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Day 4 - IFA International

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Trade News Electrifying Appliance Retail EK Services takes co-operative approach with Electroplus stores EK/servicegroup, Europe’s largest retail cooperative in the fields of living, comfort, hobby, family and fashion, is expanding fast in the electrical appliances sector through its Electroplus ‘soft-franchise’ outlets. [ by Stuart Braun ] Employing the catchphrase ‘White goods need concepts you can feel’, the Ecoplus store concept has a revamped marketing identity that is warmer, more colourful and offers household-appliance consumers a total lifestyle package. With almost 20 stores to be opened by end of 2012 (now only in Germany), EK is hoping to double that number to 40 in another year. Cross-Europe expansion will likely follow. The key to Electroplus’ success is the creation of a unique co-operative store concept in which EK gives independent store-owners access to its significant buying power. EK currently collaborates with more than 3,000 suppliers across its multi-business sectors, which range from appliances to outdoor furniture, clothing and toys. In addition to offering a range of recognised home appliances from high-end Miele, Siemens and Philips, Electroplus also markets its own affordable, My Edition small-appliance brand. Retailers can also take advantage of the marketing, warehousing, financing, sales and IT support offered by EK to 2,200 retail members in 17 European countries. “Today it’s not enough to help them [retailers] to buy; you have to help them to sell,” said Bernd Horenkamp, Member of the EK Board. Part of this promise is a collaborative approach in which retailers maintain their individuality. “The Bernd Horenkamp (left) and Lutz Burneleit: “We will be with IFA for the next 100 years” IFA MATTERS In the five years since household-electrical appliances have appeared at IFA, EK/servicegroup has made the event an essential component of its buying, marketing and networking calendar. “IFA is a big networking point,” EK Board Member Bernd Horenkamp said. “It is the most important show for Germany and also the rest of the world. Every day, we go on a guided tour with our clients to look at the big brands. We help our customers to find the right products to buy brands direct. We also have a big warehouse so, if there are any interesting concepts, we buy them in big quantities and store them.” Lutz Burneleit, EK’s Division Manager of Household Appliances, Kitchen and Electrical Installations, agreed: “It’s very important for us. We will be with IFA for the next 100 years!” “If you compare us with other stores, we believe our shop concept has more emotion” motivation and style of the stores is totally different,” Horenkamp added. “We help our clients to be proud and self-confident about doing it themselves. When you want to work with us, you are still free to do what you do — we do not force you to do anything.” Electroplus’ rapid success has thus been built around independent retailers who can leverage their strong local community networks. Employing dynamic, life-like displays that complement the products, EK is working with suppliers such as Miele to build unique in-store interactions between the product and the customer. Lutz Burneleit, EK’s Division Manager of Household Appliances, Kitchen and Electrical Installations, reiterated Electroplus’ distinctive marketing concept. “If you compare us with other stores, we believe our shop concept has more emotion,” he said. “We also try to bring other product branches into the shop, from kitchens to home wares and gifts.” While Electroplus’ core business remains small and large domestic appliances, EK has aggressively diversified into complementary household products. “We are the only buying union in Germany that is multibranch. We have a different way of selling products because [the retailers] can cross-sell,” Horenkamp said. Hall 3.1 Stand 106 THE DEAL MAKERS Malta Distributor/Custom Installer uses IFA 2012 to build supplier relationships, for face-to-face updates Doneo Co Ltd Andrew Doneo Managing Director Based in Malta, the EC’s smallest member country, Doneo Co Ltd serves its customers best by acting as distributor, dealer and installer. IFA International had the chance to chat with the Managing Director, Andrew Doneo, about the company and its IFA visit. Since opening for business in 1986, the company has gone through some very big changes. We started out by providing after-sales service and technical support to local hi-fi and electronic equipment distributors before expanding operations into retail and distribution. Now Doneo Co Ltd is Malta’s leading company in the field of custom installed audio-visual, lighting and control integration systems for the home and business. By offering all this as a distributor, an installer and a retailer, we are unique. Our emphasis has always been placed on service first, whether providing consultation, professional installations or highly qualified after-sales assistance. What types of suppliers do you sell? In CE, we carry products such as Bose, Onkyo, and in custom install, we have brands such as Lutron and Crestron. What brings you to IFA this year? We want to follow the trends and IFA is a good place to find those industry trends. Sometimes at IFA we find companies here that have a product or an application that is a cross-over to our custom install or pro audio/video business. I'd like to think that this type of find gives us a competitive advantage. Which halls will you visit at IFA 2012? I get a map and I go to every hall. Okay, I don’t go to all the white goods halls, but I do pop in there to get an idea of how trends in white goods might impact on our custom install business. IFA International • Monday 3 rd September 2012 41

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