Staying smart in recession

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It was clear that in spite of difficult trading conditions in the market, both manufacturers and retailers consider the CIH trade show as an important place for doing business. “A significant feature of this year’s show is how enthusiastic the members are.
Considering how tough market conditions are and that the credit crunch has started biting, the members are very positive about the outcome of the show, and already started getting orders. I can say that the show has been a great success, with visitor numbers 10% higher than last year. Also, the stand quality is the best I have seen so far, ” Stuart Cook, CIH chief executive, commented to IER.
The CIH group also used the show as a platform to showcase the Finlux range of LCD TVs which is going to be an exclusive brand to CIH.
“It is an exciting development for our members. Finlux comes with a five year parts and labour Domestic & General guarantee. We anticipate the sales to be huge; the stocks which we hold at present are not going to be sufficient to cover the demand,” explained Stuart Cook. For the last two years, Finlux has been owned by Vestel, a Turkish manufacturer, the third largest TV manufacturer in the world. It has Scandinavian design heritage, and is currently sold in Euronics stores in Spain and Scandinavia.  The current range will be a mid-market one which was specified and approved by the CIH members. “However our ambition for the label is to go higher than the B-brand. This will be down to the next design and next range. The series ranges from 19in to 47in and some models have integrated hard drives, with Freeview and DVD players.”
The latest CE offers
At the CIH show, Toshiba launched its XDV500 up-scaling DVD player. The company has prepared a special package for the consumers which consists of  the new DVD player,  two models in the XP TV series,  37in and 42in, a TV stand and 12 months’ free film rental.
The offer starts from 1 October and will run until 31 January 2009. It will be available to consumers through CIH members. The visitors were also able to see the Toshiba ZF series which, using Toshiba’s latest upscaling technology, can upscale a standard definition DVD and TV inputs to near-HD quality.
Meanwhile Samsung demonstrated its new 2.1 home theatre system, RTSH11OT, which upscales to 1080p. Its unique feature is a built-in DVD player into one of the speakers which reduces the number of boxes under the TV set. The company also showcased its 7 to 9 Series of LCD TVs which feature Samsung’s Smart LED technology achieving better contrast and richer colours, while at the same time using less power than normal LCD TVs. The series is also equipped with the new Ocean Black Crystal Design frame that has become Samsung’s signature.  Stacey Kenwood, Samsung Channel marketing manager explained that while conventional products require coloured paint spray, containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are environmentally hazardous pollutants, Crystal Design uses a dual injection moulding technique during which coloured pigments are injected in liquid form, thus eliminating interference from dust and other airborne contaminants. As a result no hazardous substances are emitted into the atmosphere and the finished product is almost entirely recyclable.  Because of this the Series 6 upwards has been awarded the European Eco Flower award.
The central focus of the Pure stand was Evoke Flow which uses Wi-Fi technology to connect to the Internet wirelessly. As well as a variety of audio from the Internet, it brings together traditional DAB and FM radio and users’ own digital music collections. As Andrew Long, Pure’s channel  marketing manger, explained that is so much more than Internet radio. The USP of the radio is the Internet interface – the  Pure Lounge – which provides easy access to the Internet and networked audio content, including content unique to Pure, such as a library of over 100 sounds.
Pure is currently negotiating with a music content provider and it is likely that before Christmas Evoke Flow users will be able to buy the music directly from the Internet to play on the radio. Andrew Long has also commented that Evoke Flow is going to be one of a family of radios with other ‘family members’ coming soon to the market.
Meanwhile, Roberts’ exhibition presence focused on the manufacturer’s collection of ecological radios which address the issue of high power consumption of DAB radios by significantly extending their battery life, saving the consumer money and helping the environment.
Roberts ecological range includes ecologic 1 and ecologic 2 models that have built-in battery chargers, that allow the user to recharge the batteries via the radio when it’s plugged into a power socket, and the ecologic 3 and Gemini 21 offer very long  battery life thanks to their advanced circuit design, which results in very low power consumption, and their energy-efficient AC adaptors.
Intelligent domestic appliances
Capitalizing on the current interest in black appliances, AEG-Electrolux previewed its black collection which will be promoted to consumers from 1 October. It currently consists of a washing machine, a dryer and a fridge/freezer. In November, a black dishwasher will be added to it. The Silent washing machine is the USP of the collection; its inverter motor and insulation panels reduce its noise to 50db.
The visitors to the show were also able to see the elegant design of the Electrolux black glass Mirror hood which has already won a Red Dot design award.
Obviously, black is to stay for a while, since also Hotpoint demonstrated its black collection of appliances, which included laundry appliances, dishwasher and a freestanding cooker. The black dishwasher which operates at 43db has a sensor programme which, if the level of soiling is low, allows users to reduce the cycle by 30%. The black washing machine is equipped with an eco cycle which makes 30% energy saving in comparison with a standard wash.
On display was also the Hotpoint Quadrio four-door fridge freezer which not only has very good internal ergonomics  (including a wine rack and a can holder on the door, and a twist & serve ice dispenser) but also a very sleek external design. It comes in gloss black and stainless steel.
Indesit also displayed its new colour scheme for the Moon washing machine – black and white. The company’s latest product offer also included a twin-cavity 900mm range cooker, at a very attractive price point, and a collection of built-in appliances with the company’s first pyrolytic oven and induction hob. New from Indesit was also the offer of a five-year guarantee on parts for all Indesit products.
The latest offers from Canon included the 500mm range cooker (electric or gas) the full size 900m and 1100 range cookers with warming drawers. The 1100mm model features automatic and semi-automatic intelligent cooking programmes – for cooks with different levels of ability.
Beko’s exclusive offering at the show included two new washing machines, WMC61W and WMC62W.  Both 6kg machines feature a 30 minute quick wash programme and an automatic half load function which can help save both water and energy. The company also introduced a new dishwasher model – the DSFN1530, which combines a 58 minute wash programme (one of the quickest in the world) with ‘A’ class cleaning performance and a hot air drying system.
Small but perfectly formed
With an eye on Christmas, Bosch displayed a range of its Tassimo multi-drinks machine – a pod system cafeteria which makes 20 types of drink – coffees and teas. The model features a through-flow heating technology, meaning instant water heat-up at switch on, with no wait time between cups. The two-litre water reservoir also means that all dinner guests can enjoy their coffee without a pause to refill the tank.
Move – the 3.5 litre, retro-styled vacuum cleaner –  was Bosch’s new floorcare offer. It was designed for smaller households which require more compact appliances but with good performance, and the 2,100W motor is designed to ensure this.
Alphason Design used the show as an opportunity to not only demonstrate its latest collection of AV furniture and ‘intelligent’ brackets, but also to alert the visitors to its ViewSMART programme. The ViewSMART concept, is to teach retailers to make an attachment sale every time they sell CE products. It is facilitated through a series of Alphason seminars and custom-made PoS material, such as stands with cables, cleaning materials and batteries. 
“As the market is getting tougher, retailers have to become smarter,” commented Chris Emmerson, chief operating officer of Alphason Designs.

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