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.

Today, E&S Trading MD Rob Sinclair tells us what phenomenon has the potential to cripple the appliance retail industry.

Training and product knowledge is essential: Rob Sinclair.
Training and product knowledge is essential: Rob Sinclair.

How has the first half of 2014 been for your organisation?

2014 has been good so far at E&S Trading. We’re seeing a bit more traffic in the stores compared to the previous years and overall a slight lift in sales figures. However, there is still relatively low consumer confidence in general, which takes the urgency out of the transactions. Our customers are in no hurry to make a decision, and they are generally quite cautious in making the final investment.

What are you predictions for the second half of the year?

The second half of the year looks optimistic so far; increased residential building activity should translate into a continued lift in sales for us.

There’s also the question of how the required toughness of the 2014 budget will impact consumer confidence: only time will tell.

What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?

As one of the most under-trained industries, I believe a huge opportunity exists for all retailers to invest in their staff. Seeing customers walking into a store with more knowledge than the staff is crippling for our business.

We should see more training that focuses not only on sales process, but also a genuine understanding as to the unique offers the respective retail business has. Anecdotally, I’ve heard how lacklustre as an industry we are performing when it comes to attending training to better understand the products we offer to consumers.

What threats are currently present in the industry?

The biggest threat is the constant price erosion due to poorly trained staff with little or no product knowledge resorting to the one thing they know best: discounting!

What’s your favourite product of 2014 so far?

The Gaggenau 400 series handle-less automatic door opening oven. This new line is one of the most stylish looking ovens in the market. Great quality and finish, amazing features, and love the handle-less look. Proudly available at E&S Trading of course!

Gaggenau 400 series.
Gaggenau 400 series.

To read the full series right now, pick up the July issue of Appliance Retailer magazine.