By Martin Vedris

EPPPING, VIC: Increasing competition among retailers is leading to poor retail service levels and lack of sales training in the electrical appliance industry, particularly in big footprint superstores, according to long-time Retravision store manager, Carman Sassano.

“I’ve been in this game for 20 years and managing for 18 years, I think that because there are so many electrical retailers around, and there are way too many stores, the expertise of the staff on the floor is very limited,” said Sassano of Retravision Epping.

“You’re just hiring from the sake of hiring so you get a lot of salespeople turning customers off because they aren’t qualified to do the job.”

While he says the problem does affect the entire industry, Sassano says the problem is particularly prominent in the larger superstores.

“Big stores like Clives and Harveys really haven’t got time to really train staff properly. The number of customers that have come in here saying ‘we’ve just came from Clives and Harvey Norman, they’ve got young kids there that don’t even know what they’re talking about.’ That’s what’s killing the industry.

“There’s only a certain amount of expertise out there.”

Sassano says that smaller stores can compete against the larger stores on service and even price, but he says it is a challenge.

“People want to go to really big stores now,” he said. “Because the perception from customers is ‘I can get everything here and I’ll probably get a really good deal’, but they can actually get a better deal from a store that’s run by the owner and who is on the premises. But to get that message across to the public is very hard.”