Samsung commits to the independent sector

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At the recent Independent Dealers Conference, held at Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea FC, Samsung unveiled its plans for closer involvement in the independent sector. Anna Ryland reports.
IN the dynamic atmosphere of Stamford Bridge, Samsung presented its business results and plans for the future. In 2006, Samsung’s business grew 228% year on year. Andy Griffiths, Samsung sales and marketing director, commented to IER: “Over the Christmas period Samsung’s leadership in value in the total flat panel TV market was confirmed. In 2006, the massive growth of our TV business influenced all other areas of our activities. As a result, from being one of the pack we became the leader in the flat panel TV market. That’s why we wanted to talk to independents as one of the three power brands to offer them an alternative”.

Samsung in CE

Robert Thompson, general manager – brown goods at Samsung, sees the growth opportunities for the company and its dealers in the following areas:

  • Blu-ray-supported DVD recorders,
  • Home theatre, especially the first 1080p model,
  • MP3 players, incorporating innovative technologies and design,
  • Hybrid and flash memory camcorders, and
  • Flat panel TVs – both in LCD and plasma (new Samsung plasma factory is to open in Hungary in 2008).

Andy Griffiths offers a wider perspective on the developments in the CE market: “The CE market is product led; the winning products have edge in terms of design or technology or both. This is crucial on the shop floor. People who, for example, choose Samsung’s flat panel TVs look for great design and excellent picture quality. You need to stand out in the sea of TV displays to find your share of the voice.”

Samsung in white goods

Samsung, whose 90% of white good sales come from refrigeration, plans to reduce its reliance on cooling appliances in 2007. Nevertheless the company intends to develop new sbs models equipped with innovative technologies, such as the Twin Cooling system, or Quatro cooling on the four-door sbs models.

The company is also planning to develop its built-in cooking business, introducing new technologies to this area, an example of which is the built-in oven with twin fans and ‘dividable’ cavity which can operate at two different temperature levels.

Moreover, Samsung intends to ‘reinvent’ itself in floorcare, with the launch of the powerful yet quiet SC9540 vacuum cleaner.

The focus on indies

Sales through the independent channel grew Samsung’s business by 16% in 2005 and 24% in 2006. A reflection of Samsung’s appreciation of the role indies play in its success are the new initiatives for this sector, including:

  • Greater sales support, ie three new sales area managers
  • Exclusive ranges of white goods
  • Further investment in training and sales support, inc opening of a new training facility and new PoS material
  • The new ‘Shop in Shop’ initiative which is to be extended to 30 more stores nationwide in 2007.

Andy Griffiths comments: “There is still a lot of work to do with regard to our relationship with independents. We have a real bottom up approach to this. We are being asked by dealers to do certain things, such as in-store merchandising programme, and we act on their advice.”

Finally, I ask Andy about the direction of the future Samsung’s strategies: “The last five years has been a golden age of consumer electronics. To have a flat panel television at the top of consumer aspirations – more so than a laptop or a mobile phone – is a great opportunity for us. The challenge that we have now as a marketing organisation is an ability to recognise the different needs of various generations. Young consumers have technology as their fifth limb. They gradually become spenders. The issue of ‘retail space’ is important in this context and both manufacturers and retailers should be aware of it and ready for it.”

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