Canon appoints category manager to strengthen reseller channels

By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: Canon Australia will be focussing this year on its category management and key retail accounts, beginning with the recent addition of Jason McLean, general manager of sales — consumer imaging products group.

"Canon is really investing in category management,” McLean told Current.com.au

“We want to make a serious attempt to understand consumer buying habits at both a ground and store level, including the affects that retail staff have on these processes.”

According to a press notice from Canon, McLean was hired to take over responsibility for further developing and fostering the important relationships between Canon and its trade partners by capitalising on market leadership and innovation.

“The position of general manager of sales requires a strategic approach, and a deep understanding of reseller channels to ensure that Canon’s core differentiators sustain growth and leverage market share in a mutually beneficial relationship,” said Canon senior general manager – consumer imaging products group, Allan Corder.

McLean formerly worked at Kellogg Australia for 12 years, where he had extensive dealings will retailers, including large chains like Woolworths, Kmart and Target.

“I came from a grocery level, where suppliers don’t really make an effort to understand shopping behaviour, and how influential a store can be on consumer purchasing decisions, like appliance retailers do. One of the things I am noticing here is that the amount of retail training in this sector is outstanding.”

McLean said that Canon currently offers learning modules that both consumers and retailers can log onto, online, but he sees retail knowledge and training as a crucial element in the buying process that needs to be further developed.

“We have internal modules that customers and retailers can train with online, so they can understand the products, and category management this year will bring more of a coordinated focus to this. But, we want to make sure the resellers know also how to engage with their customers and communicate our products and ideas effectively.

“Canon as a company is outstanding – the products are outstanding and the people are passionate. Canon invests a significant amount in innovation, which shows that it is here for the long run. We need to give our retail customers a reason to sell Canon, and that’s where I come in.”

McLean will be traveling to visit Canon’s key retail accounts over the coming months, to familiarise himself with store layout, retail processes and customers in general.

McLean said that he thinks Canon’s retail staff remuneration package is a model that works, and encourages sales staff to sell beyond expectations, though he didn’t reveal the details of the incentive program.

McLean also said that Canon’s dialogue with customers is outstanding, and he hopes his dialogue with retailers will reach the same level.

“We’re reviewing our point of sale strategy at the same time as we’re reviewing our category strategy. We realise that we’re not using it effectively as we can, and we mean to change this. We want to find out what retailers think of POS material. Does it clutter their stores? Or do they think it is effective? They are some of the best people to ask because they are watching all day the reaction towards our messages," he said.

“We are confident that Jason’s background and experience, fueled by his passion for innovation, will continue to build on the momentum Canon has in the market. His leadership and strong sales strategy abilities in his previous role at Kellogg Australia exemplify that he is in a strong position to take on this role,” said Corder.

“I am very pleased to join a company that prides itself on quality as well as having one of the most innovative ranges of digital imaging products available. I look forward to working closely with our channel partners and implementing new initiatives to further strengthen Canon’s position as the first port of call for our resellers and consumers,” said McLean.

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