Steve Scogings, chairman of Combined Independents Holdings (CIH) – an electrical buying group which is part of Euronics – addressed the challenge of manufacturers selling direct to consumers in his speech at the group's annual Christmas lunch and Supplier Awards event, which was held at Claridge's in London in December, and attended by 110 guests.
Scogings said: "Many of you in the room have D2C challenges in your business, where your senior heads see this as an opportunity to grow your business share. It seems from the latest report in Which? that this is not always the case. Why continue down this path when we can offer you a better solution?
"As independents we are the experts in managing consumers' issues, we are on hand to help a consumer who cannot work a new product or is having issues on how to tune their TV or has a service issue and wants someone to hold their hand through what they need to do to get the product repaired. We also deliver and install better than any third-party delivery company as its our reputation on the line. Consumers are continually choosing our members to fulfil their needs because of this second to none service offering. My hope this year is that we all work together to confront this challenge and help produce a solution that helps all of us to achieve the growth we require but also give the consumer the best experience. You do not need to do D2C to have a strong brand and if you are willing to work with us, we can prove it."
He added that the group will be launching its new e-commerce platfrom – Euronics Evolution – in April 2023, in a move to support suppliers, and the aim is to expand this online offering. "This will utilise the 600+ stores we have over the whole country to highlight what they all have to offer whilst also giving the consumer a wider choice and the bonus of dealing with a local company. This will further enhance our standing with consumers and give all our members the chance to get involved online and showcase the many benefits they offer their local communities," he said.
He also revealed that the group has moved into its new state-of-the-art facility in Tankersley, and is in the process of installing solar panels to the building in a bid to become self-sufficient when it comes to power. Additionally, the group has changed all the forklift trucks to electric to further enhance its corporate aims of sustainability throughout the company.
The event included the group's annual supplier awards, which featured four categories. The winner of the White Goods Supplier of the Year was Hoover/Candy, while Sony won Brown Goods Supplier of the Year. The third award went to the brand that has shown a commitment to the independent, with the winner being Liebherr. The final award was given to the supplier that has been voted for by the members, and this was won by Beko/Blomberg.