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NOV/DEC 2015

THE MAGAZINE OF THE ELEC TRICAL GOODS INDUS TRY

THE KITCHEN STUDIO Having the vision

CUSTOM INSTALL Multi-room Audio and Home Cinema

INDUSTRY MOVERS A look back at 2015 and forward into 2016: GC reports the views of some of the ‘movers’ in our industry

GUEST COLUMN Dan Thornton, head of solution development at Hughes Europe

GEORGE COLE GETS CONNECTED Freeview going full HD ahead Visit gcmagazine.co.uk for the latest


CONTENTS

INSIDE... 04 06 16 18 17

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The Word In and around the industry

The Product Gallery Custom Install The connected home: Multi-room Audio and Home Cinema

The Kitchen Studio What influences consumers’ perceptions of the dream kitchen?

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Editorial Comment

Industry Movers The Future is in Your Hands… The electrical industry’s ‘movers’ reflect on the progress made during 2015 and outline their plans for 2016

George Cole Gets Connected What’s behind Freeview’s migration to HD?

From the Bench Alan Bennett tells of a couple of Scrooge-like customers he encountered

Guest Column Dan Thornton, head of solution development, Hughes Europe, discusses how to keep shoppers coming through the door in the era of ‘Bring Your Own Content’ NOV/DEC 2015 GET CONNECTED

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EDITORIAL COMMENT

COMMENT

“YOU SAY TOMATO...” T

he UK and the USA This, though, is not the reason don’t always agree for Asda’s move, according on language, popular to President and CEO Andy culture and business Clark, who said: “The ”...customers have practice, but we’re decision to step away told us loud and clear now resigned to the from Black Friday is not that they don’t want to relentless bulldozer of about the event itself... be held hostage to a American culture, with but this year customers day or two of sales.” its unerring instinct for have told us loud and identifying and exploiting clear that they don’t want the lowest common to be held hostage to a day denominator, forcing us or two of sales.” eventually to follow suit. Social media comments So it’s interesting to see that the rise of collected by the Coventry Telegraph following US import Black Friday may be faltering. Asda’s announcement bear this out: “An While UK retailers were being exhorted to unwelcome import from the US encouraging prepare for a frenetic 24 hours on November greed;” “I hope the other retailers follow suit;” 27th that could collectively achieve sales of “It’s probably not a bad call, as Black Friday £1 billion for them, Asda, owned by US retail has become a joke, and undermines the behemoth Wal-Mart and instrumental in rest of the festive trade;” “Last year was an the introduction of Black Friday to Britain, embarrassment. The whole thing should be announced that it would “step back from dropped everywhere!” this year’s Black Friday sales due to shopper There is also the danger that Black Friday fatigue setting in around flash sales on bigon the high street will simply drive more ticket, non-essential items at Christmas.” people to join the massive migration to We did see some unseemly – some said online shopping. “If you don’t fancy being “disgraceful” – behaviour last year from UK assaulted over a flat-screen TV,” said the shoppers whose avidity for a bargain made Coventry Telegraph, “maybe you are best them resort to fist fighting on the shop floor. sticking to surfing Amazon in the safety of Footfall and sales gained at the expense your bed.” of public order are not good high street Humour aside, it does make a lot of sense business, and no retailer wants his premises to spread the festive discount season, to be the venue for this kind of violent greed. relieving the pressure on already wafer-thin margins and ensuring your online offering is attractive and convenient. Amazon doesn’t have to be the default online retail destination. Meanwhile, even the US event is under pressure. A Blomberg headline says: “Black Friday’s Losing Its Mojo and Retailers Might Be Relieved.” The article goes on to say: “This could actually be good news for merchants, which can boost profits by cutting back on the rock-bottom discounts Black Friday has come to demand.” Like it or not, many retailers will feel compelled to participate simply because the competition is doing it. It remains to be seen whether what they sell will make them any profit. Let’s call the whole thing off?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 4

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THE VERY LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS

SHOP PRICES DROP 1.8% IN OCTOBER

O

OCTOBER SALES SLOW AS CONSUMERS HOLD OUT FOR BLACK FRIDAY

ctober marked the 30th month of shop price deflation and the trend is likely to continue, according to the British Retail Consortium. Prices fell 1.8%, with both non-food and food products registering declines. Non-food dropped to 2.7% from 2.9% in September and food prices fell to 0.4% from 0.5%. “Levels of retail spend are going to be hard to predict over the next few weeks but we can anticipate strong media campaigns and probably more promotional activity, so all round it’s good news for shoppers," commented Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight at Nielsen.

Retail sales slowed in October in what was thought to have been a standoff by consumers anticipating deeper discounts during November’s Black Friday sales.

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GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2015

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Consumer confidence declined again in October as concerns about the general economic situation continued to shape public attitudes. GfK’s UK Consumer Confidence Index decreased one point to 2, with three of the five measures used to calculate the outcome falling. While the index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months increased by three points to 4, the measure for the general economic situation of the country during the same period fell two points to -5 and expectations for the next 12 months decreased two points to -4, six points lower than at this time last year. The appetite for major purchases tumbled seven points to 7.

SHOP VACANCY REMAINS AT 12.9% IN OCTOBER

S

ales decreased 0.2% on a like-for-like basis from October 2014, although on a total basis they increased 0.9% against a 1.4% rise in the same month last year. Total growth was below the 3-month average of 1.8% and the 12-month average of 1.9%. Online sales of non-food products grew 9.2% against a 15.4% increase in October last year, but the online penetration rate was recorded at 19.1%, up from 18.4% in October 2014 with household appliances amongst the categories reaching their highest penetration rates in at least eight months. Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said October was a “somewhat disappointing” month overall for retailers. “A number of categories which we’d typically expect to be popular on Black Friday saw a slowdown in October, suggesting that some shoppers may be holding out in the hope of some great deals at the end of November,” she commented.

UK CONSUMER CONFIDENCE FALLS AGAIN

© Ben Salter

RETAIL PARKS CONTINUE TO OUTPERFORM OTHER SHOPPING DESTINATIONS

R

etail footfall during October was 0.2% lower than a year ago and unchanged from the decline in September. According to BRC/Springboard figures, footfall in retail parks increased 2.9% year on year, below September's high of 4.0%, while high streets and shopping centres reported declines of 1.0% and 1.3% respectively. Overall footfall was above the three-month average of -0.6%.

B

ritain’s shop vacancies remained at 12.9% in October which, according to the Local Data Company, is the lowest level since April 2010. The town vacancy rate fell by 0.1% to 11.0% compared to the previous month, while the vacancy rate for shopping centres dropped 0.2% to 14.3%. The overall shopping centre vacancy rate also declined compared to October last year, with a 1.2% fall in the last 12 months. LDC said retail parks have seen a considerable drop in vacant units, down 2.0% compared to last year (8.2% vs. 6.2%). “Positive news and stability is what we are seeing in the national vacancy rate,” said LDC’s Matthew Hopkinson.


THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS >> GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK

INDUSTRY NEWS

RECORD NUMBERS ATTEND HUGHES HOME TECH SHOW

A

record number of visitors attended the 2015 Hughes Home Tech show, which took place at the Norfolk Showground over a 2.5-day period in October. The event is now in its 23rd year and is claimed to be the largest consumerfocused electronics show outside of London. In excess of 13,000 people visited the show, and sales and rentals were 20% higher than in 2014, according to the retailer. Hughes’ Mark Ferdani said: “This year there were a lot more demonstrations of items, which gave people the chance to see them in action and try for themselves – everything from juicers to vacuum cleaners. It all added a bit of theatre to the event. I am sure it was also a big part of why sales and rentals were so much higher this year. “Our own Smart Home stand was particularly busy as people were keen to learn how to improve the connectivity of devices in their own homes, with many booking a free visit from one of our experts.” The event also incorporated a cooking theatre with demonstrations from top chefs including Norfolk’s Richard Bainbridge. He was joined by renowned French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

JOHN LEWIS PLANS CHELTENHAM STORE

J

ohn Lewis has announced plans to open a new store in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 2017. The proposal will transform the town’s Beechwood shopping centre into a John Lewis department store, with a combined investment of over £30 million from the retailer, investment firm BlackRock and Cheltenham Borough Council creating up to 250 jobs and offering in excess of 115,000 sq ft of selling space across two floors. The store will showcase fashion, home and consumer electronics concepts in a contemporary setting.

MAJOR BRANDS SUPPORT EXCLUSIVELY ELECTRICAL 2016

E SMEG EXPANDS ROLLOUT OF SHOP-IN-SHOP FORMAT

T

he flagship Fenwick department store in Newcastle-upon-Tyne is the latest outlet to install Smeg’s shop-in-shop concept, which is aimed at supporting independent electrical retailers with a bespoke package of products and displays tailored to fit their individual store’s demographic and catchment. Fenwick joins Cooks and Company in Newark, Avensys in Gatwick, Purewell Electrical in Christchurch,

Borsch Electric in Birmingham and Hanson Electrical in Hull in displaying products in customised SmegZones which are designed as a hub for the Italian brand’s lines incorporating builtin and freestanding appliances. Each display is finished with washed oak flooring and illuminated branding. To support Smegzone installations, margin, marketing and training packages are tailored to each store’s individual needs.

xclusively show organiser Brooke House Exhibitions has confirmed that key electrical brands including KitchenAid, Jura, Meyer, Magimix, Bugatti and Blendtec (EPE International), Groupe SEB, Witt, Salter and Beldray (Ultimate Products), Dualit, Vitamix, Tower and Smart Worldwide will be returning to exhibit at Exclusively Electrical for the second show. Exclusively Electrical debuted this year and is the only trade show dedicated to specialist and general retailers selling small domestic and kitchen appliances. “We are also delighted to be able to add Sage Appliances to our second year line-up for Exclusively Electrical,” said show director Simon Boyd. “Sage has a comprehensive SKA offer covering top-quality appliances for juicing, blending, food prep and tea and coffee making. Their range, endorsed by Heston

Blumenthal, is a great addition to the show, which will help to attract more SDA/SKA retail specialists.” Industry support for Exclusively Electrical’s long-running sister show Exclusively Housewares continues to be high, the organisers said, with major homeware brands including Addis, Charles Bentley, Bodum, Brabantia, Denby, Eddingtons, Joseph Joseph, Le Creuset, Rayware, Pyrex, Robert Welch and T&G, amongst many others, already signed up for the 2016 event. “All our stands in both shows have confirmed bookings or potential names against them and we’re very pleased that both shows have attracted major brands for 2016 – the Exclusively outlook is very positive,” said Boyd. The shows will run on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th June 2016 at the Business Design Centre, London. NOV/DEC 2015 GET CONNECTED

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HUGHES ELECTRICAL CHOOSES T21UK TO DELIVER ONLINE TRAINING PLATFORM

COUNTDOWN TO RADIO’S DIGITAL FUTURE BEGINS ED Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, told a conference of over 200 broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and industry stakeholders in London during November that the future of UK radio is digital and the countdown to three major landmarks has started. The conference, entitled Radio’s Digital Countdown, marked the start of the countdown to important developments for digital radio, in content coverage and cars in the next year, with the launch of the second national commercial digital radio multiplex Sound Digital in the next 6 months; the completion of the planned expansion of national and local DAB coverage in the next 12 months, and the expected completion of the provision of digital radio in over 90% of new cars, also within 12 months. Speaking at the event, Vaizey said he is confident that the move to digital will be accelerated by the launch of new digital stations, the expansion of DAB coverage towards FM levels and the introduction of DAB radios into new cars – all of which have seen considerable progress. He also described the launch of Sound Digital in early 2016 as “gamechanging.”

Delegates at the conference heard more about Sound Digital from UTV Media, Bauer Media and Arqiva, the consortium behind the new national multiplex, which will deliver the UK’s biggest ever expansion in national radio stations with at least 15 national digital radio services commencing. At that time, there will be over 40 stations available across the UK on DAB covering various musical genres, news, sport and business, including new national spoken word radio stations to compete with the BBC. Vaizey announced that nearly three quarters of all new cars sold this September had DAB digital radios fitted as standard, compared with 57% last September, and he confirmed good progress on the Government, BBC and commercial radio’s plans to build a further 182 local DAB transmitters to meet the Government’s coverage criteria of local FM equivalence. "There’s no doubt that the future of radio is digital,” he said. “More than 30 million of us are tuning in every week, with digital listening hours increasing every year. Today’s conference has highlighted the great progress that's been made across the 3 Cs of digital radio - content, coverage and cars offering listeners more choice than ever before.”

FREESAT ADDS 25,000 NEW HOMES THIS YEAR S

ubscription-free satellite TV service Freesat has maintained its 2015 momentum with the addition of 6,000 new TV homes in the three months to the end of September. 25,000 new households have taken up the service so far in 2015. Freesat is now the preferred TV service for 1.9 million households and is watched by more than four million viewers each week. Interest in the broadcaster’s Freetime service also remained strong during the quarter, with 60% year-on-year growth.

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GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2015

H

ughes Electrical has partnered with T21UK Training and Development to build a new online training platform which is scheduled to launch early 2016. The platform will provide new and updated training content and essential information for 800 staff across Hughes’ 43 UK stores and its service centres and subsidiaries. T21 trainers will also be tasked with designing new sales training courses for shop floor staff and working with Hughes to update and modify the company’s own in-house training material. Hughes has for many years offered its staff focused training and development to Investors in People Gold standard, but Nick Heffer, HR Director of the business, said the

company needs a “more exciting and modern approach” that gives staff better access and motivation to engage. Part of the plan is to support Hughes’ online courses with specially produced training films scripted to highlight essential learning within the content. T21 recently developed online training incorporating the support of training films for industry body retra. Paul Laville, Managing Director of T21UK, said these have “gone down an absolute storm” amongst trainees. “They’re part of a package, and when you get that package right – the content, the media mix and the delivery platform itself – then each component becomes doubly effective,” he added.

Visit for the stories behind the news...  DTG publishes new guidelines for

Freeview & YouView aerial system installers

 €2.1 million project aims to map

out effective recovery of raw materials from electrical products

 Study reveals only 19% of total annual revenue comes

from digital sales channels

 Celebrate being truly independent, says KBBG’s Bill Miller  Darklight high impact 4K UHD film joins Philips

Ambilight campaign

 Gorenje partners DIY SOS for Veteran special  Britannia’s Montana fridge freezer appears on new

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THE LATEST ELECTRICAL GOODS INDUSTRY NEWS >> GCMAGAZINE.CO.UK

GROW YOUR BUSINESS AND MARGINS IN 2016 BIG RED SALES IS THE RIGHT CHOICE TO HELP YOU

With the industry facing challenging times, you need to protect and expand your business, so it is vital to make the right choice when it comes to which brands you stock. Here at Big Red Sales we represent only strong and dynamic brands, which customers will want to buy. We also ensure that it is easy for you to stock them and sell them through. Our 11-strong, highly experienced, national sales team means you only have to deal with one person for all of our quality brands. And that saves you time and money.

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ROYAL HONOUR FOR GLEN DIMPLEX’S NAUGHTON

I

rish entrepreneur Martin Naughton, President and founder of the Glen Dimplex Group, has been awarded an honorary knighthood in recognition of his services to art, philanthropic causes and the Northern Ireland economy. The honour was presented to him by HRH the Prince of Wales. Dundalk-born Sir Martin, KBE (pictured right), founded Glen Electric in Northern Ireland and began trading as a manufacturer of oil-filled radiators in 1973. Less than five years later the organisation embarked upon rapid expansion with the acquisition of Dimplex, the UK’s market leader in electric heating, thus creating the Glen Dimplex Group. The Glen Dimplex Group is now the world's largest manufacturer of electrical heating and also holds significant global market positions in domestic appliances, cooling and ventilation. It is Ireland’s largest privately-owned manufacturing business and employs over 8,500 people worldwide with an annual turnover in excess of €1.5 billion.

EPE GROUP ROLLS OUT PEAK SEASON OFFERS

S

mall appliances distributor EPE Group is running offers every week until the end of December to focus its customers on the SDA market, which is a major gifting category in the runup to Christmas. The company has launched a package of offers so retailers can “compete with the big boys” and has £300,000 worth of stock allocated for the key selling season.

MIELE’S GRANTHAM APPOINTED CHAIRMAN OF AMDEA

M

iele GB Managing Director Simon Grantham has been elected Chairman of the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA). He assumed leadership of the association as the 2-year term of outgoing Chairman Maurizio Pettorino, Managing Director, UK & Eire, Whirlpool-Indesit, drew to a close.

HRH THE DUKE OF KENT SHOWS SUPPORT FOR BRITISH MANUFACTURING

H

is Royal Highness The Duke of Kent officially opened the new washing machine production line at County Durham-based manufacturer Ebac. The line will produce the only Britishmade washing machines and has been developed with support from a £1m Regional Growth Fund grant from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and a £6m injection from the company’s own funds. Ebac aims to secure and double its 200-strong workforce as it expands its product range, having previously rescued the Norfrost domestic chest freezer brand from administration and restored the UK-based manufacture of that particular product group.

 SHORTCUTS Hotpoint is running a ‘Love Cooking’ campaign to promote its main cooking technologies until 9th December 2015 and has partnered with premium kitchenware brand Joseph Joseph to offer consumers a free 6-piece Elevate™ Knife Carousel Set, worth £85, when purchasing selected Hotpoint cooking and cooling appliances.

Range cooker brand Leisure has launched a seasonal cash-back promotion to drive sales during the festive buying period. The incentive runs until the 31st December 2015 with participating retailers and offers up to £200 cash back across the brand’s 90cm, 100cm and 110cm range cookers in a selection of colours and fuel types. LG has commenced a multiple-platform marketing campaign to promote the benefits of its range of OLED TVs in the run-up to Christmas. The £10 million campaign will run across TV, print, digital and outdoor advertising mediums and includes an experiential roadshow taking place in key shopping destinations throughout the UK.

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GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2015

Poole-based Linsar has introduced a new look for its packaging to accompany recently introduced POS, advertising and website designs featuring conversational-style slogans such as “Hey Good Looking”, as recently seen in trade press advertising. The new packaging is designed in block colours to provide a more dramatic in-store presence. Hoover has launched its biggest marketing campaign in over 20 years to support its Wizard range of Wi-Fi enabled kitchen appliances. The multi-channel campaign comprises national and consumer lifestyle press and digital, trade and outdoor advertising with ads appearing on London buses.


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INDUSTRY NEWS

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Sony reported second-quarter net income of ¥33.6 billion, compared to a loss of ¥136.0 billion in the same period last year. Sales fell 0.5% to ¥1,892.7 billion, mainly due to declines in

of currency, sales increased almost 25%. Operating profit fell from $335 million to $329 million.

Sky reported a strong start to the year with revenues up 6% to £2.8 billion for the three months ended 30th September and operating profit up 10% to £375 million. The company added over 130,000

Financial Services revenue and Mobile

Sharp posted a net loss of ¥49.6

Communications sales. Game & Network

billion on sales of ¥661.3 billion for its

the previous year. Revenue in the UK

Services sales increased, reflecting a

second quarter ended 30th September 2015. The company attributed the loss

and Ireland grew 7% to £2 billion, which

rise in PlayStation®4 software sales. An operating income of ¥88.0 billion was

to falling profits in its Display Devices

recorded, compared to an operating loss

business and structural reforms. In May

of ¥85.6 billion in the same quarter of the

this year, Sharp announced a ¥200 billion

previous fiscal year.

bank bailout, the second major rescue

Net sales at

Amazon increased

23% to $25.4 billion in the third quarter ended 30 September 2015 against $20.6 billion in the same period last year. Net income reached $79 million compared with net loss of $437 million in Q3 2014. This is the second consecutive quarter of growth for the business. Amazon’s Web Services division (AWS) is proving to be a star performer. Operating profit at the division grew to $521 million, closing in on the $528 million recorded by the North American retail business. Sales at AWS increased to $2.1 billion. Amazon said it expects a record holiday season.

Whirlpool reported Q3 net

for the company in three years, and said it would enter into further restructuring that would include cutting 10% of its global workforce. In the six months from April to September, an operating loss of ¥25.1 billion and a net loss of ¥83.6 billion were recorded. Sales for the half year fell 3.6% to ¥1,279.6 billion.

Electrolux Group reported

new customers in the quarter, up 7% on

drove a 20% increase in profit to £358 million. Customer growth in the region was 77,000, up over 50% year on year and the highest rate of Q1 customer growth for four years.

Argos and Homebase parent Home Retail Group has warned that full-year underlying profit is expected to fall below market expectations due to a “challenging” first half at Argos and investment in the retailer’s new Fast Track delivery service. The Group’s full-year benchmark profit

sales up 8.7% to SEK 31.28 billion in the

before tax is predicted to be under £115

third quarter of 2015 and an income of

million. First-half sales at Argos fell 1.5%

SEK 1.014 billion, up from SEK 933 million

to £1.74 billion, with like-for-likes down

in the same period last year. Operating

3.4%, principally driven by electricals as a

income rose to SEK 1.5 billion from SEK 1.4

result of declines in TVs, tablets and white

billion. Demand for appliances in Western

goods. Operating profit reduced by 47% to

Europe increased 5%, but was offset by a

£6.4 million.

fall in growth in Eastern Europe. Western

Overall Group sales fell 2% to £2.6

earnings of $235 million compared to $230

Europe has seen positive growth for seven

billion, but underlying profit before

million for the same prior-year period.

consecutive quarters. The Group expects

tax increased 10% to £34.1 million –

Net sales increased 9% to achieve a third-

the total European market to grow by

Homebase rose £6.5 million, while Argos

quarter record of $5.3 billion against Q3

1%–2% in 2015.

fell £5.6 million.

Moves

Donald Shepherd

12

2014’s $4.8 billion. Excluding the impact

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Beko has appointed Donald Shepherd to the role of Marketing Director, responsible for the company’s five brands: Beko, Grundig, Leisure, Blomberg and Flavel.

GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2015

Distributors, distributor of Haier Europe has AB Distributors strengthened its De Dietrich and NordMende organisational structure with appliances, has appointed the appointment of Vincent Lucie Findlay to the role of Rotger as General Manager Area Sales for the Northern and Manager – Eastern European regions, London and Vincent Rotger with responsibility for P&L South East management of subsidiaries territory. Findlay brings more than in the UK & Ireland, Germany, Benelux 7 years’ experience in and Poland and business development the consumer lighting in other Eastern European countries in Lucie Findlay industry to her new role. which Haier is active.


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SCHOOLGIRL WINS HUGHES TWO BEARS COMPETITION E

lla Chidlow from Homefield Primary School in Bradwell, near Great Yarmouth, won a competition to name the two bears sited on top of the new Hughes Electrical store in Great Yarmouth. The winning names she chose were Nelson, after Lord Nelson, who was given freedom of the town, and Anna, after Black Beauty author Anna Sewell, who was born in Great Yarmouth. The competition also involved colouring in a drawing of the two bears, and due to Ella’s creative talents, her school now has a tablet computer for every classroom. The new Hughes outlet is built on the site of the former Two Bears hotel. In acknowledgment of the

heritage associated with the building, part of the plan was to remove the two statues that had been on the original construction for over 90 years, fully restore them and position them on top of the new 5,500 sq ft Hughes Plus electrical outlet. Ella’s efforts won the school a £2,500 voucher to spend in the store. Head teacher Ryan Freeman chose ten iPad tablets and cases and two CD radio players. The schoolgirl also received an iPad and case. The prizes were presented to Mr Freeman and Ella by Hughes Electrical managing director Robert Hughes and Darren Clements, manager of the new Great Yarmouth store.

 SHORTCUTS Which? has named Ruark Audio the ‘Best Overall Radio Brand’ as part of its member survey to find the Best Tech Brands of 2015. Floorcare manufacturer Vax received the Contact Centre of the Year award (over 50 seats) at the Midlands Contact Centre Forum’s annual awards event. It acknowledges Vax’s success in transforming its contact centre over the past 12 months and providing bestin-class service for customers. Adrian Gillman, Managing Director of distributor D.A.D, received the Sirius Buying Group award for Outstanding Contribution to the Group and Industry at the Sirius 2015 Awards. Hotpoint has received a Designer Kitchen & Bathroom Award in the Innovation in Sustainability category for its Ultima S Line washing machine. The A+++-40% energy rated appliance features Hotpoint’s most advanced anti-stain system, which can remove in excess of 100 stain types at 20˚C.

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DUALIT FINDS ITS OLDEST WORKING TOASTER

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ualit has found its oldest working toaster after launching an international competition in celebration of the company’s 70th Anniversary. The winning model was hand built in the UK in 1973 by Dualit’s factory foreman at the time and is owned by the Ruddick family from Hampshire.

Whirlpool received a gold award at the Designer Kitchen & Bathroom Awards in the category of Innovation in Technology for its Supreme Care washing machines, which use the brand’s Zen Technology™ and new induction motor to reduce the average noise level during spinning to just 67 dB(A). Beko parent Arçelik Group has been awarded an AA rating in the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) Global Sustainability Index Series. The company was also rated Green (G) in MSCI’s ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) Impact Monitor. Pulse-Eight, the UK based manufacturer of state-of-the-art video/audio control and distribution systems, has appointed The MultiRoom Company as exclusive UK distributor for the custom installation channel. John Lewis has announced it will open shop-in-shops within seven branches of The Netherlands’ leading department store de Bijenkorf. The first three shop-in-shop departments will open in spring 2016 at de Bijenkorf’s flagship stores in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, with further openings in Eindhoven and Utrecht by the end of next year and in Amstelveen and Maastricht in 2017.

UK STUDENT WINS ELECTROLUX DESIGN LAB 2015

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ordan Lee Martin, a UK student from the University of Huddersfield, won the Electrolux Design Lab 2015 with a futuristic concept that encourages children to have a healthy relationship with food. ‘Bloom’ allows children to grow their own produce using steam and was selected after presentations from six finalists to a jury at an awards gala in Helsinki, Finland. The competition attracted over 1,500 entries.


THE PRODUCT GALLERY

gcmagazine.co.uk

BAUMATIC LAUNCHES NEW COOKER HOOD COLLECTION Baumatic has launched a collection of chimney and wall-mounted hoods with touch controls throughout the range. All are A-rated for energy and incorporate LED lighting and perimeter extraction. The 90cm stainless steel BECW900SS chimney hood (pictured) sports an angular design that complements Baumatic’s Slim Line, MegaChef and Premium Line appliance ranges. j

01189 311 110 | www.baumatic.co.uk

HAIER EXPANDS UK LAUNDRY LINE Haier has brought its newest laundry products to the UK market with the launch of the 10kg HW100-1479N washing machine and 8kg HD80-A82 heat pump tumble dryer. Both products incorporate the brand’s antibacterial treatment (ABT®). The tumble dryer (pictured) has an A++ energy rating and 11 programmes including a dedicated wool cycle. j

www.haier.com/uk

MIND THE GAP…

HOTPOINT 3IN1 VAC&STEAM

Fisher & Paykel’s new Slide-in fridge freezers are designed for easy installation into 900mm x 1800mm cabinetry with gaps of just 4mm creating a consistent line throughout the kitchen. The 900mm-wide Frenchdoor appliances, CA 24293 and CA 24299 (with ice & water dispenser), are available in a stainless steel finish. CA 24293 also accommodates a custom finish with matching cabinetry.

Hotpoint’s new 3in1 Vac&Steam cleans multiple surfaces and vacuums up liquid spills in seconds. The brush has rotating bristles for enhanced dust pickup and three steam levels allow users to adjust the output to suit their needs. The appliance uses high-pressure dry steam so hard surfaces dry in just one minute.

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08000 886 601 www.fisherpaykel.com/UK

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www.hotpoint.co.uk 03448 240 055


THE PRODUCT GALLERY

REVAMPED HDMI CABLE RANGES FROM PEERLESS-AV Peerless-AV has introduced new versions of its Delta Professional and Slimline HDMI cables to address the connectivity requirements of custom installers and integrators for 4K signal integrity along longer cable lengths and lower profile designs for discreet space-saving applications. j

www.peerless-av.com | sales@peerless-av.co.uk | 01923 200 100

LINSAR SOUNDBASE Linsar’s Soundbase 10 has 2 x 20W speakers and a 40W subwoofer and features Music, Movie and News sound effects. The remote controlled unit offers USB charging and Bluetooth connectivity along with Aux, Audio, Optical and Coaxial connections. j

www.linsar.com

BANG & OLUFSEN BEOLAB 90: THE FUTURE OF SOUND… The BeoLab 90 loudspeaker incorporates Bang & Olufsen’s new Active Room Compensation technology, which measures the acoustic effects of its surroundings to stage the best sound. It also features Beam Width Control, which lets users change the width of the sound beam to suit different listening situations. RRP: £26,995 per unit. j

www.bang-olufsen.com

PHILIPS IZZY MULTI-ROOM SPEAKER The Philips Izzy BM5 speaker from Gibson Innovations combines easy connection of Bluetooth with the networking and audio quality of Wi-Fi. Users simply connect to one speaker via Bluetooth and Izzylink does the rest – no Wi-Fi router connection or passwords required. It automatically finds and connects to all Izzy products in the home, so users can easily stream from room to room. j

www.philips.co.uk/c-m-so/multiroom-systems

LG BEGINS ROLLOUT OF WATCH URBANE 2ND EDITION IN KEY MARKETS LG’s Watch Urbane 2nd Edition, the first Android Wear smartwatch to feature cellular connectivity, is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones and allows users to answer calls and check messages without the assistance of a tethered smartphone. It has a classic timepiece design with 348ppi P-OLED display and its high-capacity 570mAH battery and Power Saving Mode enables it to last throughout the day with power to spare. j

www.lg.com/UK/mobile-phones NOV/DEC 2015 GET CONNECTED

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CUSTOM INSTALL

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ulti-room audio, home cinema, the integrated home office, home security, heating control, lighting control, smart home appliances… Home automation is a complex business, yet consumers want to control everything simply and with as little fuss as possible. One thing is certain: the home automation market is set to increase significantly over the coming years, and retailers will play a key role in bringing the market into the mainstream. “The connected home has become a reality for most people. It is no longer just for the rich and famous,”

offered by systems that sit in the fabric of the home and interact with other technologies.”

TRAINING

Alltrade managing director Steve Simper believes the good news for retailers considering a move into home automation is that many products are getting easier to install. There is also lots of support available. Stuart Tickle recommends that, to start, retailers should speak with a company such as AWE – “although any trusted experts known for delivering good honest advice will do,” he says. CEDIA also provides

MULTI-ROOM AUDIO AND HOME CINEMA says Matt Nimmons, operations director at CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association). “Homeowners are upscaling their properties to benefit from the latest smart home systems, and they need someone to install these for them. Savvy electrical retailers could benefit from this groundswell of business by getting involved in the design and installation of such smart home systems.”

AS MORE AND MORE TECHNOLOGY ENTERS OUR HOMES THE DEMAND FOR SIMPLICITY INCREASES. IT’S A PARADOX THAT CAN PROVE CHALLENGING FOR RETAILERS. GEORGE COLE REPORTS

DEVELOPING MARKET

Today’s solutions are becoming ever more affordable, and with high speed broadband rolling out across the UK and HD, 3D and 4K technology building demand among consumers, Nimmons believes there are significant opportunities to be taken. “Being able to offer design and installation services will build

A West London installation carried out by Philharmonic

business for retailers, and customers will benefit from their local contact having a deeper understanding of the available options. Another advantage of getting into this market is being able to engage with your client on a unique tailor-made project, which most likely will guarantee them as a customer for life, building brand loyalty and future business.” “Connected home, home automation, smart home, custom

“Install doesn’t have to mean pulling walls apart; it could be as simple as hanging a TV on a wall”

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install – yes, it can be a complex business, but the risks do not need to be high,” says Stuart Tickle, managing director for AWE. “The rewards are significant for those willing to invest some time, so it makes sense for the management of a business to investigate and establish the boundaries that are relevant to their potential customer base.” Paul Hilditch, Systemline product manager, notes that retailers need to step beyond the comfort zone of selling products that simply plug in and play. “They need to think outside the box and look at the opportunities

good support, such as education pathways for businesses to make the transition from purely retail into service-led companies. “Education is vital for anyone who is interested in moving into this industry,” says Matt Nimmons. “CEDIA has built up a team of knowledgeable instructors who deliver a range of training courses, both face-to-face and online. “It is important to keep abreast of the technological developments in this fast-moving industry, and time spent on proper education will pay dividends. CEDIA offers a comprehensive education programme, which includes courses specifically designed for new entrants to the market, including Introduction to Smart Home Technology and Introduction to Smart Home Wiring.” Manufacturers can also offer support. For example: LG’s new training app ‘LG Lounge’ is instantly accessible to all retail staff and has in-depth information on all company products.

MAKING A START

From a retailer’s point of view, the home automation market can look a little daunting, but the secret is not to run before you can walk, remarks Systemline’s Hilditch. “I have seen a lot of companies trying to do too much too soon. They get offered a home automation project that means they can sell lots of kit, but if you haven’t the skills and experience to deliver such a system, it can become a giant headache.”


DESIGNED TO THE ENJOYMENT OF MUSIC IN EVERYDAY LIFE – MUSICCAST

Yamaha’s new MusicCast audio system has been designed to revolutionise the enjoyment of music in everyday life. Although each individual component is a little masterpiece of sound and design in itself, they all reveal even more of their full multi-room potential when interacting with each other.

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he YSP-1600 is a high-quality soundbar equipped with the unique Yamaha Digital Sound Projector technology and delivers stylish design in combination with powerful home cinema sound. Alternatively, the powerful sound-deck SRT1500 can be placed right beneath the TV. Excellent choices to complement the multi-room entertainment system are the wireless network speaker WX-030 and the lifestyle Restio Mini ISX-80.

THE PERFECT START: MUSICCAST STARTER PACKAGES DUO AND TRIO

Yamaha provides attractive bundles that offer a perfect start in creating a quality multi-room system. Duo incorporates the ISX-80 and WX-030, which enable users to exploit the system’s bountiful streaming options and play the sources of the ISX-80 in another room, right from the start.

The starter bundle Trio comes with the soundbar YSP-1600 on top, thus integrating the home cinema experience perfectly into the MusicCast system. The YSP-1600 is just 6.5cm high but impresses in the living room with its captivating, precise and dynamic surround sound in Dolby Digital and DTS. Thanks to the patented Yamaha

Digital Sound Projector technology, the soundbar generates true surround sound with two upward-facing subwoofers and eight beam-speakers purposefully using sound reflections from the walls, floor and ceiling. HDMI 2.0 including HDCP 2.2 and 4k video compatibility ensure the best possible image display. The high-quality soundbar can receive audio signals either from connected sources, via the MusicCast network, via Bluetooth or even Airplay. As a strong base for the TV, the sound-deck SRT-1500 delivers double benefits: The TV sits safe and steady on the audio system, being only 8cm in height, and is plugged directly into the unit from a single cable. The SRT1500 provides impressive surround sound from a single compact audio component. On top of that, the compact sound-deck gives easy access to all sources in the MusicCast network and is able to stream music via Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay. The Restio Mini ISX-80 is a very versatile piece of equipment, but above all it offers visual and acoustic gain for every single room. The 30cm x 30cm all-metal design piece provides excellent stereo sound, a built-in radio tuner, a designer LED alarm clock and an AUX input for additional audio sources that cannot be connected via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The Restio Mini is equally flexible when it comes to

Find out more about MusicCast and visit our special site at: http://yamaha.com/musiccast For further information on Yamaha and MusicCast, please contact the team on 0844 811 1115 or email sales.support@gmx.yamaha.com

positioning – users may either place it on the metal pedestal supplied or wall-hang the system using its built-in mounting. The network speaker WX-030 can be placed and brought online just as simply and quickly. The compact MusicCast audio system is a handy addition. Measuring 24.3cm x 15.6cm x 11.5cm (WxHxD), it provides powerful, crystal-clear sound from a 4cm tweeter and a 9cm mid/bass speaker. Therefore, the WX-030 is perfectly suited for small rooms such as the bathroom or kitchen.

No matter how many MusicCast components are in the home, users need just a smartphone or tablet with iOS or Android to manage them all. The Yamaha MusicCast app provides around-the-clock direct access to all components of the multi-room system. Each household member can access MusicCast via their smartphone or tablet. Everyone can listen to their favourite music, the latest audio book or the radio programme at any given time. 

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CUSTOM INSTALL

able to incorporate the customer’s own mobile device into the demonstration to show the ease of use and enhanced functionality of the soundbar. “Multi-room is an interesting market,” says Chris Wray, product specialist at Yamaha’s AV Division.

Systemline E100 DAB/FM/Bluetooth music system with TV audio/auxiliary input

The key, says Hilditch, is to look at the products and services you currently offer, and build up from there. “If you’re selling Smart TVs and Blu-ray players, look at the delivery of the media. A lot of it is streamed these days, so helping your customer access this media in the most effective way could be a good start.” Another way into the home automation market for retailers is through control apps which allow users to control devices via a smartphone or tablet. “You might sell a customer a TV, Blu-ray player and audio system. Do they have any other home entertainment devices at home, such as Apple TV or a Sky box? They might need seven different remote control handsets to control everything and it gets confusing,” comments Hilditch. “An app can make it easy for them to push one button on a tablet which says ‘Sky’ and the TV is turned on to the correct channel, the Sky box is booted up and the audio system is good to go. The idea of home

automation is to make it easier to use technology without having to read a 100-page manual.”

“The idea of home automation is to make it easier to use technology without having to read a 100page manual”

DEMONSTRATION

A good demonstration of products can also help and LG believes this is a key part of the sales process. “LG urges retailers to have Wi-Fi in their stores so that products can easily be connected and customers can see how simple it is to get everything working together seamlessly and effortlessly. Also, content is vital to catching customers’ ears and eyes. Nothing will catch your attention more than hearing your favourite film or song playing out of the various devices in store. Once you have the customer’s attention and they can hear the quality of the product, you have a captive audience.” LG adds that in-store demonstration is important for educating the customer on products like its Music Flow wireless multiroom speaker system, with staff

“We launched MusicCast in 2003, which was ahead of its time. Back then, technology wasn’t as stable as it is today – Wi-Fi was a bit of a pain, for example, streaming music was a futuristic concept, and people didn’t own smartphones or tablets.” Yamaha’s new MusicCast has a greater offering for consumers as there are 23 products to choose from. “Instead of selecting a product and working around its limitations, now users can pick a product such as a soundbar or sound base for home theatre and also use it for multi-room,” explains Wray. “MusicCast offers many features for retailers to highlight. “In our experience, the retailers that succeed best are those that

diversify and offer services that online or mass-market retailers can’t offer. This means installs, events, and spectacular service. Install doesn’t have to mean pulling walls apart; it could be as simple as hanging a TV on a wall. Going one or two steps beyond the offering from online retailers can make a huge difference to your business.”

THE BASICS

Systemline’s Hilditch advises that before embarking on an install project, everyone involved with it needs to have complete confidence in what they are selling and what they are installing. “So, if someone wants to control different devices from an iPad, you should do the same thing in-store. The last thing you want to do is to learn how to use this stuff in someone’s home. Get the basics right and you can really prosper in this sector.” Commenting on in-store presentation of products, AWE’s Stuart Tickle points out that the Bath Store does not display a bath tub, sink, taps, flat pack cabinet, tiles, grout and pipe-work – it displays a bathroom, and the same should be the case for CE retailers displaying products in-store. He recommends a dedicated area at least showing a living room, but preferably with connected areas. “This can be IKEAstyle room sets, or why not convert an old office or store room? You are selling a solution and that is what should be displayed. We can give you the training, confidence and product glue to make your existing brands work in unison.”

REFERENCE-CLASS BIG-SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT Now available in breathtaking 75” and 85” screen sizes, Loewe Reference is truly a reference point for TV performance and design. Precision engineered in Germany using premium materials, the new Reference sports a beautifully crafted aluminium frame available in a range of different finishes. Loewe’s sophisticated Image+ processing delivers a stunningly realistic 4K Ultra HD picture, enhanced by a unique high-contrast, anti-reflective glass filter panel, with unrivalled sound courtesy of a fully integrated 120W eightspeaker soundbar and built-in Dolby/DTS surround sound processing. An onboard 1TB hard drive makes it easy to pause, record and share content, with connectivity options to suit every installation including wireless networking, Bluetooth audio, HDMI 2.0 and RS232. To find out more about Reference-class big-screen entertainment from Loewe, visit www.loewe.tv or send an email to enquiries@loewe-uk.com. Alternatively, contact our exclusive CI channel partner AWE Europe on: 01372 729995 or email sales@awe-europe.com.

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BRING THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE HOME

Simply add an LG MUSICflow soundbar to your network and link it with your LG MUSICflow speakers to enjoy a home cinema experience for you and the family. All of which is controlled by the intuitive LG MUSICflow Player app.

forum.lgmusicflow.com *Pan in Cinemas now

SMART HI FI AUDIO Wireless Multi-room


THE KITCHEN STUDIO

WHAT INFLUENCES CONSUMERS’ PERCEPTIONS OF THE DREAM KITCHEN AND HOW HAS THE VISION AND FEEL FOR THIS PRINCIPAL ROOM AND ITS PRACTICALITIES FOR EVERYDAY LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY CHANGED? GC LOOKS AT THE DOMINANT TRENDS

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hile the kitchen needs to offer the practicalities of a convenient workflow, satisfactory storage and the necessary domestic appliances to make life less demanding, the significance of this room as the nucleus of the home dictates that it should also be a welcoming, visually stimulating space. Whether it’s a classic country-style idyll or avant-garde milieu, for many consumers the kitchen projects a lifestyle statement and a reflection of their personality. And the importance of this room cannot be overstated – per square foot, it is said to be the most valuable space in the home, and for those selling their dwelling the style and form of the kitchen can make or break the deal. 22

GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2015

Unsurprisingly, the kitchen has also been identified as a source of angst for consumers and research has found that ‘kitchen envy’ is not an uncommon experience. According to a recent study conducted by Beko, 40% of Britons worry that their kitchen is not as impressive as those of their friends, and almost 20% of 26 to 30 year olds are envious of their friends’ kitchens and appliances. This phenomenon is heightened by TV programmes such Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It, in which Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer compete to convince homeowners to sell their abode or renovate it – the kitchen is often at the heart of the battleground – and Double Your House for

Half the Money, in which Sarah Beeny helps people achieve their property dreams, which frequently involves the construction of vast wraparound extensions incorporating aspirational open-plan kitchen and living areas, many of which offer that soughtafter connection between the indoors and outdoors. Outdoor areas that complement the style of the kitchen with access via sliding glass or bi-fold doors, or kitchens designed to complement outdoor areas to bring nature into the home, are a desirable proposition. Indeed, a recent survey by Anglian Home Improvements revealed that 58% of property owners want enhancements such as bi-fold doors and conservatories that improve the indoor/ outdoor flow to bring the outside in.

SETTING THE SCENE

Blurring the lines between the outside and inside can create an astonishing sense of space and tranquility, maximising natural light and bringing another dimension to the concept of open-plan living.


THE KITCHEN STUDIO

He notes that the central kitchen island dominated most design layouts, with a wet area separately located nearby and tall cabinetry sited against a back or side wall in which a bank of ovens was installed at eye level. “In this type of kitchen layout, cooling was also integrated behind the door, a trend Danny Lay, sales director, Caple which has led to a 12.6% year-on-year volume increase of integrated fridge freezers [Source: AMDEA - August 2015]. We also noted that almost every kitchen exhibited had created space for integrated wine cooling as well, which is good news for manufacturers like Baumatic that specialise in affordable wine cooling options.” There is no doubt that Shaker and shabby chic still have a religious following, and the classic Belfast sink and oil-fired range will always hold appeal for those wanting the archetypal country-style kitchen, but Jennifer Spragg, Senior Brand Manager at Whirlpool UK, maintains that consumers are looking to achieve a cohesive look in their kitchens and she, too, believes that more are opting for designs that incorporate concealed appliances or those that offer a unified profile.

“White glass is the preferred choice for the more contemporary kitchen and is proving popular with high-gloss cabinetry”

STYLE AND CONTOUR

V-ZUG’s appliances with retractable handles maintain the streamlined look of this handle-less kitchen furniture

Colours, textures, natural wood and stone finishes and reflective glass accents can all be embraced by kitchen designers to provide a sense of individuality and a serene atmosphere for this principal room where households are at one, or if a more dynamic environment is required, Caple furniture manager Doug Haswell suggests that high gloss finishes can be used to add a touch of glamour. The latest colour trends vary from dramatic black to more muted highgloss pastel shades such as pale blue, according to Haswell, and natural finishes are also popular, with wood-effect “leading the way.” He comments that this works particularly well in an open-plan kitchen scheme with wood and woodeffect furniture, and veneers are a more affordable option than solid wood.

Grand Designs Live, where he witnessed the continued trend for contemporary minimalist handle-less cabinetry in muted neutral tones such as taupe and cream combined with black or white influences.

Spragg refers to “appliance and kitchen units blending harmoniously to form clean lines across the whole kitchen silhouette” and says that appliance manufacturers are responding to this trend by developing contemporary designs using steel and glass, which blend seamlessly across the kitchen and living area.

FILTERED HOT WATER ON TAP CDA’s TH100 is a 3 in 1 instant hot water tap with chrome finish – a useful kitchen tool which makes hot drinks instantly and speeds up the cooking process. It comes with a non-pressurised tank for increased reliability and an electronic display for clear temperature indication. The TH100 heats up in approximately 7 minutes from the cold supply, and comes with a unique heating system that allows several cups of 98°C water to be dispensed.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

Owain Harrison, UK head of sales and marketing Built-in, Hoover Candy Baumatic, comments on his visits to trade and consumer shows such as 100% Design and

For more information and a full technical specification, visit www.cda.eu

NOV/DEC 2015 GET CONNECTED

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THE KITCHEN STUDIO

She also notes that handle-less kitchen cabinets and high-gloss finishes are becoming increasingly popular choices for consumers and observes a developing move towards matt and satin finishes and the introduction of designs with striking colour options such as reds, bright pinks and gold. Rhys Evans, Sales Director of V-Zug UK & Ireland, which has complementary appliances with retractable handles within its portfolio, says: “Streamlined kitchens which almost disappear from view are really fashionable and this can be linked back to the desire for open-plan living. People want their kitchen to blend into a bigger open-plan space, so the idea is to make the kitchen area luxurious but understated, with the option to make it into a theatre when the appliances are in use.” Evans says it would be hard to dispute that people are influenced by what they see on TV. He believes that shows such as Grand Designs, Location Location Location

DISTINCTIVE DESIGN FROM DE’LONGHI The Distinta breakfast collection, with its traditional Italian look and modern features, is ideal for classicor modern-style kitchens. Comprising a filter coffee machine which offers coffee connoisseurs a sophisticated fresh ground coffee experience at home, stylish two and four slot toasters and a 1.7L kettle, the high spec metal look gives the De’Longhi Distinta range a premium feel.

The collection comes in four matte metallic colours: white, black, bronze and copper. www.delonghi.com/en-gb

and Double Your House for Half the Money reach out to people that might not even be thinking about updating their home and present a view into a world that they may not have come across before. “The kitchen has really become the hub of the home and people want to be able to entertain at home and try out different cooking techniques,” he comments. “They want their appliances to take the stress and guesswork out when it comes to cooking and to offer automated options that will help them achieve perfect results.”

WINDS OF CHANGE

This Belling professional-style range cooker and flat hood complements the surrounding contemporary-style cabinets

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Commenting on how consumers’ kitchen needs have developed in recent years, Salah Sun, Built-in cooking manager at Beko plc, maintains that the way we look at our home appliances is changing. “Whilst functionality is still key, consumers are now more concerned than ever about creating a clean, sleek and stylish finish in their kitchens. The change coincides with a move away from freestanding appliances and the growth of the built-in sector, which has seen a 12% increase over the past year and now accounts for 34% of the market. “People are entertaining more often at home, which means they need smart appliances that allow them to cook meals efficiently and quickly. They also need to operate quietly, for open-plan kitchens, and it’s always helpful to have a good dishwasher that cleans everything up swiftly afterwards.” Sun remarks that the housing market offers much optimism for built-in in 2016. “Year to date figures suggest that built-in sales in the MDA market are the highest on record, accounting for £583 million and an overall rise of 6%. We can only imagine


THE KITCHEN STUDIO

PERFECT FOR ANY KITCHEN… Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer™ dishwashers are designed to make doing the dishes easier than before. These appliances are designed to be built into existing cabinetry, but with designer stainless steel doors the Double DishDrawer™ has comparable dimensions to those of a traditional dishwasher, yet it provides the benefit of two independent drawers for added convenience and ergonomics. As easy to open and close as a kitchen drawer and conveniently positioned at bench height means loading and unloading requires minimal bending. The DishDrawer™ comes in 60cm double, single or integrated models, and also in 90cm wide sizes. Perfect for any kitchen. www.fisherpaykel.com/uk

that this will continue to grow, especially with the promise of 200,000 new homes being built for first-time buyers. Many of these will be equipped with modern openplan kitchens, fuelling the need for sleek, functional and energy-efficient appliances.”

ON THE RISE

In terms of the type of products in growing demand, Richard Walker, Head of Category for Built-In at Glen Dimplex Home Appliances, says the latest trends consumers are responding well to include flexi induction hobs and larger cavity ovens that provide more cooking space for people with growing families or those that love entertaining and baking, the latter of which GDHA has worked to its advantage: “In the last couple of years we have launched appliances with functions that have specific baking advantages and marketed them as such. In terms of really capitalising on the TV baking craze, we built on our longstanding relationship with BBC Good

Food to ensure our products were being pushed to the fore. These shows provide great brand exposure, with famous chefs and stars of The Great British Bake Off using our products on stage, which creates consumer interest and helps to then drive those potential customers into retailers.” According to Robert Soughton, Freestanding Cooking Product Manager at Beko plc, a “silent revolution” is taking place in the kitchen: “Traditional gas and electric hobs are fast being overtaken by a serious new contender that is already taking the European market by storm. Induction hobs are paving the way to a smarter, more efficient and cleaner way of cooking. With gas prices also on the rise, alternative fuels are being sought after to reduce utility bills.” Martin Wilson, Product Manager of Builtin Hot appliances at Electrolux, adds: “We have seen a rise in steam and induction technology over the past few years and we expect this to increase over the coming year with the availability of these technologies

across all price points, catering for both an introduction to steam and high-quality sous vide creations as well. Perception and understanding of pyrolytic ovens is also growing. With more exposure on the retail sales side, there is a definite shift in consumer awareness of the benefits of pyrolytic cleaning.”

STYLE ON A BUDGET

Kitchen upgrades are one of the most expensive home improvements consumers can make, but it is possible to make a difference to this space without breaking

ALL-IN-ONE FOOD PREP FROM KENWOOD The innovative Kenwood MultiOne incorporates the baking appeal of a mixer and also manages the daily task of food processing, offering an all-in-one food prep solution. The 4.3L mixing bowl comes with a K-beater, whisk and dough hook, whilst the easy-fit hub with patented drive technology allows a food processor, juicer, blender, grinder and citrus press attachment to be fitted at the top of the MultiOne machine. All the tools are controlled by six variable speeds, and a splash guard and large feed chute ensure minimum mess. The Kenwood MultiOne was recently awarded a prestigious Red Dot Design Award for its smart, compact design. Kenwood MultiOne (RRP £279.99) www.kenwoodworld.com/uk 0239 239 2392

CREATE MORE

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THE KITCHEN STUDIO

the bank, whether that be with one statement appliance such as a range cooker or American-style fridge freezer or, at the other end of the scale, as Sarah Minion, Bosch Category Manager Food Prep, points out, small kitchen appliances are becoming increasingly popular as a means for homeowners to quickly refresh their kitchen. “Colours and designs are becoming much more prominent as people hope to bring the wow-factor to their kitchens,” she comments. “Shows such as The Great British Bake Off have got the nation baking and put kitchen mixer machines firmly in the spotlight as a trend, not only

as a practical kitchen appliance but also a statement piece. This means other countertop appliances are following suit.” Jonathan Fish, Category Consumer Manager for Breakfast and Drinks at Morphy Richards, agrees: “We are increasingly seeing consumers purchasing kettles and toasters to give the kitchen a quick, affordable but effective update,” he states. “Rather than committing to a full room makeover, the innovative styles of kettles and toasters that are currently launching into the market are giving consumers the opportunity to express their personality and style through their choice of appliances.

“With the kettle market alone now worth a market value of £150m, and the toaster market valued at nearly £100m, it’s apparent that the breakfast and drinks sector is a very active industry that still offers a lot of potential for retailers.” A key trend identified by Morphy Richards is the desire for appliances to match the colour scheme of the kitchen. A third of people feel that this is the most important factor when purchasing a kettle or toaster.

Caple’s Anola Natural Elm kitchen embraces the trend for natural finishes in a modern linear design and provides a contrast to the high-gloss Metz Ivory cabinets on the island unit

SAVE SPACE AND MULTI-TASK! The Redmond RMC-M4502E multicooker can prepare a wide variety of meals: homemade soup, meat, fish, seafood, yogurt, cake, bread, vegetables, pasta, rice, cheesecake, fondues and even hot drinks, and the 5-litre non-stick bowl has the capacity to feed the whole family. The appliance has 34 programmes to cook, stew, slow cook, bake, proof dough, bake bread, steam, shallow fry and deep fry. These programmes mean meals will cook perfectly every time without spoiling, overcooking or burning, and when finished the cooking process the RMC-M4502E automatically switches to ‘Keep Warm’. We include a recipe book with 100 dishes and a free app with hundreds more is available. The Redmond RMC-M4502E multicooker is available from RKW, Nimans and AIS. Contact: Mark Ivens 01932 572908 Email: mark.ivens@xgem.com www.redmond.company/uk

NOV/DEC 2015 GET CONNECTED

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THE KITCHEN STUDIO

For consumers with big ambitions for small kitchens, and on equally small budgets, Mark Ivens, Marketing Manager for Redmond, recommends “a truly multi-function electronic cooking appliance that has programmes to make homemade soup, fry or stew meat dishes, make pasta, rice, fish recipes, prove dough, bake bread, make cakes, cheesecakes, even yogurt and homemade cheese. This is a solution that will free consumers from collecting and storing numerous other kitchen products – one gadget that can save the consumer time, space, money and energy.” V-ZUG UK’s Evans recommends that retailers should not be tempted to trade down on quality to accommodate customers on a tight budget. His advice is: “Look for a brand recognised by the industry with an established manufacturing and innovative history and that specialises in what they produce to ensure your customers get a good quality, high-performing product. Weigh up the initial cost against other factors like longevity and flexibility, service and assistance warranties and the difference it could make to their lifestyle, whether that’s making life easier or even healthier. Investing in the best you can afford really is a good habit to get into as, you know what they say: buy cheap and buy twice.”

“Whilst many kitchen colourways and finishes come in and out of fashion, only white and stainless steel remain the constant choice” Dominik Pytel, Marketing Director, Groupe SEB UK

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

So how do our manufacturers see the appliance industry shaping up as we head further into the 21st Century? For Hoover Candy, the future of the electrical industry is “definitely connected,” says Steve Macdonald, Marketing Director of the company’s Freestanding Division. “With consumers demanding more convenience than ever before and each of us leading an increasingly connected lifestyle, we expect everything to become more intelligent, with Wi-Fi enabled

WE’RE THE TOPS Team Slow Cookers have always represented great value and in 2015 this has been recognised with 4 models in the prestigious Good Housekeeping Institute’s Top 20. In fact, the Super Compact Slow Cooker is the highest rated slow cooker at the lowest RRP – just £16.99. “We’re delighted to compare so well with the very best of brands, and to have four models in the Top 20 is a ringing endorsement of all we stand for,” commented Team UKI’s Tony Goldenfeld. Our slow cookers are available from us direct at www.teamuki.com 0121 693 1959 and via our network of trade distributors too, benefitting from our centrally held stock and UK-located consumer telephone HelpLine.

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kitchen appliances becoming part of everyday life. “Consumer expectations will always drive innovation in the appliance sector, and Wi-Fi is the next step in this evolution.” Hoover’s vision is for all of its appliances to be 100% connected by 2017, three years ahead of the market prediction. Linda Phoutthasak, Marketing Manager for InSinkErator® Europe, maintains that the future needs to be about sustainability. “Appliances that offer energy-saving features or reduce the impact on the environment are going to be at the top of the consumer wish-list,” she asserts.

“We are demanding more than ever that our appliances conform to the highest standards, and manufacturers are responding by developing new technologies and innovations to satisfy the needs of the environmentally-conscious consumer. Appliances such as food waste disposers that can ease the strain on landfill sites and limit damage to the ozone layer, and steaming hot water taps that save up to 20% in energy and ensure no water is wasted, will doubtless become essential purchases for the future consumer.” “Dining in and entertaining at home is still a very popular pastime and home baking is an increasingly popular hobby that all generations are trying at home. With this in mind, we expect to see manufacturers investing heavily in the performance of their small domestic appliance ranges, offering a variety of products to tackle consumers’ every need,” comments Ian Moverley, Brand Communications Director for Hotpoint. “Consumers are willing to invest in products that help them produce the very best results at home – they expect great performance, good efficiency and strikingly stylish products that will enhance the look of their kitchen. Going forward, we expect to see small appliances offering the same clever technology that large appliances can offer, taking the guesswork out of preparing food and guaranteeing perfect results every time.”


INDUSTRY MOVERS

THE FUTURE Consumer confidence may be faltering as we move towards the end of 2015, but our industry remains upbeat about the prospects for 2016 following a good year in which Audio sustained the CE sector, Built-in appliances and technologies such as pyrolytic cleaning and induction boosted sales of MDAs and the Small Appliance sector continued to grow as the nation remained captivated by the numerous TV programmes encouraging the masses to expand their cooking and baking knowhow.

T

he concept of the ‘smart home’ is gaining traction and it is believed that the UK’s buoyant housing market will bring continued dividends to the electrical industry, as growth in sales of new-builds is underpinned by rising wages and the push for resource efficiencies drives sales of products that offer energy and water savings and those that encourage consumers to monitor and reduce their energy consumption. At the coalface, evidence shows that some shopping locations around the UK are gradually adapting to embrace the mix of leisure and retail desired by their communities, which can be seen in the (albeit slow) decline in shop vacancy rates, and bricks & mortar retail is adroitly learning to sit comfortably with e-commerce as more retailers implement, expand and perfect their omni-channel offerings, tailoring their services to public demand. Consumer sovereignty dictated, smart retailers responded. Welcome to the genesis of the new retail landscape. Now, as we look forward to 2016, GC Magazine asks some of the ‘industry movers’ who are part of shaping the future of electricals to give their views on the year past and that to come.

Rupert Woolger, Director, Calculus Software Solutions,

is committed to empowering your business

“At Calculus we have been working hard expanding our portfolio of products and services” “2015 has been a year of growth for many of our dealers, including relocations to larger premises and expansion with additional stores – those dealers who investigated and implemented efficiency savings during the slower years have certainly been reaping the benefits this year. “At Calculus we have been working hard expanding our portfolio of products and services, with an emphasis on giving fast and simple access to the many different sales channels available to electrical retailers, and then allowing fulfilment of those sales in the most efficient way. “With further growth forecast for 2016 we believe dealers with the right retail system partner will be ideally placed to make the most of all the opportunities on offer. “Our commitment to making our dealers more profitable and more efficient is best summed up in our dealer mission statement for 2016: “Empowering your business”.

Tel: 0845 125 9192 | Email: sales@findesolutions.com Web: www.findesolutions.com

NOV/DEC 2015 GET CONNECTED

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INDUSTRY MOVERS

Gordon Dutch, Managing Director, Peerless-AV, believes 2016 will be another

Graham North, Commercial Director, Humax, is looking

“The past six years have been some of the most exciting I have ever seen in the industry, technology-wise, and also for BBG/Peerless”

“The connected home is exceeding expectations in the set-top box market”

exciting year for technology

“After the merger with Peerless back in May 2009, we started on a plan that has seen us develop a significant business for PeerlessAV all over EMEA, especially in the UK in both Consumer and Professional markets. This culminated in our choice at the end of 2015 for BBG to move away from distributing most of the third-party Hifi and other brands we had been sub-distributing to concentrate even further on Peerless-AV and our accessories business. “I see 2016 as yet another exciting year for technology and it will be interesting to see how both 4K and curved screens sell. For our part, we are confident that our new Peerless-AV mounts, cables and AV furniture will match the needs of the latest products and those of our retailers and customers. “I expect 2016 to be another great year for BBG/Peerless and I would like to thank all of our suppliers, staff and especially our retailers for all their hard work, support and time in 2015. Here’s to 2016!”

forward to the opportunities that the new Freeview Play service will bring to the trade

“This year has been instrumental in our ongoing vision to create pioneering home entertainment products, with the launch of the Humax Freesat HDR-1100S and Humax Freeview FVP-4000T. “Both products have re-energised the set-top box (STB) marketplace, providing the features that satisfy consumer demand for the connected home, such as built-in Wi-Fi and networking, while providing the trade with a new opportunity to boost revenue and profit margin. The ranges also incorporate a compact design and definitive styling, ensuring high appeal to the modern consumer. “Through both of these product launches Humax has experienced notable growth in sales and market share. Current Humax Freeview FVP-4000T forecasts are exceeding original projections by 50% only eight weeks after launch, validating Humax’s position as the leader in the UK’s subscription-free STB market. “As we move into 2016, Humax is looking forward to the exciting opportunities that the new Freeview Play service will bring to the trade, with the chance to offer even more quality TV programming with the incorporation of pay-TV offerings and new features. By focusing on the increasing demand for a wide choice of channels and catch-up services, at an affordable price, retailers will be able to use the features of the Humax FVP-4000T to boost sales and profits across the year.”

Michael Boland, Sales Director, AB Distributors, says dealers have the opportunity to make excellent margins with De Dietrich appliances

“We would like to thank all our customers for their continued support during our transition...” “De Dietrich is now part of the Groupe Brandt/Cevital organisation, a conglomerate with annual sales in excess of €3 billion that markets appliance brands Brandt, Sauter and Vedette in Europe, Africa and Asia. As part of this very successful group, De Dietrich has secured its future and will benefit from major investment programmes in research and product development – like the Dark Grey collection, which is a unique expression of innovation and design. “The De Dietrich premium appliance range is now exclusively brought to you in Great Britain by AB Distributors, which is owned by KAL/Gowan Group and has a reputation for excellent customer service among its large customer base in the UK and Ireland. “We hold stocks and offer fast delivery times, provide a 3-year parts and labour warranty and have put a comprehensive after-sales programme in place. The De Dietrich range is modern, innovative and high quality and will offer appliance dealers the opportunity to make excellent margins. “We would like to thank all our customers for their continued support during our transition and are looking forward to continued success with our partners in Great Britain in 2016.”

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GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2015


INDUSTRY MOVERS

Phil Morton, CEO of REPIC Limited and President of the WEEE Forum, wisely promotes

the link between health, wealth and the environment

“Good News for the Environment” John Reddington, director of Big Red Sales, has a personal view on the immediate future of our industry based on more than four decades of experience – and an undeniable track record of success

“We need more hunters in 2016” “At a time when everyone is having to cut back, it makes absolute sense to be on top of your costs. But in my experience, cuts are too often made in the wrong places when the bean-counters put simple arithmetic above all-round business sense. “The first to go is the front end because, in accountancy terms, cuts there are easy to identify and have an immediate effect. But fewer reps on the road mean less human contact and weaker relationships between manufacturer and dealer, especially in the very important independent retail sector. ”This business is still about the right people understanding what dealers want, looking after them, meeting their individual requirements, involving them and treating them as equal partners. So instead of cutting back on regular person-to-person contact, we need more feet on the ground out there – more hunters, and fewer farmers. If you know what your dealers want and treat them right, it’s good business for everyone.” Big Red Sales was founded to provide a cost-effective human interface between manufacturer and dealer, but is the peoplebased philosophy a nostalgic, impractical concept in these hard times? John Reddington has an eminently practical answer: “2015 has been our best year for both profit and turnover. Two of our five brands have doubled their business during the year.”

“This year saw the culmination of a 2-year project to identify and reduce the amount of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) being illegally exported to developing countries. “The CWIT project (Countering WEEE Illegal Trade) was co-ordinated by Interpol and had six partners including the WEEE Forum, an international body of not-for-profit producer WEEE take-back schemes. Producers have again demonstrated their commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their products throughout their life and end-of-life cycles. “Across Europe only 35% of WEEE is counted in the official systems. 13% (small items) go into the wheelie bin and the remaining 50% or so is either exported or ‘unofficially’ recycled in Europe. “Export of WEEE is illegal; substandard treatment potentially damages the environment, exposes people to health risks and is economically foolish because it loses the trace (and scarce) materials in WEEE that Europe must import to make new EEE (Electrical and Electronic Equipment). “The CWIT project has identified the flows of material, provided a legal and criminal analysis for enforcement authorities and a roadmap for Member States to follow to address this illegal trade.”

The summary report is available at: www.weee-forum.org

NOV/DEC 2015 GET CONNECTED

31


GEORGE COLE

GEORGE COLE GEORGE COLE PINPOINTS HOTSPOTS IN THE WORLD OF CONSUMER ELECTRONICS

FREEVIEW GOING FULL HD AHEAD Y

ou’ve probably seen the news that Freeview plans to switch to promoting High Definition-only products by the end of next year. From 1 January 2016, all TVs over 32-inches will have to offer HD in order to get a Freeview licence and use the Freeview logo. By the end of 2016, all new Freeview products (TVs, PVRs, set-top boxes) will be HD-only. Freeview says that HD accounted for 70% of Freeview sales in 2014, so it makes sense to migrate to HD. The price premium commanded by HD over SD is minimal these days, so consumers won’t be forced to shell out a lot more by opting for HD. Even so, the Freeview statement raises a few questions. On some consumer forums, fears were voiced that people were being forced to scrap their Freeview SD products and move up to HD products. I put a number of questions to Freeview, and here are the answers.

“Currently there are 14 freeto-air HD channels on Freeview and additional capacity has recently been introduced via two interim multiplexes from Arqiva”

What has driven the strategy to go for HD-only products? Freeview: “Recent research by Freeview showed that picture quality via HD and access to the players on their television are the most important features for TV viewers. Freeview HD products provide the best viewing experience for consumers and a more efficient technical standard. HD-only products are the next step in the company’s drive towards an increasingly hybrid HD platform.”

Are there any plans to increase the number of Freeview HD channels over the next few years? “HD is important as screens get bigger and we’re continuing to grow the portfolio of HD services. Currently there are 14 free-toair HD channels on Freeview and additional capacity has recently been introduced via two interim multiplexes from Arqiva [the communications infrastructure and media services company].

Broadcasters can also choose to offer HD services via streamed channels should they choose to.”

Will consumers with SD Freeview products be able to watch Freeview as they do today for the foreseeable future? “Yes, unless there is a significant change in the broadcast conditions. We would recommend viewers use Freeview HD equipment to ensure they receive the full range of channels available to them and the best possible quality.” From January 1 2016, will TV manufacturers be able to produce Freeview SD TV sets over 32-inches, but without the Freeview logo? “Yes. There is a risk the TV/STB will not work in the same way as Freeview branded product and the consumer has no visible identification of assurance that the product will work correctly in all relevant environments. Products that have the Freeview logo visible on the product itself and packaging have undergone rigorous compliance testing to ensure the product can receive, process and display all the relevant channels available on Freeview.” What are Freeview’s plans for UHD/4K? “Freeview is always looking to deliver improvements for viewers, including better picture quality, and recent developments have seen the launch of more High Definition channels onto the platform. While trial transmissions of Ultra HD over DTT have been carried out, this technology is still in the early stages and there are currently no plans for a launch of services in this format on Freeview.” The message for consumers is clear: there are no plans to make standard definition Freeview equipment obsolete, although to get the best out of the platform, you need both HD and Freeview Play (which offers on-demand content via a broadband connection). Reading between the lines, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more HD channels joining the Freeview line-up, possibly to coincide with the drive to promote Freeview HD products. As for 4K transmissions on Freeview – don’t hold your breath.

PANASONIC: FIRST OFF THE BLOCKS IT’S

a good time to be in the consumer electronics business (honest!), with the arrival of Freeview Play joined by the launch of OLED Ultra High Definition (aka 4K) sets

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GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2015

promised from companies such as LG, Samsung and Panasonic. You can be sure that other TV manufacturers will be joining them. OLED sets are slimmer and can offer better brightness and contrast

than LCD sets. They also have wide viewing angles and faster refresh rates. Although OLED yield rates are improving, it’s still an expensive technology, and likely to remain so for some time yet.


FROM THE BENCH

UNUSUAL PROBLEMS – AND EBENEZER SCROOGE CHRISTMAS IS UPON US AGAIN, AND A FAVOURITE SEASONAL STORY IS THE TALE OF EBENEZER SCROOGE. ALAN BENNETT TELLS OF A COUPLE OF SCROOGE-LIKE CUSTOMERS HE ENCOUNTERED

F

or those who solve other people’s problems life is mostly routine – but sometimes funny, sometimes challenging. Over the years we’ve come across some odd situations in field servicing, with causes as diverse as people, birds and trains...

BAD TV PICTURES

In the days of CRT displays the image was scanned out by a deflection yoke on the tube neck. Due to a drop onto the floor, the yoke on Mr. X’s TV moved around the tube to give a very tilted picture. Rather than pay a service charge, and thinking that the picture tube had been wrecked, he found a suitable book and propped one end of the set on it to bring the picture back onto the level. He watched it thus for years! Another misguided viewer, again with an old-style TV set, found his picture gradually brightening up over a period, undoubtedly due to some internal fault. When his brightness control had run out of road, so to speak, he had a bright(!) idea: he would fit a light dimmer in the set’s mains lead. It didn’t work. As he turned it down, the picture, remaining bright, suddenly contracted in size and developed two heavy horizontal black bars. There came a kind of hoarse burp from within the set, never to work again. Wow!

RAILWAY TRAINS AND SEAGULLS In the more recent past a customer called us out to attend to intermittent picture breakup and sound dropouts on his Freeview programmes. The house was in the shadow of a railway embankment, but the trains were not obstructing the TV signal – the arcing from its third-rail pickup shoes was creating a blizzard of interference spikes, depending to some extent on the weather. The aerial, we found, had moved off beam and its terminal box was corroded inside. We solved the problem with a new and larger aerial and mounting bracket, fixed on the house as far from the railway line

as possible. The passage of the 19.45 from Charing Cross no longer upsets the TV viewing at no. 54... Another spasmodic reception problem, this time with a Sky system, and a complete loss of sound and vision was the subject of a call for help in a south coast seaside town. We got them to go outside and look at the dish when the trouble cropped up and soon got a definite diagnosis: big seagulls standing on the LNB arm! Birds don’t usually perch there, I guess because of the angle – perhaps they were nesting nearby or the pole position on top of the dish was already occupied. The successful cure we applied here consisted simply of a strong and durable wire sprung from one of the dish perforations to the LNB, having no effect on signal reception.

SABOTAGE

A few weeks after installing an auxiliary dish pointed at a Eutelsat bird we were called back (‘under guarantee’ of course) when its signal completely disappeared. We found nothing wrong with the receiver, but there was a drawing pin stuck through the down-lead about one-and-a-half metres above the ground. The customer’s wife, not approving of the adult TV this feed afforded, had put it there. The set-top box was unscathed (they are designed to withstand a short-circuit on the LNB line) so we thoroughly wrapped the punctured cable in self-amalgamating tape and left the pair of them to sort out the social issues.

AUDIO ABERRATIONS

People are very ready to make guarantee claims when there’s nothing wrong with the equipment. Another such concerned a surround sound system, coming soon after Mr. Y had taken it home. He complained that the sound was indistinct and ‘blurry’, though both the TV (within its limitations) and the new Dolby 5.1 outfit (e.g. with a CD) gave good clear reproduction when used on their own. You should have solved this one by

“The passage of the 19.45 from Charing Cross no longer upsets the TV viewing at no. 54...”

yourselves by now, perhaps! We did, there and then over the phone. We suggested that he mute the TV sound when the surround system was in use, and that did the trick. The distortion was caused by a slight timing difference between the TV and the audio box in their audio processing, not sufficient to give an actual echo effect but quite enough to take the edge – literally – off the sound quality when both were in operation together. An established customer of ours rejoiced in a surround sound ensemble which was way out of guarantee. He came into the shop to enquire whether a change of carpet could upset the sound from his loudspeakers. He told us that after refurbishment of his lounge the sound of his favourite movies and of TV concerts had deteriorated in a way that was difficult to describe, a loss of ‘presence’ and body, especially in voices and mid tones. While different carpets can perhaps give rise to changes in sound absorbance and thus reverberation, we didn’t think this would have a very noticeable effect. On site we found that either the decorator or the carpet fitter, in reconnecting the main L/R speakers, had reversed the polarity of the feed to one of them. Happy days… Happy Christmas! NOV/DEC 2015 GET CONNECTED

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GUEST COLUMN | DAN THORNTON

BRING YOUR OWN CONTENT DAN THORNTON, HEAD OF SOLUTION DEVELOPMENT AT HUGHES EUROPE, DISCUSSES HOW TO KEEP SHOPPERS COMING THROUGH THE DOOR IN THE ERA OF ‘BRING YOUR OWN CONTENT’

M

ost major store operators know they must focus on making omni-channel retail a reality if they are to make ground against competitors both online and in the high street. Yet it remains a tough battle. UK retail statistics compiled by one of the large accountancy firms show that while online sales rose 11.4% in the year to August, overall high street sales suffered a 4.3% year-on-year fall. Part of this was put down to consumers preferring to spend on leisure, holidays and restaurants, proving that the competition for shoppers’ pounds is not just about high street versus online. Nonetheless, whatever the fluctuations in sales and shopping patterns month by month, all retailers now have to work harder to keep customers coming through the door, making sure the promise of the omni-channel experience is fulfilled. Essentially, the experience of going into a store to buy should match what shoppers find online.

BRING YOUR OWN CONTENT

However, one of the most fundamental requirements for bringing the two experiences together is connectivity, as we are now in the age of Bring Your Own Content. It is an established fact, familiar to all store owners, that shoppers use their smart devices and phones when they go shopping. They expect to use them in-store for price comparisons, to download product information and to read reviews and news. The difference is that, increasingly, consumers want to consume their own content and have full access 34

GET CONNECTED NOV/DEC 2015

to their own apps and social sites when they are on retail or hospitality premises. Many shoppers want to be able to log on to a retailer’s Wi-Fi so they can save themselves money and so retailers who fail to offer such facilities will soon lose out to competitors. For example, shoppers waiting for an order to be fulfilled or for a relative to make a big decision on which product or service to buy, will want access to their social media or to a streaming service such as Netflix, so they can entertain themselves during the wait. Equally they may be interested in some of the products or services in-store and want the chance to do some research. Retailers must recognise such requirements as the new realities of the Bring Your Own Content phenomenon and make sure they can facilitate it. A customer or a business-visitor grabbing a cup of coffee at the instore restaurant, for example, should be able to log on to Wi-Fi quickly and easily. The information about how to do so should be prominently displayed. Then once they have made the connection, the store operator can push apps to their phone, including a menu which allows them to order without having to get up from the table and worry about the bags or their laptop. If they log on via their social media, then so much the better – the store has access to their profile, likes, dislikes and links. The overall aim is to encourage the shopper to stay in-store for longer, even though they may be accessing their own content. The longer shoppers linger, the more likely they are to be captivated by what they see in-store and make a purchasing decision. In a hospitality context this means greater likelihood of them ordering more to eat and drink.

DIGITAL DIRECTION

One tool that is being used to attract the attention of shoppers as they browse is digital signage. This is now provided on high-definition

TV screens, giving management complete control of content via robust, high-quality broadband. What is shown can be matched to the audience in the store at different times of day using demographic information derived from customers’ Wi-Fi interactions and footfall monitoring. Equally, in large premises, retailers can vary content between individual screens, adapting it to the demographics that are attracted to particular product ranges. A retailer wanting a more complex display can divide individual screens so that, for instance, a news ticker streams across the bottom while product and company information are displayed in other segments. Although head office will be in control, local managers should be allowed to display content relating to their premises, since studies have shown this can boost viewer attention considerably. Digital signage also has an important back-office function – that of educating staff. It is important that staff dealing with the public are well informed about a retailer’s products and services, since studies show that lack of knowledge is a major irritant for shoppers. Digital signage in a rest room or office gives personnel – especially part-timers – the chance to absorb the latest product details and offers quickly, with the minimum of effort.

If a store is intelligently laid out using the footfall information and analytics derived from tracking customers’ phones that have their Wi-Fi switched on, then digital signage has every chance of not only giving customers the information they want, but of stimulating their interest in products and services they had not previously contemplated.

ENSURING THE SYSTEM WORKS

Of course, this smart use of Wi-Fi and digital signage has to be underpinned by proper installation and maintenance. This means having an expert installer that is entirely flexible in its approach and will not lumber a retailer with a system that has blind spots or is prone to downtime. The best solution for any store operator is to engage a managed services provider that has the depth of experience and the commitment to ensure the right system is always up and running. It is worth considering that, when connectivity fails, it is not the system that gets the blame, it is the retailer. Wi-Fi, digital signage and robust connectivity have to be at the heart of any store operator’s strategy to bring the online and in-store experiences closer together. Although this task can seem daunting, it is readily achievable when a provider with the requisite expertise is engaged, freeing the retailer to concentrate on what it knows best – selling.


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Get Connected Magazine - Nov/Dec 2015  

4 Editorial Comment 6 The Word In and around the industry 16 The Product Gallery 18 Custom Install The connected home: Multi-room Audio and...

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