Welcome to Influencers, our annual series that speaks with the heads of retailers, suppliers and industry bodies to find out what is happening in appliances and electronics and how different companies are shaping its future.
James Vogdanos is the national product manager at ASKO Australia. He thinks the industry itself is currently the biggest threat to future prosperity.
How has the first half of 2014 been for your business?
Better than expected! With all the doomsayers claiming otherwise our business is up in every category we operate in. This has probably been due to ASKO not resting on our laurels but constantly striving to improve in all facets of our business.
What are your predictions for the second half of the year?
The second half of the year is historically more buoyant than the first, so we expect an even stronger second half.
What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?
An opportunity to be more engaging with potential customers and build a relationship not based solely on price of the product. We see service as a key driver that has yet to be exploited to its full potential.
What threats are currently present in the industry?
Ourselves. The erosion of price is the biggest threat. A consumer is willing to pay X for an item which cost’s very little to build. Yet we believe they will not spend X on an appliance that has a high degree of research and development attached and a high cost of production.
What is your favourite product of 2014 so far?
Easy — one of our 80-litre washing machines — a large drum washing machine that can cope with all sorts of loads yet does not have an extremely large footprint, so it is capable of being used in a house with limited space to a house of sprawling dimensions. Finally, a European washing machine catering to the large family!