Paul Tyler looks to the future as CIH celebrates 60 years of success

InsightFeatures Tue 19th Dec 2023 by KBBFocus

Paul Tyler looks to the future as CIH celebrates 60 years of success

Paul Tyler looks to the future as CIH celebrates 60 years of success

Paul Tyler, CEO of Combined Independent Holdings (CIH), which represents the Euronics buying group in the UK, reveals how it is adapting to support retailers in challenging times, and why strength in numbers is such an asset for independents.

Q: As CIH celebrates its 60th anniversary milestone, what do you think have been its greatest achievements so far?
A: Looking back, CIH’s most significant accomplishments can be split into two distinct areas. Firstly, CIH – the electrical buying group, part of Euronics, Europe's largest electrical buying group – has made remarkable strides in terms of the legacy it has established. Bringing together independent retailers and pooling their buying power so that they deliver the competitiveness of a national brand on a local scale, is an incredible achievement. By leveraging the powerful identity of Euronics and uniting it with the independent high-street businesses at the heart of local communities, we have instilled the confidence of being a part of a large buying group with the care of a family-run store.

Secondly, over the last couple of years, we have made huge strides in moving our members forward to meet the needs of the consumer in this digital age. This can be exemplified by the recent launch of retailers' individual microsites. We've provided each member with the chance to establish their business on a digital platform, preserving their independence while enabling them to connect with a vast online audience, something that has been proven crucial through the Covid years.

Q: What are the biggest challenges currently facing local independent retailers? How is CIH helping to support retailers with those challenges?
A: There are a few issues that the local independent and our members are facing. Firstly, a key pillar of providing premium customer service is being able to deliver products in a timely fashion for consumers. For our members, this means having stock ready and available. The problem then becomes, where do you store that stock? At CIH we hold that responsibility for our members. We provide a large warehouse space that holds this stock, and we can deliver it to our members in a timely way, up to 3 times a week. This way we can support the premium customer service our members are renowned for.

Another key challenge is that customers are changing. As a new generation of ‘digital natives’ reach adulthood, we see the growing importance of having an online presence to be visible to a new pool of customers. However, we knew that whilst bringing our members online is key, we don’t want to lose their family names, and individual identities in the process. We launched Evolution, which gives each member access to a unique URL, so they can manage their own microsite allowing them to be more visible within the communities they support. When customers enter their postcode into the Euronics website, they can see the exact prices available to them, stock availability, and delivery costs and timings. Through this, our members can continue to be relevant with their customers.

Q: In your view, why should independent retailers become members of a buying group?
A: Joining a buying group presents retailers with myriad compelling reasons. CIH has built strong relationships over the years and have access to over 70 major manufacturers. For the independent retailer to do this would take an inordinate amount of time and resources, to set up an individual account for each one, negotiate the best deals, and store all that stock to sell. At CIH, we take all the responsibility, simplifying that process for our members so that they can spend their time focusing on their customers within their local community. For example, invoices are all directed to the CIH office meaning members only need to make one payment per month, reducing unnecessary paperwork.

We also offer specialist skills and services that would not be available to many family-run high street stores. That includes a dedicated marketing team who provide support and material to every member as well as delivering an omni-channel marketing campaign that incorporates digital, media and POS to promote the Euronics brand in partnership with the family business name.

As part of a buying group, you have access to more competitive pricing as a result of the overall buying power that all members achieve accumulatively, all whilst maintaining your family business name above the door. So, the real question is, why wouldn’t you join?

Q: Looking ahead, how is CIH planning to develop its offering for members, agents and customers?
A: We are always committed to developing what we offer to support our members, as they are at the heart and the owners of CIH.  We have recently deployed three-member support managers on the road, who are allowing us to gain valuable insight into the real challenges our members face as well as providing constant accessible support to our members.

Our members are the core of CIH, we are constantly evolving and looking for new and innovative ways to support them. We are an open forum and here to help members grow and develop their businesses.

Tags: insight, features, paul tyler, cih, euronics

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