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 we enjoy a cup of coffee with George Liakatos, head of sales at Jura Australia. He says the famous name in Swiss coffee machines will be focusing more and more on the point-of-sale as it seeks to emerge from challenging conditions.

George Liakatos
POS focus: George Liakatos.

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

The challenging conditions from 2013 have continued into the new year for our category, however, we still recorded growth in the first and second quarters of 2014. We launched new products that were positively received by our retail partners with the first orders being shipped in May.

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

With our new products now in the market we are expecting to continue and build on the growth we have seen already this year. Early indications are positive with strong sales continuing post Mother’s Day and into the middle of the year.

What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?

Consumer behaviour is shifting and now, more than ever, we should be investing more at the point of sale. By investing in an improved layout and display, retailers can positively affect the consumer’s perception of the overall service quality, the merchandise value and the value for money they would receive.

What threats are currently present in the industry?

Consumer confidence is unlikely to improve in the short term and this is a concern. In the coffee segment, we are still seeing a shift towards homogeny where convenience is still one of the leading buying decisions for consumers, with grocery chains showing an increased presence in this segment. Retailers should focus on the coffee experience instead, as they can provide a specialised service that the grocery chains can not.

What is your favourite product of 2014 so far?

The Impressa F8 TFT. Its new TFT interface makes it so easy to operate and the coffee quality continues to improve. Already it has been recognised with several awards including, a Red Dot Design award and a Good Design Selection.

Jura Impressa F8
Choice of coffee: Jura Impressa F8 TFT.