Colin Rodgers General Manager – Independents
I am writing this article after having just returned from the official opening of the new Samsung Brand store at Westfield Stratford. This new exclusive store, operated by Micro Anvika – a key Independent channel partner of ours, showcases all areas of the Samsung product range under one roof and provides a fantastic consumer experience.
This store was a one off opportunity that we could not afford to pass by, rather than a sign of things to come – as an Olympic partner it provided us with a perfect location to engage all visitors to the 2012 games and beyond. In general we at Samsung believe that the consumer enjoys a multi brand offering and will therefore continue to invest in our multi brand independent customers in 2012. The launch in 2011 of our first two Premium retail Partner store’s demonstrate you can still have a strong brand identity within a mixed brand environment.
In 2011 while business has remained challenging we have made some strong investment in the Independent channel and even managed to enjoy ourselves! Our Samsung Rewards programme continues to be a great success, the pinnacle of which was our annual Samsung Sales Person of the Year competition won this year by Kevin Sherlock of Brittain and Hobbs, and the sponsorship of the Take That tour in the summer means that many of us can now recite all the words to “Could it Be Magic”. Although not all events were as successful as these as due to rain the inaugural Samsung vs. Independents cricket match was unfortunately a wash out.
The questions ahead in 2012 remain similar to those in 2011. How do you drive consumers into store and go on to make a profitable sale? Well we have spent a lot of time in 2011 training staff on the benefit’s that Smart TV and 3D can offer the consumer and encouraging instore display excellence; in addition our AV Elite programme and the D7000 & D8000 have further driven instore success. But I still feel that many Independents have a way to go in delivering first class demonstrations and in store experiences that are befitting of these models. This does not have to mean expensive shop fits. Many stores I visit still don’t have internet capability required to demo Smart TV Functions and 3D glasses often seem to be either turned off, broken or misplaced. A good well organised Independent can in 2012 still have the edge over other retail channels with our high end products, but the effort has to be put in to sell them, or the Independent is in danger of losing the “specialist” reputation that has been built up in the TV Market.
Despite these challenges I feel sure the year ahead will offer all of us success and happiness and I wish each of you a prosperous 2012.