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.
Jon Pysing is the sales director at Rawsons Elite Appliances, a leading Adelaide showroom and the authorised importer of Teka. He provided some fascinating insights into the premium appliance market.
How has the first half of 2014 been for your business?
After an encouraging start to 2014, with strong, confident sales in January and February, March and April saw the return to the doldrums of 2013. We felt that the change of government federally had filled consumers with confidence. South Australia went to the polls in March and with no change away from the Labor State Government, confidence was quickly sapped. That said, I feel that there is more of a spring in the step of clients over what there was 18 months ago and we are seeing this right now in increased traffic to our stores.
What are your predictions for the second half of the year?
The residential building market appears to be picking up, with us holding a strong forward order book. Coming off a flat year last 12 months, our builders indicate that plenty of slabs are being poured after the delays in moving jobs through approvals and client reluctance to sign off. This is also reflected in private dwelling renovations increasing now that there is some Federal Government direction. I am expecting a stronger finish to the year than the start.
What opportunities do you see for the electrical retailing industry?
I’m encouraged by the continued number of clients that still choose to make this major purchasing decision with a premium specialty retailer. This has driven both our in-store and online strategies. We are engaging 24/7 via our websites nationally, which, reinforcing our values since 1946, instils confidence into potential clients looking into our business.
Those who choose to engage with their clients by offering a more encompassing approach to sales will gain the most. Rawsons Elite Appliances has only ever offered products with the strongest pedigree. Brands such as Miele, Smeg, Neff, Gaggenau, Franke, Liebherr and Teka provide clients with generations of support from their factories. It has been our practice for over 35 years to provide our own trained technicians to fully support our clients’ purchases. This combined with the highest trained dedicated consultants and loads of in-store demonstrations help us continue to be the market leaders in South Australia.
What threats are currently present in the industry?
The proliferation of ‘me too’ brands into the Australian market. A brand is just that: a brand. It’s the products that come from factories whose name appears above the door that matter. Look around the country at the number of OEM products. It is laughable. These brands have absolutely no manufacturer or technical support behind them. These brands appear in name only in the Australian market and are given European sounding names to lend them legitimacy. They are hawked through importers and distributors who add absolutely no value to the product. Yet the consumer is still being conned into thinking they are buying something of substance.
What is your favourite product of 2014 so far?
The Bora Basic induction cooktop with inbuilt down-draught air extraction system. I cannot recall a product that offers such a resounding solution to what has been an issue from the start: how to remove cooking air from the kitchen. The only reason why rangehoods evolved into design pieces was because they were always on show. Bora eliminates the need for all overhead canopies, both wall- and island-mounted. The cost savings on purchase and installation for the client are tremendous. Allowing more spending on more exciting appliances such as steam or wine appliances.