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Day 5 - IFA International

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TRADE TALK Sergio Klaus Peter Voigt Chief Purchasing Officer, Media-Saturn-Holding Retailing Giant Gets Connected Media-Saturn aims to interconnect products and customer services Sergio Klaus Peter Voigt, Chief Purchasing Officer, Media-Saturn-Holding, is back at IFA to solidify the firm’s number one position in the European consumer electronics retailing market. Bundling three independently-managed retail brands - Media Markt, Saturn and redcoon - under its roof, Media-Saturn achieved 22 billion euros in net revenues last financial year, and served approximately 300 million customers. With a focus on connected devices at this year’s IFA, Voigt explained the main challenges and opportunities in a growing new market. THE CRITICAL EYE – AND COMMENTS OF THE MEDIA AT IFA Each day in IFA International, we bring you feedback from media at the show, helping buyers and manufacturers get a better understanding of how they work at IFA. John R Quain Contributing Editor to Tom’s Guide TOM’S TAKE Connected devices raise new questions. What products are compatible with each other? What do I need apart from the product if I want to make full use of its possibilities in conjunction with my new hardware? Furthermore, who will help me if something gets damaged or doesn’t work? We regard these questions as an opportunity to assist customers as their partner and navigator – the key to forging long-term loyalty. What’s different about the way Media- Saturn is presenting these products in its stores? As a multichannel retailer, we’re the ideal place to go for customers since, as well as providing product information online, we enable customers to try out products in our stores. The aim is to show customers the possibilities created by the interaction of different products. As well as being sorted by product category, devices at many stores are also displayed in special Smart Home areas where customers can try out combinations of products. Furthermore, our online shop provides far more information than just product specifications. This additional content is available in multiple countries on websites such as in Germany, or in Spain. What differentiates your installation and after sales service? If products are increasingly interconnected, the same should apply to customer services. It’s no good if an installer can connect a smart IF PRODUCTS ARE INCREASINGLY INTERCONNECTED, THE SAME SHOULD APPLY TO CUSTOMER SERVICES. TV to the TV cable but gives up when it comes to Wi-Fi. The same goes for the guarantee. If your notebook isn’t receiving emails, the fault could lie with the computer, the internet connection or the email service. We are therefore trialling cross-product guarantees. Together with start-ups from our Spacelab accelerator programme such as Deutsche Technikberatung, we’re offering cross-product user assistance for the home – rather like a family doctor for consumer electronics. How important is IFA to you and your buyers? IFA is a trend barometer for the consumer electronics sector. It shows dealers which products will be trending next year according to manufacturers. IFA provides us with an overview, gives us an idea of how the market is set to develop, and also allows us to network. For consumers, it’s an opportunity to find out about new technologies. Almost all the main media in Germany and Europe take advantage of IFA to cover consumer electronics in more depth for their readers, viewers and listeners John R Quain is a Contributing Editor to Tom’s Guide – a major CE review site, as well as writing for the New York Times. For Tom’s Guide, he writes primarily about big screen TVs, the latest 4K sets, wearables and smartphones. We asked him what he is looking for at IFA. I am primarily looking for new trends – whether they be in smartphones, in television, in general consumer electronics, but also in white goods and appliances that are already in Europe but that are coming to the United States soon… so a broad section of items. What is standing out this year? Everybody is trying for the smart home and the Internet of Things and everybody has a display for smart home devices. That is the major trend today. Has anything surprised you? One thing I did notice is the number of companies that are reacting to Amazon’s Alexa device, the Echo. Some of them are trying to go one up with facial recognition and gesture recognition. What tips would you give to a journalist visiting the show for the first time? Wear really good shoes, because you’ll be doing a lot of walking. And go to the keynotes, which are interesting, unlike at some other shows. Pick the keynotes and presentations you want to see. There is so much to cover that you need to give yourself a bit of time IFA International • Tuesday 6 th September 2016 15

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