D S I N D U S T RY
TOWN & APARTMENT LIVING Creating a functional and stylish kitchen environment in spacechallenged homes
PORTABLE CE DEVICES
The UKâ€™s first WiFi fully connected kitchen from Hoover
George Cole looks at the evolving world of portable devices that keep consumers entertained and connected
SPOTLIGHT ON... EU data law
GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED UK music lovers buy into digital streaming
FROM THE BENCH Selling accessories Visit gcmagazine.co.uk for the latest
Introducing the all new online Training Courses from retra
OUR BRAND NEW ONLINE TRAINING SITE IS NOW LIVE! We’ve put together two dynamic new training courses exclusively for retra members, designed to help retail sales staff fully understand the ins and outs of selling with retail finance and retracare extended warranty. Aimed at new starters and experienced hands alike the retra training is the perfect way for sales staff to refresh their skills and learn how to successfully sell retracare service plans with confidence and authority, and to easily understand all the variations of each of the finance plans we make available to our members. Incorporating ten specially-filmed training videos, the courses are packed with useful tips, step-by- step guides and a wealth of downloadable content for offline use.
FEATURES & BENEFITS OF retra ONLINE TRAINING Learning • Everything you ever needed to know about retracare protect and protect+. • Expert guidance on how to introduce retracare service plans into the sales conversation. • Avoid common mistakes when selling extended warranty. • Address customer concerns and handle objections professionally, accurately and responsibly. • Present retail finance options to customers as a viable selling tool. • All the finance options explained. • Practice completing finance applications before you go in front of customers. • Sharpen your selling skills and perfect your customer service.
The Platform • • • • • •
Easy to navigate. Access your retra training on your smartphone, tablet or desktop PC. Short, impactful modules – great if you only have a few minutes to spare. Download, save and print essential information to access offline. Powerful tutorial shows you how to get the most from your training. Earn certificates, badges and achievement points as you progress and advance up the Leaderboards. • View ten specially-commissioned training films which highlight key learning messages.
Support & Social Media
• Forums and social pages to keep in touch with others taking part. • FAQs, Tutorials, Help and Support throughout.
• Comprehensive admin tools for retail managers. • Instant view on all your trainees. • Track progress and produce reports at branch and regional level.
Register for online training today & see the benefits for yourself! To register simply login to the retra website: www.retra.co.uk & click training
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MIELE’S PURELINE STEAM OVEN WITH MICROWAVE
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Town & Apartment Living Creating a functional, un-cluttered and stylish look within a small kitchen
Portable CE Devices
George Cole Gets Connected
From the Bench
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George Cole looks at the growth in portable consumer electronics devices that can integrate with their users’ wider digital world
Jeremy Whitaker, chairman of Verso Group, discusses how the new EU data law will apply to the electrical retail sector
The driving forces behind digital streaming
Alan Bennett offers his thoughts on selling accessories
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Meet Sharp Home Appliances at IFA 4-9th September 2015
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COMMENT AT THE END OF LAST MONTH A MINTEL REPORT FORECAST THAT INTERNET SALES BY RETAILERS WITHOUT ANY BRICKS-AND-MORTAR OUTLETS WILL OVERTAKE ONLINE SALES MADE BY STORE-BASED RETAILERS BY THE END OF 2015. ALMOST HALF OF ELECTRICAL GOODS SALES – WORTH SOME £12.6 BILLION- WILL BE MADE ONLINE, AND ELECTRICALS WILL MAKE UP 29% OF ALL ONLINE SALES.
if we hadn’t already noticed, we really are witnessing the end of an era for the electrical industry. It began somewhere back in the 1960s. It was possible then for the electrical retailing pioneers to make a decent living out of shops selling and servicing that newfangled – and expensive - piece of technology, the television. Would it ever catch on as a mass market proposition? It was also the decade when the mass of UK citizenry discovered leisure, and sought to free itself from domestic drudgery with increasingly affordable washing machines, spin dryers, cleverer cookers and refrigerators. A great time for those with an entrepreneurial spirit to be in the electrical business. Fast forward about half a century. The CE manufacturing industry is disappearing up its own HDMI as it sacrifices the sensible concept of making a sustainable living on the altar of vanity: being first, biggest, most advanced is more important than being profitable. Not only are manufacturers suffocating themselves, but also strangling their erstwhile
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“Now, the electrical multiples are down to last man standing, and there are, by our calculations, fewer than half the independents there were ten years ago.”
best business partners, the bricks-and-mortar retailers, who used to have a commanding presence on every high street and were their face-to-face brand ambassadors. Now, the electrical multiples are down to last man standing, and there are, by our calculations, fewer than half the independents there were ten years ago. It calls into question many of those sacred, unchangeable tenets of electrical retailing that were the bedrock of store-based retail all through the good years: “Price isn’t everything” For many consumers, Oh Yes It Is. When you know what you want, just trawl the internet for the lowest price offer. “Nobody will buy white goods without seeing and touching” The growth in online white goods sales has been phenomenal. “People buy from people” It would appear that’s simply not true any more. In fact, the indications are that this generation actively avoids human interaction when buying, even when it’s with friendly, helpful knowledgeable people. Mouse clicks and key strokes are much easier, and offer wide choice and price comparisons when you know what you want. “Traditional” retailers are still arguing that consumers only really know what they want when they get information and advice from their local experts. But in 2015 everybody’s an “expert”, or at least thinks they are. They know what the desirable brands are; they can get the specifications online; so it comes down to price and convenience. Can anyone in our industry disagree?
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George Cole Consumer Electronics Consultant
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THE VERY LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS
ECONOMY ON “FIRM FOOTING”, SAYS CBI
he Confederation of British Industry has said that the rate of economic growth in the UK strengthened in the three months to July. According to the organisation’s growth indicator, businesses across the manufacturing, retail and service sectors showed a reading of +20% in the three
months to July, compared with +14% in June. The Business & Professional Services sector drove the improvement, but overall growth is broad based, with Consumer Services also expanding strongly. Manufacturing and Retail are also growing, but at a more moderate pace, the CBI said.
Looking to the next three months, firms anticipate another expansion in business volumes, with all major sectors expecting growth to accelerate. Expectations remain robust, with businesses anticipating that growth will strengthen a little further in the next three months (+27%).
ALMOST HALF ELECTRICAL GOODS SALES TO BE MADE ONLINE BY END OF 2015
new report shows that internet retail sales made by pureplay retailers will overtake online sales by store-based retailers for the first time by the end of 2015, and electrical and electronic goods are predicted to inch above online fashion sales for the first time. Research company Mintel estimates that almost half (48%) of electrical goods sales will be made be
online, up from 38% in 2013, with £12.6 billion forecast and representing a 29% share of all online sales in 2015, outpacing clothing and footwear by £190 million. Overall online retail sales are expected to reach £43.3 billion in 2015 – 12.7% of all retail sales. By 2020, total annual online sales are expected to rise 64% to £71.2 billion, making up 18% of total retail sales, the researcher said.
ARGOS LAUNCHES GADGET TRADE-IN SERVICE AT STORES NATIONWIDE Argos is working in partnership with WRAP to provide a convenient way for customers to realise the value in their unwanted gadgets and at the same time present new opportunities for its high street stores to build customer loyalty and brand value. Shoppers can now trade-in their unwanted tech items at 788 Argos stores nationwide and receive an immediate quote and redemption. The items are then refurbished in the UK and re-sold. Customers trading-in gadgets (initially mobile phones and tablets), will get an Argos gift card to spend on anything in the retailer’s product range.
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LG OPENS 11TH SHOP-IN-SHOP IN BRIGHTON
has opened its latest, and largest, shop-in-shop at Carters Domestic Appliances in Brighton. The area showcases in excess of 30 LG home appliances including refrigerators, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers, ranging in price points, functions and features. Andy Mackay, UK Commercial Director of Consumer Electronics at LG, said: “Carters Domestic Appliances offers the largest number of home appliance products of any LG shopin-shop in the UK and their highly experienced staff will provide customers with live demonstrations that will reveal the values and benefits of the LG home appliances range.” “Carters is well known to the people of Brighton for providing our customers with the best possible in-store experience,” said Robert Carter, Director of the retail business. “The arrival of the LG shop-in-shop is further testament to this dedication, whilst offering us the opportunity to expand our home appliances portfolio.”
Visit www.gcmagazine.co.uk for the stories behind the news... Consumers in the dark about
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helps young people earn while they learn
Currys PC World becomes The trade-in service is one of a number of pilots supported by the EU Life+ funded REBus project, through which WRAP is helping businesses take action and make the circular economy a reality.
latest iKBBI sponsor
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REPIC PROVIDES FREE DROP-OFF SERVICE FOR ELECTRICAL RETAILERS R
THE THE POWER POWER BEHIND BEHIND THE THE BRANDS BRANDS
EPIC has launched a pilot scheme in a number of areas nationwide for retailers to drop off WEEE at centres close to their premises. The scheme helps provide a solution to retailers who haven’t the space to correctly and safely store WEEE. REPIC’s Dr Philip Morton said: “Customers can leave old appliances for free at their retailers and the retailers can drop them off for free at a convenient drop-off centre. This service is not limited to small WEEE so any item, whether a dishwasher, tumble drier, TV, fridge, toaster, any household WEEE, can be dropped off by retailers for free.” Further information on REPIC’s retail drop-off centres can be obtained by calling REPIC on 0161 272 0001 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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SAMSUNG LAUNCHES NEW SCHEME FOR KITCHEN SPECIALISTS
amsung Electronics has announced the launch of a new “elite” partner scheme for kitchen specialists stocking its premium Chef Collection of appliances. The Signature Chef Collection Specialists scheme will offer qualifying retailers a range of exclusive privileges. Benefits include product training sessions, in-store signage and premium POS, and dedicated marketing assets for traditional and digital media. Qualifying retailers will also receive bespoke consumer and retailer promotions and improved trading terms and benefits.
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Smeg UK has appointed Richie Bleasdale to the role of Regional Sales Manager for the North West & West Midlands.
3 Access to over 2 Million spares 3 Access to over 2 Million spares parts & accessories parts & accessories 3 Over 125,000 lines in stock ready 3 Over 125,000 lines in stock ready for despatch for despatch 3 Over 45 years in the industry 3 Over 45 years in the industry 3 Order online 24/7 3 Order online 24/7 3 Free next day delivery available 3 Free next day delivery available 3 Direct delivery available 3 Direct delivery available
AO World PLC has announced the appointment of Mark Higgins as its Chief Financial Officer and an Executive Director of the company, effective 1st August 2015. Steve Caunce, who held the combined role of Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, remains on the Board as Chief Operating Officer. Hama UK has appointed two new Regional Area Sales Managers to improve services to the independent sector. Torquay-based Steve Steve Tucker Kevin Hurford Tucker will cover the South West region and Lincoln-based Kevin Hurford the East of England.
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t: 0844 557 3700 t: 0844 557 3700 www.connect-distribution.co.uk www.connect-distribution.co.uk
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GDHA AND BRITANNIA CREATE NEW RANGE COOKING DIVISION
len Dimplex Home Appliances and Britannia Living have created a combined range cooking division, which will provide customers with a single point of contact and access to an expanded product range incorporating the Stoves, Belling, New World and Britannia brands. The division – Glen Dimplex Home Appliances: Range Cooking – is headed by Britannia Living Managing Director Chris Honer (pictured left). GDHA acquired Britannia Living late 2013 after the company fell into administration and has successfully returned it to profitability. Jonathan Casley, Managing Director of Glen Dimplex Home Appliances (right), said: "We are very proud to have a great brand like Britannia as part of the GDHA family and over the last two years we’ve worked hard with the Britannia team to stabilise the business. “That process is now complete. Britannia is healthier than ever and our
next priority was to simplify our structure, making it easier for our retailers to do business with us.” GDHA said the new division will retain the exclusive UK distribution rights to Bertazzoni and designer cooker hood brand Best, which have been distributed by Britannia Living, and will operate from existing sites in Stoke and Prescot. No changes will be made to the manufacture of Britannia’s products. Retail customers will be able to order across all brands via a single sales team and all products will be supported by GDHA’s UK-based customer service operation. “We are extremely ambitious and believe this new division will allow us to significantly grow our share of the Range cooking market,” said Casley. “Its creation will help us to better align our capabilities, deliver superior products, an improved service to customers and, under Chris’s expert guidance, drive growth.”
HISENSE ACQUIRES SHARP AMERICA C
hinese CE and white goods manufacturer Hisense International has announced it will acquire Sharp America in a deal amounting to US$23.7 million. Hisense said it will purchase all equity and assets of Sharp’s TV factory in Mexico, as well as rights to use the Sharp brand name and its channel resources in the North and South American regions. Sharp was established in 1912 and was an early investor in LCD technology, but the Japanese manufacturer has been struggling to stay afloat in recent years. Earlier this year it announced a ¥200 billion ($1.7 billion) bank
bailout after reporting a net loss for its financial year ended 31 March 2015. The bailout was the second major rescue for the company in three years. Hisense said the acquisition will enable it to increase its presence and capacity in North and South America. Revenues in these regions are expected to increase by $2 billion. Hisense was formed in 1969 and has since grown into a multi-billion dollar global conglomerate with a workforce of over 75,000 worldwide. Its products are sold in more than 130 countries. Last year the company reported sales revenues of $16 billion.
MIDDLEBY CORPORATION TO ACQUIRE AGA RANGEMASTER US-based Middleby Corporation is to acquire AGA Rangemaster Group plc for a cash sum of £129.2 million. The acquisition follows Middleby’s 2013 purchase of the premium US brand Viking and is said to further strengthen Middleby’s global reach and enhance its position as a
leader in the premium segment for residential kitchen equipment. AGA’s residential kitchen equipment includes ranges, ovens and refrigeration. The Leamington Spa headquartered firm has revenues in excess of £260 million and more
than 2,500 employees worldwide. Its portfolio includes AGA, Rangemaster, Mercury, Falcon, Marvel, Stanley and La Cornue. John Coleman, Chairman of AGA, said: “Middleby provides a larger scale framework including an established international structure to deliver fully
on the potential of the business.” He added that the financial strength of Middleby also achieves a better balance with AGA's pension obligations, which are large in relation to the existing business and have become a “significant constraint” on the progress of the Group.
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2015
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REPIC Responsible Recycling is GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2015 8 REPIC Responsible Recycling is our our new new campaign campaign to to encourage encourage greater greater consumer consumer participation in the world of WEEE recycling... visit our new website participation in the world of WEEE recycling... visit our new website for for full full details! details!
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Sky posted a 5% increase in group revenue to £11,283 million for the year ended 30th June and an 18% rise in operating profit to £1,400 million. EBITDA increased 10% to £2,030 million. A strong performance across all five territories was recorded, with the UK and Ireland achieving revenues of £7,820 million, up 6%, and operating profit up 12% to £1,350 million.
Amazon announced a profit of $92 million for its second quarter ended 30 June 2015 against a net loss of $126 million in Q2 2014. Net sales increased 20% to $23.18 billion. Operating income for the quarter was $464 million, compared with a loss of $15 million in the same period last year. Whirlpool Corporation announced second-quarter net earnings of $177 million compared to $179 million for the same period last year. Net sales rose 11% to $5.2
billion. Whirlpool EMEA reported net sales of $1.3 billion, compared to $0.7 billion in the same prior-year period, an increase of 79%. Operating profit in the region rose from $2 million to $51 million.
Net sales increased 19.1% to SEK 31,355 million, with a 4% uplift in Western Europe. Operating income amounted to SEK 921 million compared to SEK 63 million in Q2 2014.
Apple posted quarterly revenue up 32.6% and a rise of 39% in net profit for its third quarter ended 27th June 2015. Sales increased to $49.6 billion and net profit to $10.7 billion. Gross margin was 39.7% compared to 39.4% in the same quarter last year.
Dixons Carphone reported an
In a trading update for the three months ended 30 June 2015, AO World reported revenue up 6.5% and orders up 13.9%. Website ao.com experienced revenue growth of 11.2% year on year.
Samsung posted second-quarter net profits down 8% compared to the same period in 2014, in line with its earnings guidance disclosed early July. The company reported earnings of KRW 5.75 trillion on sales of KRW 48.54 trillion and a consolidated operating profit KRW 6.9 trillion, down from KRW 7.19 trillion in Q2 last year.
Electrolux posted a Q2 2015 profit of SEK 608 million, against a loss of SEK 92 million in the same period last year.
“excellent” performance for its first year of trading as an integrated business. Group like-for-like revenues grew 6% to £9.9 billion, with an 8% rise in the UK & Ireland. Pretax profit rose 21% to £381 million.
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HAIER CONNECTS WITH CONSUMERS WITH INTERNET-BASED SMART FACTORIES
aier Group has developed internetbased smart factories, where mass production of personalised products has replaced the company's traditional largescale manufacturing. These new smart factories (four in China: a factory producing smart air conditioners in Zhengzhou, a refrigerator factory in Shenyang, a water heater factory in Qingdao and a factory producing washing machines in Foshan), allow users to personalise and order appliances by communicating their needs direct with the manufacturer via diy.haier.com. The factories are mainly for the Chinese market, but in the near future, users worldwide will be able to order their custommade washing machine from the factory in Foshan and observe the manufacturing process live via app or the internet.
Zhang Ruimin, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Haier Group, said the company’s networked factories’ model is a disruptive innovation to the existing home appliances industry, but the trend of the age must be the pursuit of such change. “The most important characteristics of the internet age are the zero-distance relationship generated with consumers and the decentralisation and distributed nature of the relationship. Enterprises must adapt by integrating with users to provide the very best experience.” Li Pan, Vice President and overseas managing Director of Haier, said the tailor-made products are a “huge hit” with Chinese customers. “We hope to do the same soon with European consumers,” he added.
BEKO DONATES £75K TO CHARITY PARTNER Beko has presented its chosen charity partner Barnardo’s with a donation for £75,000. The cheque was presented to Forbes Mutch, Head of Partnership Development at Barnardo’s, by Senior Marketing Manager for all Beko plc brands Alexandra Boon and Beko Brand Manager Shalika Hooda.
LEISURE APPOINTS BRAND AMBASSADOR Dan Doherty, Executive Chef at London’s Duck & Waffle restaurant, has been appointed Brand Ambassador for range cooker brand Leisure. The young Chef is teaming up with the brand to bring enthusiasm for the benefits of range cooking to urban- and city-dwellers. Doherty will create a series of recipes, such as brunch dishes and a family roasts, inspired by the ease and convenience a Leisure range cooker offers.
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STOVES LAUNCHES COMMUNITY KITCHENS CAMPAIGN
DHA brand Stoves has launched a Community Kitchens campaign with a £20,000 fund for community projects. The biannual campaign is aimed at placing the kitchen at the heart of local communities, and will transform kitchen facilities in community projects throughout the UK, awarding deserving initiatives with thousands of pounds worth of kitchen appliances. The nominated projects need to be owned, developed and led by the communities they serve and a shortlist of nominations will be put to a public vote. Silver and bronze winners will receive Stoves appliance packages worth between £2,000 and £3,000, with two overall winners a year receiving £5,000 in prizes.
SHORTCUTS Smeg is supporting retailers with a 5-year warranty promotion on its SMF01 stand mixer until 30th September 2015. The fifth Product Safety Conference hosted by Electrical Safety First will be held at Church House, Westminster, on 17th November 2015. AEG has announced its headline sponsorship of The Big Feastival, a weekend of music and food indulgence presented by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Blur’s Alex James. The event runs from 28th to 30th August. Leisure has introduced a summer cash-back promotion of up to £200 on selected range cooker models and is supporting the offer with in-store POS
and digital activity with a number of retailers. The promotion runs until 31st August 2015. Buying group CIH has taken eight of Linsar’s new range of TVs, which were launched at the Euronics Showcase in April this year, into its central stock. The selection incorporates models ranging from 22” to 32”. Beko brand Grundig has created a new crossmedia partnership with The Guardian to produce bespoke print and online content over a period of five months. It is estimated to reach almost a million readers. German brand Braun has been named ‘Most Innovative Brand 2015’ by the Plus X Award body.
The UK’s first WiFi fully connected kitchen from Hoover
COVER STORY 2015 IS A SIGNIFICANT YEAR FOR HOOVER CANDY GROUP UK & IRELAND, WITH ITS ITALIAN PARENT CANDY GROUP S.P.A CELEBRATING ITS 70TH ANNIVERSARY, A UK “FIRST” WITH THE LAUNCH OF A RANGE OF WI-FI CONNECTED APPLIANCES AND THE RESTRUCTURING OF ITS BUILT-IN OPERATIONS, WHICH SIGNALS THE UK GROUP’S INTENT TO GROW ITS PRESENCE IN THIS SECTOR. DAVID MEYEROWITZ, MD OF HOOVER CANDY GROUP UK & IRELAND, TALKS TO GC
he Candy Group marked its 70th anniversary this year with a number of celebratory events in its Italian homeland, including a gala dinner at the Villa Reale, the former summer palace of the royal family in Italy. Around 200 international guests attended, with major UK retailers and independent UK buying groups well represented. But the big story in this important year for the Group is the launch of new products. “It’s a landmark year in terms of innovations,” David Meyerowitz, MD of Hoover Candy Group UK & Ireland, tells GC. “First is the Wizard range, but there are many other products that present opportunities for retailers and consumers: the first 13kg washing machine in a standard footprint, the first 8kg washer dryer to wash and dry all the way through, 10kg tumble dryers and 16 place setting dishwashers, both freestanding and built-in.”
“...one of our retailers very aptly said: ‘These devices are becoming the remote controls for your life’. So we’re really clear that the time is right.”
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“Our main focus in the UK, particularly over the last five years, has been delivering significant growth. Constant but steady growth, not growing too quickly in a way that would deteriorate the value of the brand for our trade partners; in fact, quite the opposite, we’re trying to enhance the value of our products. We want to make sure we can deliver good profitability for our partners and innovation is one of the main pillars of this growth. “I think many of our retailers have just realised how big Hoover Candy has become in the UK. We will be achieving sales of around two million appliances in the UK this year, so it has probably grown a lot more than some of our trade partners realise.” So what was the reasoning behind the new commercial structure for the Hoover Candy UK Built-in divisions?
“We are thinking ahead very much about the business opportunities in the UK. We’ve anticipated quite well the growth in the built-in market – the market grew 12% last year on a backdrop of low growth in the previous couple of years. 2014 was a real step change, because we’re seeing that growth this year, but it was actually in the final quarter of 2013 that we acquired Baumatic and that is a very big part of us wanting to capitalise on the growth. “The reason we’ve restructured is we’ve now had about one-and-a-half years to familiarise ourselves with the Baumatic brand and the business model, and it’s now time to better coordinate our efforts alongside building Hoover Candy built-in brands and to form a new business unit with those all together. “At the same time, it allows us to move one of our more experienced guys, Maurizio Severgnini, who is being promoted into a European role looking after the development of our retailer own-label business on a European basis. So two moves really, we intend to grow significantly in built-in.” Hoover Candy Group already has a sizable business in the UK in own-label products. Severgnini will take care of this and aim to develop it further. “What the restructure also does for us is put our built-in interests under one roof in Reading for the Hoover, Candy and Baumatic brands and that frees up extra space and resource here in Wirral to dedicate specifically to freestanding, which we need because freestanding is growing so strongly.” Commenting on how the Baumatic brand has performed in the UK since it was acquired by Hoover Candy in 2013, Meyerowitz says sales growth has been “significant” and it is outperforming the market, which is growing strongly. “We’ve already been able to double the market share for the brand. I think that is a really good indication. We’ve also been fast to
integrate Baumatic into the Hoover Candy Group for after sales service, finance, administration and logistics, reducing operating costs significantly, and Baumatic is already a healthy profit contributor to our UK business. We’re ready now to enter the next stage of growth with Baumatic and this is another reason for the restructure.”
A UK “FIRST”
Hoover Candy Group intends to be the first to market in the UK with a full range of Wi-Fi connected appliances, but does Meyerowitz think this rather traditional nation is ready for such evolution? “Yes, I absolutely believe it. In fact we all believe it. If you think about the appreciation already shown by the UK consumer for Wi-Fi connectivity generally then we think it becomes quite clear. So if we look at the increase in smart TVs, heating controls, lighting, security, computer printers, Wi-Fi music systems, I think we can say it’s a technology that is already well embraced by the consumer. “Looking at the development of smartphones, we can see an evergrowing availability of apps that allow consumers to take control of practically everything in their lives. In fact, one of our retailers very aptly said: ‘These devices are becoming the remote controls for your life’. So we’re really clear that the time is right.” Meyerowitz says retailers’ response to the launch of the Wizard collection has been very positive. “What captured everybody’s imagination was the completeness of the range. We have six different product types available: washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, hobs, hoods and refrigeration. “The launch was in June at the Saatchi Gallery in London and I have to say the reaction has been quite incredible. We’ve been busy since then preparing launch plans with retailers. Many retailers have
requested some levels of exclusivity with this range, but we’re unable to do this as we prefer to provide access to all retailers that are able to support the technology. “We’ve already got retailers placing forecasts and orders with us and we’ve already had to significantly increase the production plan, even beyond our expectations. So we’re now expecting great things.” But is it a drawback to have a proprietary technology that won’t connect to other brands’ products? “Not really. We wanted to be the first to bring this market into the UK. We also wanted to deliver a bespoke system that brings out all the benefits and functions of our products, and we felt we could only do this at this stage with our own system. However, the view for the future is that Wizard appliances will be able to work in an open system. So consumers will have the choice to continue with the Wizard app or, alternatively, integrate as part of an open system with other appliances.”
“In the future we want to allow the customer to download programmes that are best for them. We’re only at the beginning really, remote control is just the start of what’s possible.”
With washing machines already offering features such as Delay Start, ovens offering advanced programming and intelligent operation, cooker hoods that switch on automatically when odours and steam are detected and cooling appliances with dooropen signals and sensor-control technology, what additional benefits does the Wizard range bring? “This is something we are aiming a lot of our communications at, because some consumers may well have some of these thoughts. Some may be open to the technology but we do expect quite a number to pose some of these questions. So we’re going to be communicating clearly to consumers what the benefits are of connected appliances and the Wizard system.” Meyerowitz gives a comprehensive description of the benefits of Wizard, which are too numerous to report in the context of this article, but we’re looking at conveniences such as keeping the dinner warm if you’re going to be unexpectedly late home, or changing the time you want a wash load to start via remote control. Wizard will also send alerts to the consumer; for example, if the fridge door is open and the consumer is not in proximity to hear the audible alert from the fridge itself, and if the dishwasher needs a tablet or the
rinse aid topped up. Consumers will also be alerted when the appliances need simple maintenance such as clearing a blocked filter. But it’s not simply about the remote control and alerts, it’s the other advantages Wizard offers: households will be able to monitor the energy consumption of their appliances, which Meyerowitz says could offer “big savings”, as 60% of people aren’t aware of how much it costs to run their household appliances. “Another great thing is the service link,” he says. “The product will be registered on day one in order to be activated on the Wi-Fi system, so we know where the customer is if we ever need to contact them for modifications. We also have a Wizard guide on the app. It’s an onboard helper that offers perfect programming. It encourages the consumer to get the best out of their product; maybe try some programmes they don’t normally try. Customers only use one or two programmes on their washing machine but there are many others that will offer, say, energy savings, time savings and provide extra convenience. And the other thing is customisation, providing the customer with opportunities to make the product their own. In the future we want to allow the customer to download programmes that are best for them. We’re only at the beginning really, remote control is just the start of what’s possible.” So how does Meyerowitz see the future for the connected home shaping up? “We see great progress and lots of developments – things will move a lot faster. It’s the way to go. Is there a time when everything could be operated centrally from one device? I guess that’s likely to be the landing point for it. And I think there’s a lot we don’t know yet about the consumer and what programmes they frequently use.
One of the things we’re hoping to understand is how consumers use their products. It’s not just about creating a central control over everything, it’s also a good way to learn how people use their products and to develop the products that consumers want.” The UK market is expected to be around 12 million appliances in 2016, so Meyerowitz sees this as a great opportunity. “We’re working to make everything we make connected by 2017. We really want to be at the front to see how the consumer regards Wi-Fi appliances generally.”
HAVE WE PEAKED?
Hoover Candy has promoted itself as “champion” of large load appliances, and its new product launches are confirmation of its design and manufacturing competence in this area, but how much further can capacities be expanded? “The key thing is not to move outside of the standard footprint, because once you do that it creates a number of difficulties,” says Meyerowitz. “The standard load was around 4.5kg when I began in this industry, today we have 13kg. But the capacity needs to be usable. For example, in washing machines we bundle large capacity with our All in One technology so consumers can wash all types of light and dark fabrics and natural and synthetic fibres together, without having to separate them into different loads. “So, as to how far it can go: it’s not about just capacity, we need to deliver all the other measures too – energy efficiency, performance, time savings, convenience. It’s not just about big; it’s about accessibility and usability for the consumer.” With intelligent sensor control incorporated in all product categories and refined internal layouts and resource efficiencies, what could the next technical advances possibly be? Is there anywhere else to go in terms of efficiencies? “I don’t think we can ever say we’ve reached a peak, improvements seem to be accelerating: lower and lower energy levels and more features, but it’s through connectivity that consumers can really take things to the next level. Energy efficiency through programme choice, the ability to download your own programmes, programme sharing with family members, convenience through
things like voice activation. And the next version of the Wizard app will include fault finding, so we can monitor the performance of the machine and if it’s not performing right we can contact the customer. We can offer excellent after sales service to the customer by basically pre-empting their concerns.” Meyerowitz asserts that “there’s lots to come” – products will continue to become better and better and more efficient, “and with connectivity we can take a giant step now and advance to the next level.”
AT THE COALFACE
Speaking about the retail market in the UK and consumers’ shift in buying patterns, Meyerowitz says: “We’re pretty clear that consumers continue to reference both high street stores and online stores during their journey to purchase. We believe that retailers, whether physical stores or online, have ranges that are relevant to today’s consumers, and as long as the business model is sustainable for the retailer then there is no reason why they can’t work happily together. “We believe that when consumers shop in store they need to see something different, something interesting that will engage them. We’ve got the technologies. Wizard is an example of that, and one that does need some explanation. We’re comfortable that connectivity will provide additional opportunities for retailers, including the independents. We’re already talking to retailers about the benefits of changing technology. Wizard is ideal because what we’re looking for is partners that can explain the benefits, demonstrate the products and when it comes to fulfilment, deliver to the customer’s home and, ideally, set the product up for them so they can use it immediately. I think it’s an ideal opportunity for the independents.”
ONWARD AND UPWARD…
So what’s in store for the Hoover Candy Group in the foreseeable future? “Continuing our journey of sustained growth, a little bit more each year, and our main tool for that is innovation. We invest the largest proportion of our sales in R&D, proportionately more than any other manufacturer, and we believe this will give us the confidence to deliver great technologies for our retailers.” And the end goal is: “Consumers can get great products and our retail partners can have healthy profits.” AUGUST 2015 GET CONNECTED
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AS SPACE IN THE UK’S NEW-BUILD HOMES DIMINISHES AND KITCHENS BECOME PROPORTIONATELY SMALLER, BOTH OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES EXIST FOR ELECTRICAL RETAILERS AND KITCHEN DESIGNERS. GC REPORTS
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an you imagine life in Eastenders’ Carol Jackson’s kitchen? It’s difficult to tell how many family members, waifs and strays have lived in that house at any one time over the years, but presumably none have needed to use the undercounter cupboards as it seems the table in the centre of the room prevents them from being opened. Or how about living in Corrie’s Victoria Court, in the more modern pad occupied, until recently, when a fateful incident destroyed the tiny premises, by the well-heeled, though hapless, factory boss Carla Connor? It’s opportune that her idea of sustenance is red wine and bistro food, for there wasn’t enough room to swing the proverbial cat in that appointed kitchen space. But how close in size are these diminutive, studio-set kitchens to those in the real world? Pretty darned close in some areas of the UK. According to research carried out early last year by estate agents Marsh & Parsons, kitchen space in London has shrunk by a third since the 1960s. As a result, over a third of residents in new-build developments reported they didn’t have enough space for everyday kitchen appliances such as toasters or microwaves, or to invite guests for dinner in their home.
BLAME THE DEVELOPERS
The report states that kitchens have fallen victim to the changing eating habits of modern-day Londoners, so now account for a smaller proportion of the total living space in new-build developments and conversions in the capital than ever before. Charles Holland, Lead Director of Residential Developments and Investments at Marsh & Parsons, said: “The whole way we socialise as a city is changing and marginalising the kitchen as the traditional hub of the home. Aware of the changing lifestyle of our capital’s young professionals, developers of the latest London apartment blocks are prioritising living space, bathrooms and nearly all else over kitchen size. “Londoners today are increasingly following in the footsteps of New Yorkers, preferring to eat out and meet friends in a restaurant than host dinner parties.” Peter Rollings, CEO of Marsh & Parsons, said: “With less and less time spent preparing meals in the home, we are starting to see the kitchen completely disappear as a room in its own right, and instead being subsumed into the wider living and dining space. “Looking to the future, it begs the question whether the London kitchen
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is about to do a disappearing act on us altogether, or whether it has already ceased to exist as a must-have space?” “Preferring to eat out?” This flies in the face of everything we’ve been fed by various media sources, which speak of Britons’ love of entertaining at home and “obsession” with cooking and baking, and indeed our industry’s own correlation between growth in the viewing of TV shows such as MasterChef and The Great British Bake Off and that of the Food Prep market. But the question is: Have these citydwellers been eating out because, as previously stated, they don’t have enough space for everyday kitchen appliances (Hmmm… maybe Carla has been forced to eat at her local bistro) and was it this, rather than choice, that has brought about their following in New Yorkers’ footsteps, giving developers the cue to make kitchens even more diminutive?
A NATIONAL PROBLEM
Miele’s Pureline steam oven with microwave
The problem of small homes in the UK is not restricted to London. According to the Royal Institute of British Architects, the average home here used to be 85m² and had 5.2 rooms, with an average area of 16.3m² per room, now the average new home is 76m² and has 4.8 rooms, with an average area of 15.8m² per room. By comparison, the average new home in Ireland is 15% bigger, in the Netherlands it is 53% bigger and in Denmark 80% bigger. Given that the average one-bedroom newbuild home in the UK is 46m² – exactly the same size as a Jubilee Line train carriage on the London Underground – it’s hardly surprising that 69% of people moving into new-builds said there wasn’t enough space for their possessions. For kitchen designers and electrical retailers kitting out small homes and houses that have been subdivided into one-bedroom flats, the challenge is to recommend and fit appliances that the consumer’s lifestyle demands so they can enjoy the comfort of their home, without being forced out onto the streets to eat! It’s a complex job; but, as they say, no challenge is insurmountable, and the diversity of appliances on the market today should allow most consumers to have what’s necessary for a fully functional and stylish kitchen. As Hotpoint Brand Communications Director Ian Moverley says: “Stunning kitchens are not limited to those with large country-style homes.”
“Creating a functional, un-cluttered look within a small kitchen is certainly not impossible, it just requires some thought and planning in order to maximise every inch of space,” asserts Moverley. “Large statement appliances will overcrowd a small space, so consider slim-line,
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multifunctional appliances. Products with a smaller footprint will allow the homeowner to fit more into the space they have available, and may leave enough room for that much needed dishwasher after all. “It is important to demonstrate to the consumer that they can own a kitchen that has the ‘wow’ factor, regardless of its size. Consider arranging a selection of matching slim-line appliances that offer stunning aesthetics in a lifestyle setting, and stress the capacity levels to demonstrate to the homeowner that slim-line doesn’t mean they’re missing out on functionality.” Compact appliances may provide one option for the small kitchen as they come in many variations so can be chosen to suit the consumer’s cooking needs, and as Smeg UK product development manager Joan Fraser points out: “They also offer the same benefits as bigger versions.” Fraser notes that compact steam ovens are becoming a more popular choice due to their health benefits, as more vitamins and minerals are retained than in conventional cooking methods. “However,” she adds, “the combination microwave is the most popular choice, giving flexibility and extra capacity when needed as well as speed cooking when you’re in a hurry, so this makes a fantastic all-rounder.” She also touches on combination ovens that can be used in conventional, microwave and steam modes. “For consumers who enjoy eating healthily, a combination steam oven is ideal as it gives the best of both worlds.”
V-ZUG’s Rhys Evans, Sales Director UK & Ireland, believes combination ovens are “fantastic” in space-restricted kitchens. And why install three ovens when you can have one that combines all three – definitely a real space-saving solution. “This way, you pack in all of the highquality features and functionality that discerning customers have come to expect, but you simply use less space,” says Evans. “It doesn’t have to mean that the retailer loses out either; you can show customers how, by picking a combination model, they can trade up to a better brand that will offer them increased functionality and durability, ensuring you keep a high margin on the project.” Brand Communications Manager for Sharp Home Appliances, Rita Balestrazzi, fights the corner for combination microwaves, which she says are “the ultimate space-saving home help.” As many models now have larger capacities of 40-42 litres and greater multi-purpose functionality, Balestrazzi believes these are large enough to serve as main household ovens. “Combi microwaves not only offer powerful 1400W Quartz grills, but also dynamic conventional cooking functions, which can provide wider temperature ranges of between 40-250 degrees Celsius. “Such models also come with additional time-saving help, enabling programmes to be set together at the start of the cooking process. Multi-stage sequential heating AUGUST 2015 GET CONNECTED
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Fridge freezers that screech and whirr, washing machines that thump their way through cycles, dishwashers that slosh loudly in operation and cooker hoods that would drown out the noise of a rock concert will not be a welcome addition to any consumer’s kitchen, and it is worth noting when recommending appliances that normal conversation takes place at around 60dB(A). The Fusion wall-mounted cooker hood from BEST has maximum extraction of 675m3/h and a decibel rating 4666dB(A), and Caple’s BU521 built-under stainless steel hood, which is said to be perfect for smaller spaces where discreet installation is key, offers maximum extraction of 604m3/h and a maximum sound level of 61dB(A). Bosch’s SPV69T00GB ActiveWater 45cm integrated dishwasher offers 10 placesettings and operates at just 44dB(A), while Smeg’s DF13SS 60cm freestanding dishwasher with hidden controls has an ultra-low sound level of 39dB(A).
features allow up to four programmes to be pre-set at a time. For time-poor cooks, this new generation of combi microwaves also offers 8+ auto cook options, enabling the ideal cooking conditions to be automatically set for staple dishes such as pizza and pasta.”
Owain Harrison, UK head of sales and marketing, Hoover Candy Baumatic (Builtin), suggests that banking appliances at eye level so the user doesn’t need to bend down means that all possible cooking methods can be undertaken ergonomically, even in a small space. “The trend for banking appliances within tall cabinetry also means that many smaller open-plan kitchens need not lose out on the size or number of cooking appliances that can be installed within the layout to maintain a streamlined look and overall sense of space. Many smaller sized kitchens can be designed to accommodate a selection of up-to-the-minute full-size and compact appliances. “The advantage of a streamlined built-in kitchen is that cleverly configured cabinetry combines with a kitchen island as the demarcation between living and cooking in an on-trend open-plan layout. This is where space 16
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Hotpoint’s Ultima SIUF 22111 K slimline dishwasher offers 10 place settings in a 45cm footprint
is effectively borrowed from the living area to create a more capacious food preparation, cooking and entertaining environment in many of today’s urban flats and apartments. Therefore, appliances with sympathetic minimalist design, ultimate functionality and most of all, quiet noise levels are a must. They should be a pleasure to be seen, but not heard.” “Open-plan living areas and the trend for cooking for friends and family at home have resulted in the noise level of an appliance factoring highly in the decision-making process. No-one wants to have to shout above the noise of a washing machine spinning while entertaining guests,” adds Hotpoint’s Moverley.
Hotpoint’s new Ultima S-Line washing machine incorporates a brushless inverter motor and special sound insulating panels which are claimed to reduce sound levels by up to 50%, but Whirlpool lays claim to the lowest noise level on the market with its new Supreme Care washing machines with ZEN Technology – 67dB(A) for loads up to 10kg spinning at 1400rpm. In fridge freezers, Liebherr’s ColourLine models operate at 39dB(A), as does Smeg’s 311-litre CR330AP combi. Hotpoint’s Ultima XUL85 T3U WOJH fridge freezer incorporates a Good Night Option that brings the noise level down to 36dB(A).
VISICOOK HALOGEN OVEN 2015 The new VisiCook halogen oven 2015 (item code CR 3TR 2015) uses efficient heating and high airflow to replicate traditional cooking methods, providing superb results in a fraction of the time and economically too. The appliance roasts, bakes, grills and defrosts using halogen heating and fan technology to thoroughly and efficiently cook foodstuffs in half to two-thirds of the time taken in a traditional oven. The 12-litre glass bowl caters for a family sized meal and is easily removed for cleaning. Its deep sides and flat base also make it useful for other cooking tasks.
SAUCE / SOUP
STIRRING PADDLE STEAM
Healthy, homemade meals, made much easier with Kenwood It’s time to say goodbye to the ready meals, and hello to tastier and healthier meals with the kCook – a cooking food processor and steamer that chops, stirs and cooks your dinner for you. The Kenwood kCook provides ‘one pot’ cooking, allowing flavoursome casseroles, fresh soups and various sauces to be prepared at the touch of a few buttons. It will even steam your vegetables and fish in the inclusive basket for an even healthier family meal. With the choice of two bowl tools, ingredients can be chopped to the desired texture before switching to the stirring tool to ensure the dish is cooked evenly.
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TOWN & APARTMENT LIVING BEING BOLD
The majority of consumers will want their kitchens to be individual and stylish, even if space is limited, and David Thacker, Marketing Manager for Rangemaster, believes that, although a range cooker may not seem the obvious choice for a small space, “it actually makes good sense when you consider the impact the product makes and the facilities on offer. A 90cm model, for example, takes up just 30cm more space than a 60cm built-in oven but brings all the benefits of extra cooking capacity, a separate grill and a large hob that is part of the appliance so does not take up worktop space. If 90cm is too much space to find, we have the 60cm Classic, Professional+ and Kitchener models that are available in all-gas and all-electric versions, offering the benefits of two oven cavities and a hob.” Dan Connell, Head of Category for Freestanding at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, also believes the range cooker is a contender for small kitchens: “Don’t assume a small space means you have to restrict yourself on style – many manufacturers are now looking at applying the same aesthetics and functions that appear on traditionally larger products such as range cookers on more compact appliances. For example, we offer the stylish Stoves Richmond Mini Range which is a great option for those who would like a range cooker but need to downsize. “Also, experimenting with colour is a great way of brightening up a small space, and there are a number of ways you can inject colour now, with appliances, hobs, hoods and fridges being more widely available in colours such as red, silver and black.” GDHA brand Britannia can match any colour consumers choose across its entire portfolio of range cookers. Purchasers simply need to send a sample of their desired colour, whether it’s a shred of paper or a favourite dress, and Britannia will custom finish their appliance.
Caple’s compact 14.5cm Wi155 wine cabinet with stainless steel door stores up to seven Bordeauxstyle 750ml wine bottles
AMICA GAS-ON-GLASS HOB Amica has launched a new collection of powerful, multifunction 60cm and 90cm gas hobs including this stunning 90cm black gas-on-glass model (ref: PGCZ961B). The appliance has five gas burners – 1 x 1.0kW; 2 x semirapid 2.0kW; 1 x rapid 3kW; 1 x ultra-rapid 4.0kW – each with heavy cast-iron pan supports, warm-burn indicator and LPG conversion jets. It incorporates electrostatic electronic ignition with re-ignition safety system and an ignition failure safety device on each burner. It is also available in stainless steel (ref: INPGZ9610). All Amica products hold a 2-year guarantee.
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Small appliances are another option for adding a dash of colour in the kitchen, with finishes in a rainbow of bright hues and subtle pastel palettes. Importantly, this category also now offers a great choice of multifunctional appliances that do several jobs, saving much-needed worktop space. The latest launch from Groupe SEB’s Tefal brand is the White Collection, a range of products designed to make food preparation easier and faster. Within the collection is a compact kitchen machine, suitable for keen bakers, and a powerful Minipro chopper that will handle vegetables and herbs, create purees and baby food and crush ice. The appliance is a space-saving
device that cuts food preparation time. De’Longhi says it has tapped into the growing trend for time-saving appliances that allow consumers to prepare healthier food quickly in a small space with the launch of its 3-in-1 MultiCooker. According to Trade Marketing Manager Maximillian Smith, the appliance has “unrivalled capabilities” which extend far beyond French fries, giving consumers a healthier way of cooking foodstuffs ranging from stews to pies, pizzas, curries and cake. He adds that De’Longhi has also continued to push innovations within its coffee machine and breakfast collection ranges to answer consumer demands for time- and space-saving appliances.
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VALOR: EXCLUSIVE TO EURONICS Cooking appliance manufacturer Glen Dimplex Home Appliances has launched a range of Valor cooking products exclusively for Euronics members. Established in Birmingham in 1890, Valor began its life with one small factory producing paraffin heaters, growing and diversifying over the years to become synonymous with superior quality cooking appliances. Unveiled at this year’s CIH show, the exclusive British-made Valor range includes three freestanding cookers, two new built-in ovens and a complementary range of hobs. The Valor 50HLG is a 50cm freestanding gas cooker with easyto-access high level grill. Available in white or black, it offers a fourburner gas hob and a generously proportioned 48-litre conventional gas oven.
The Distinta Breakfast Collection, available in white, black, copper and bronze metallic finishes, offers consumers the opportunity to own a complete premium set or a standalone item to accessorise their kitchen. The range includes a coffee machine and a selection of toasters and kettles, including a 1-litre mini kettle. But InSinkErator® suggests that consumers should “cast out” the kettle in favour of a steaming hot water tap. Linda Phoutthasak, Marketing Manager, Europe, says: “Kitchen technology and design has improved tremendously in the last ten years, and some of the most functional, compact and environmentally effective products are those that fly under most people’s and retailers’ radar. The steaming hot water tap market has truly revolutionised kitchen design: worktops remain free of clutter and a huge variety of household tasks can now conveniently be fulfilled with the help of one single fixture.”
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Rangemaster’s 60cm Classic model with ceramic hob
PORTABLE CE DEVICES & POWER
YOU CAN TAKE IT WITH YOU... BROAD SCOPE FOR HEADPHONES
LGâ€™s H4 â€œintegrates into an ecosystem of smart devicesâ€?
he Portable Consumer Electronics market offers a wide array of products that are constantly evolving and adapting to new trends and fashions. Right now, there is much talk about the Internet of Things, which connects billions of devices online. Dawn Stockell, head of brand at LG UK, says: â€œAs the Internet of Things grows, we will begin to see greater opportunities for portable devices to be integrated into an ecosystem of smart devices in the connected home. LG has recently added a portable speaker â€“ the H4 â€“ to its Music Flow wireless multi-room speaker range.â€? The H4 offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and can stream music from mobile devices and LGâ€™s Blu-ray players and televisions. â€œThis combination of portability and true connectivity is a trend that we expect to grow, as consumers become more interested in the connected home,â€? adds Stockell.
Michael Davies, Philipsâ€™ marketing lead UK and Ireland, notes that wireless technology is a key feature in many of todayâ€™s portable products. â€œBluetooth wireless technology is ensuring that portable devices is an area of continued growth, with both Bluetooth headphones and portable Bluetooth speakers seeing continued success in the market. Bluetooth wireless headphones - like the Fidelio M2BT model - are probably the fastest growing sector of the headphone market.â€? The portable Bluetooth speaker market is also growing by volume, but is an increasingly competitive market by value. â€œTo be successful,â€? says Davies, â€œproducts must have all key bases covered â€“ design, build, ease of use, audio quality and value for money.â€?
Linda Irvin, product manager â€“ consumer electronics, Sennheiser UK and Nordics, notes that the demand for Bluetooth headphones really accelerated this year, supported by innovations in wearable technology like the Apple smartwatch. â€œDevices like these typically lack a headphone jack, making wireless connectivity essential. As more wearable products come to market, we can expect the demand for wireless headphones to increase.â€? She also observes continuing growth in the in-ear headphones market, particularly for models supporting an in-line microphone, as consumers
NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE, CONSUMERS NEVER WANT TO BE PARTED FROM THE GADGETS THAT GIVE THEM ENTERTAINMENT, INFORMATION AND CONTACT. HENCE THE GROWTH IN PORTABLE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS DEVICES THAT CAN INTEGRATE WITH THEIR USERSâ€™ WIDER DIGITAL WORLD AND KEEP THEM CONSTANTLY IN TOUCH AND IN CONTROL. GEORGE COLE LOOKS AT WHATâ€™S AVAILABLE, AND AT THE OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED IN THIS BURGEONING SECTOR LGâ€™s Dawn Stockell adds that â€œthe market continues to move away from traditional Hi-Fi separates, as new categories with improved connectivity and features come to the fore. Bluetoothconnected devices are performing very strongly, with 85% of the Hi-Fi market now incorporating Bluetooth connectivity, and 20% featuring NFC connectivity. Products that encourage compatibility and have the versatility to fit around consumersâ€™ varying lifestyles will continue to perform strongly in the market.â€? For this reason, retailers should be stocking wireless-enabled portable products, says Philipsâ€™ Davies. â€œBluetooth headphones and Bluetooth portable speakers offer excellent margins for retailers, especially at the more premium end of the market, which presents the independent dealer with the opportunity to sell up to a wireless product. The beauty of stocking these products is that, as well as being attractive items, they can also be sold as add-ons to a sale of a phone, tablet or portable music player, and accessorising in this way will substantially improve margins.â€?
increasingly turn to mobile devices for both music and calls and want a convenient all-in-one accessory. â€œConsumers are demanding thinner and lighter accessories, but with more power and more quality, and the headphone market will need to adapt to that, so we expect to see sustained demand for inear portable headphones.â€? Thereâ€™s also an increased demand for headbands â€“ both on-ear and over-ear â€“ especially in the premium end of the market, with current figures showing a growth of 16%. â€œThis continues to be driven by the style-conscious consumer which we have seen emerge over the past few years. But consumers are no longer satisfied with the aesthetics of a product alone, and are concerned with pairing premium audio quality with premium design, such as the Sennheiser Urbanite and Momentum ranges,â€? comments Irvin. Looking ahead in the headphones market, Irvin sees Bluetooth product sales continuing to grow over the next twelve months.
â€œBluetooth wireless headphones are probably the fastest growing sector of the headphone marketâ€?
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PORTABLE CE DEVICES & POWER Sennheiser’s Momentum: “Premium quality, premium design”
THE POWER BEHIND THE REVOLUTION
Battery technology and portable CE products go hand-in-hand. As portable devices offer more features and better quality, so the demand for power increases. Sennheiser’s Irvin says Bluetooth technology means there is heavy demand on battery life and the rechargeable Lithium-ion Polymer batteries used in Sennheiser’s premium wireless headphones, like the Momentum wireless, offer a 22-hour play time on a three-hour charge. “Battery life has improved significantly over recent years, allowing consumers to enjoy using products on the go for longer. LG’s portable P7 20-watt speaker offers up to ten hours of sound,” says Dawn Stockell. Eva Jacobs, Energizer, north west Europe brand manager, says: “Our research shows ownership of household batterypowered devices is positive-trending back to pre-recession levels. The majority of devices still run on replaceable batteries – the average household owns 17.6 devices; five of which are powered by built-in batteries and 12 powered by replaceable batteries.” These devices include sport/ fitness, wireless computer accessories,
handheld GPS, games console controllers and health and medical products. “High drain and medium drain devices (like cameras, portable media players and wireless gaming products) are stabilising and still a significant part of the device universe,” says Jacobs. “These devices require high performance battery solutions like Energizer Ultimate Lithium, Energizer Recharge or Energizer High Tech batteries.” Alex Haslam, Assistant Brand Manager for Duracell, advises that premium alkaline batteries are in growth and lower quality, bulk batteries are also doing well in the discounter channels. When it comes to stocking batteries, he says retailers should consider “the premium tier,” adding that Duracell Ultra Power offers the best margin for the retailer. “Not only do they satisfy consumers by providing a long-life battery, but they can also enable devices to work better.”
THE PROWISE DABLET – EASY TO SWALLOW! The Prowise All-in-One Touch PC is the eye-catching latest development in Dablets – the hybrid PC that combines the size and functionality of a desktop with the ergonomic wizardry of a tablet. Super slim with stylish, flexible support means that whether you prefer working horizontally, vertically or anywhere in that 180-degree spectrum, it’s no problem. And with 3 hours’ battery life, the All-in-One may have more energy than you! Best to stay upright though if you’re testing the multi-touch screen, which allows 10 users to work simultaneously across its super-stylish 21.5” Full HD display. Variations available for Education & Non Education - get your hands on one!
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Panasonic sees growing demand in some camera categories
EXTENDING THE POWER & THE PROFITS
However, independent retailers are not always making the most of the opportunities offered by portable CE products, according to Ralph Allen, MD, Techlink: “Independents sadly take a very small share of the portable CE sector as the category as a whole is dominated by the phone channel plus mass retailers and online discounters. For smart devices in particular, customers generally do their buying research online, identify what they want and opt for a favourite low-cost retailer. Where independents can really sell through and make a margin in this sector is on accessories for CE devices – many of which customers might not even know they need. “Portable power is a prime example. Many people are used to smart devices ‘dying’ on them before their day is out and it can be very frustrating.
Portable recharging devices such as Techlink’s Recharge range are great for carrying around for that emergency top-up of your phone, tablet or even camera power. Simply asking a customer how long their phone’s battery lasts, or have they ever run out of charge on their phone, opens the door for a potential sale. “One message to get across to customers is that portable power devices are not all the same. In fact, there is huge disparity in quality, performance and even safety of budget no-brand
PORTABLE CE DEVICES & POWER
“One message to get across to customers is that portable power devices are not all the same”
devices compared to premium brand-name products. All Techlink Recharge products are CE approved, will deliver over 90% of stated capacity even after 500 charging cycles, thanks to premium balanced lithium cells, and use smart charging technology to ensure customers’ expensive devices are not over- or under-charged. Even at the end of life, every Recharge model is WEEE directive approved and recyclable. “No-brand ‘ebay’ purchased power packs often fade after the first few cycles, do not have any safety features to protect the
device they are charging and are not CE or FCC approved, so can present a fire risk,” adds Allen.
WHERE TO NOW?
Panasonic believes that 4K is a growing market and this is something the company is actively promoting. “We are working with a number of ambassadors to help showcase and work with retailers to educate consumers on the benefit of 4K photography,” the company says. Philips’ Davies sees smart codecs offering improved performance for portable CE products. “Ease of use is becoming increasingly important, but it shouldn’t compromise performance. Wireless technology like Bluetooth offers real user benefits, and thanks to the apt-X codec [which allows highquality sound to be sent over Bluetooth], there is no need for audio quality or battery life to suffer. Products such as the Fidelio M2BT headphones feature apt-X Bluetooth. With the improvements apt-X offers, it will be no surprise if this technology spreads further across the portable devices market.”
Techlink’s Recharge 1200 keeping the portable tech alive for longer
AUGUST 2015 GET CONNECTED
SPOTLIGHT ON EU DATA LAW
“The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or new European data law, will be introduced before the end of 2017, and will be far more stringent than the present rules on how you communicate with consumers.”
HOW THE NEW EU DATA LAW WILL APPLY TO THE ELECTRICAL RETAIL SECTOR THE EU WILL SHORTLY IMPOSE A NEW LAW THAT WILL HAVE A MAJOR IMPACT ON ANY ELECTRICAL BRAND OR RETAILER THAT RUNS A CONSUMER CONTACT DATABASE, BUT THE CHALLENGE IT PRESENTS CAN BE TURNED INTO A PROFITABLE OPPORTUNITY. JEREMY WHITAKER, CHAIRMAN OF VERSO GROUP – ONE OF THE UK’S LEADING CONSUMER DATA PROVIDERS AND COMPLIANCE SPECIALISTS – EXPLAINS WHY THE LEGISLATION CANNOT BE IGNORED Jeremy Whitaker
ith more than enough to think about in today’s pressured business environment, and with time and resources already stretched to the limit, many retailers are finding it extremely difficult to keep their eye on the myriad of balls that are thrown at them from all directions. So when something from the EU about data protection appears on the horizon, it may, understandably, be pushed to one side to make way for more pressing matters. But, if you use a database of your customers for maintaining contact, informing them of offers, marketing or for any other business purpose (and who can afford not to in the 21st century?), it’s essential that you do not ignore the new EU data law due to come into force in 2017, as Jeremy Whitaker points out: “The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), or new European data law, will be introduced before the end of 2017, and will be far more stringent than the present rules on how you communicate with consumers.
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2015
MORE DETAIL, HEAVY PENALTIES
“Currently you need consumers’ permission to send marketing information, but the terms are broad. In future it will have to be more clearly defined in both the content, and the communications channel used. The fines for non compliance will be up to seven figures, and the public may be given the right to claim damages.
“Perhaps the best way to describe how opt-in permission will work in future is that it will be like a traffic light system. Consent will have to be sought and provided if you want to convey information on a declared subject to a customer or prospect in a specified way, such as email. If at a later stage there is a desire to communicate about another subject, or in another way, it is like stopping at another set of traffic lights at which new permission must be asked in order to move forward once more.
CURRENT DATA WILL NEED AUDITING
“The new ‘unambiguous’ criteria will apply to existing data as well as future collection, which means auditing all
existing consumer files to establish whether current consent meets the new standard. The outcome is likely to mean every consumer will have to be contacted to upgrade opt-in permission. “Additionally the new law will require every individual consent form completed by a member of the public, whether electronic, paper or verbal, to be stored and ready for inspection by the Information Commissioners Office upon request. Finally, every company will have to introduce a readily identifiable data removal system for members of the public to apply their right ‘to be forgotten’.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
“GDPR presents a serious challenge, but it can be turned into a positive. When contacting consumers to refresh consent it can be used to find out about their true buying potential and buying triggers, and to make direct sales offers. Implementing information gathering and promotional campaigns can be hugely beneficial, so rather than view the law as a problem, take advice from a compliance professional and turn the negative into a profit.”
GEORGE COLE GEORGE COLE PINPOINTS HOTSPOTS IN THE WORLD OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
STREAMING AHEAD M
usic trade body the BPI released some interesting market statistics recently. The one that jumped out at me was that one fifth of British music buyers have fully transformed to digital. In other words, the music they purchase and listen to is in the form of digital downloads and music streams. Forget about CDs and LPs; to this group of music buyers, a physical disc is as alien to them as 78s were to previous generations of music buyers. UK music buyers have certainly taken to streaming, and the BPI reports that we listened to 11.5 billion streamed songs in the first half of 2015, compared with 6.4 billion for the same period last year. In fact, the 2015 figure is close to the total figure for 2014 – 14.8 billion streams. And these figures don’t include the music streamed over YouTube or social media sites. It’s interesting to look at what’s driving streaming and how it is affecting the consumer electronics market. The rise of streaming services such as Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, and now Apple Music, has made streaming music more accessible and their huge music catalogues made the medium more attractive. The rollout of super-fast broadband and 4G networks has made listening to streaming music (and watching
streaming video, for that matter) much better. But the BPI also adds that consumer electronics products such as network audio systems, tablets and smart TVs have helped fuel the streaming market. In fact, almost one in five (17%) of Smart TV owners use their set to access music services. Smart TV retailers have tended to focus on Catch-Up TV services such as iPlayer when selling these products; these statistics suggest that highlighting the ability to stream music could be another strong sales driver.
A SMALLER WINDOW
Streaming is also having an impact on the video market, with sales of Blu-ray discs and DVDs facing competition from video streaming services such as Netflix and Lovefilm. One way of helping to boost DVD sales could be to shorten the release window between film theatre and disc. The movie industry has a
“The movie studios hope that by reducing the release window, it will also lessen the risk of piracy, as pirates will have less time to sell their wares before the official version reaches the market.”
EXPECTING THE WORST R
emember when news came that the new 4G mobile networks could cause problems for many Freeview viewers? 4G operates at the 800MHz frequency, close to Freeview frequencies. The fear was that households close to a 4G base station could face interference or even a loss of channels. In 2012, Ofcom said some 2.3 million homes could be affected, a figure repeated by the BBC, which reported “Two million homes facing 4G interference.” A tabloid newspaper warned that “Millions of homes could lose their TV signal when 4G is switched on.”
However, a year later, the number of households that could be affected was revised down to 90,000. Well, two years later, we have a good idea of how extensive the problem was. The mobile phone operators formed a consortium, at800, with a remit to fix any problems caused to Freeview viewing by 4G. Viewers were contacted and asked to report any problems. Over the past two years, the at800 group has made more than 15,000 engineer visits to homes, and found that the number of them affected by 4G was fewer than 6,000. Sometimes, things turn out much better than expected.
well established release window strategy, with most films shown in a theatre, and then around 90 days later released on video. For some time the movie studios have wanted to reduce this window, but have faced opposition from theatre operators who fear that people won’t bother going to the movies if they know a film will soon be available on disc. Now, Paramount has struck a deal with two US movie chains to shorten dramatically the release window. The deal involves two minor horror movies, which will be released in hundreds or possibly thousands of theatres. As audience figures drop, the number of theatres showing a movie declines. Paramount and the cinema chains have agreed that when fewer than 300 theatres are showing the movies, they will move onto DVD – which could occur some 17 days later. The movie studios hope that by reducing the release window, it will also lessen the risk of piracy, as pirates will have less time to sell their wares before the official version reaches the market. Paramount’s move is interesting, although it won’t have much of an impact on DVD sales until we see blockbuster movies being released just a couple of weeks after their theatrical run. AUGUST 2015 GET CONNECTED
FROM THE BENCH
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADD-ONS ALAN BENNETT VENTURES OUT FROM HIS WORKSTATION THIS MONTH TO OFFER US HIS THOUGHTS ON SELLING ACCESSORIES – AND THE SALES POTENTIAL FOR OUTSIDE SERVICE STAFF
our trade there are more accessories available than ever before, and the profit margins they carry are generally greater than those of larger products in terms of percentage. The glow of new ownership, whether it be a house, car, or TV, burns brightly but briefly, so strike while the iron is hot – at or soon after the time of sale...
IN THE SHOP
The major home-entertainment product for readers of this magazine is TV, and the sale of one can create many diverse opportunities for the profitable addition of accessories. The three most popular of these are stands, wall-mounts and sound bars and bases. There are many others - indoor aerials, cables and headphones prominent amongst them - and the customer is most amenable to buying them at the outset, when enthusiasm is at its peak. It is likely that the new screen will be bigger than the one it replaces, so a new stand or maybe cabinet is required right at the start. See that it goes out of the door with the TV itself. Sales of stands over 1m wide are rising steeply at present. Likewise with wall mounting brackets: many types are available, for instance speaker-bearing, swivelling and corner-mounting ones. A convincing sales technique for sound bars is to switch between the TV’s internal loudspeakers and an external speaker system, the bigger and more comprehensive the better. For this a wellchosen movie, rock concert or similar is the best programme source, coming from a Bluray player. For many prospective buyers the difference sells itself, even with the most modest and relatively inexpensive sound bar or -base. Smaller add-ons are not difficult to sell. In good signal areas where there is no existing aerial an indoor type is easily added to the package. Cables and cablemanagement items, adaptors, splitters and the like may also be required. Find out! Talk, too, about headphones and perhaps universal remote controls for use with (e.g.) audio equipment which Sky and similar zappers cannot handle. If you sell cameras 26
GET CONNECTED AUGUST 2015
and camcorders a spare battery, maybe, and a large-capacity memory card may well appeal – if my customers and family are typical most photos these days don’t ever get beyond the camera, and movies especially gobble up lots of memory. Point this out in the shop.
Top accessories: Sound bars... ...and TV stands
SALESMEN ON WHEELS
Those who do field work, even if it’s only delivery and installation, have many extra opportunities to maximise the retailer’s bottom line by selling accessories and services right there in the customer’s home. Much depends on their personalities and abilities in this sphere – a brilliant aerial rigger or expert wall-mounter may not be an ace seller! But sometimes a technician has better credibility with the customer than a salesperson, and with perhaps some sales training and incentive by way of commission or bonus there is good business to be done in the Jones’s living room. Is it a noisy, multifunctional area? If so, how about one or more headphone sets, maybe the noise-cancelling type? Has the new TV a fuzzy playout picture from a standard DVD player? Time, perhaps, to replace it with a Blu-ray deck which will not only play the old discs but crispen up their pictures by upscaling. In a dedicated TV/cinema room an upgrade to Dolby Atmos sound may be a good idea for an
Whether you provide on-site services yourself or use/refer to a contractor, a new sale provides lots of potential for provision of in-home services. The simplest of these are delivery, installation and fixing of wall mounts of course. An expert service of WiFi setup goes well, I find, and there can be good profits in the more specialised areas of aerial and dish rigging, multi-room wiring and home cinema installation, modest though the latter may be in some cases. For customers updating to multiple satellite boxes we have often fitted downlead stackers (especially in flats), new dishes or quad/octo LNBs. Some people are very fussy about the external appearance of their homes. Here, and for those with listed buildings or who live in conservation areas, we offer ‘discreet’ dish and aerial fixing services: in almost every case the device and its cable can be made invisible or unobtrusive, but not for £80! Any kind of in-home and specialist service, if well sold and managed, creates much more profit (and job satisfaction?) than selling TV and audio gear, not being subject to the frustrating constraints of the retailing arena.
enthusiastic viewer. For unreliable Freeview reception on indoor aerials or dodgy outside ones Mr. Jones can be offered the expert services of an in-house or contracted aerial expert. Things can be done about untidy internal or external wiring, flaky Wi-Fi communication, irritating mains-borne interference and others which come to light on a home visit; most of them are more financially rewarding than selling a TV set.
The sale of a TV or audio box presents a great opportunity to sell up once the main business has been done, and a skilful, knowledgeable and enthusiastic salesperson can do more in this realm than any website or supermarket. Use your talents to the full to exploit this fruitful aspect of our retailing business.
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Published on Aug 7, 2015
INSIDE: 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 12 Cover Story 14 Town & Apartment Living Creating a functional, un-clut...