By James Wells

MELBOURNE: Asko Appliances has announced it will follow other major appliance brands by establishing a pro-forma agency arrangement with retailers who will act as agents.

Under the system, the retailer acts as an agent and receives a commission from the supplier who owns the stock on the floor and organises delivery, installation and demonstration of the product.

Asko Appliances managing director, Richard Sim, told, the system will be called ‘Laundry Care’ and is designed to fulfill the needs of the retailer and the consumer simultaneously.

“First of all, we are selling an entire laundry concept, not just a washing machine,” Sim said.

“This incorporates the innovative products Asko brings to this category including our hidden helpers laundry accessories, including pull-out ironing board, pedestal drawer as well as our top end range of condenser dryers, front load washing machines and full length drying cabinets.

“We are providing retailers with the ‘Lego blocks’ that can be assembled anywhere in the consumer’s home. What Asko can do is allow for the configuration of the laundry to be integrated into any location within the home; under the stairs, in the kitchen; anywhere.

“We feel this concept will also be popular with architects who can now deliver complete Asko laundry solutions as opposed to just talking individual products.

“We believe there is a niche in the market — simple integrated Scandinavian made and designed solutions which are specifically targeted at making life easier.

“If you re-build your kitchen, it adds three times the value to your home. The laundry can now be placed anywhere in the home to add value, rather than perceiving it as a grudge purchase.”

Asko will roll out the concept to 27 stores from April with key individual retailers — Narta, Harvey Norman and David Jones as well as several important independents.

“We have a selection criteria for the retailers involved in this particular program based on current sales value. Under this program, the stock belongs to us and we will construct the displays within the stores including a dedicated LCD television running. We are pleased that the dealers who have partnered with us for this concept are moving other brands to provide Asko with an expanded floorspace area.

“This is a forerunner of things to come and we expect our laundry solutions to grow with a range of add-ons which will strengthen our business.

“We want to make it as simple as possible. The order goes through, it is then installed and demonstrated by us, maximizing the relationship the customer has with Asko. The program is a paperless system with orders placed 24 hours a day, seven days a week over the internet within a secure website and delivered within 48 hours including an in-home demonstration. What this means is that both the retailer and the end-consumer benefit from Asko’s service capability.

“Our new range is positioned at the aspiring consumer who is brand conscious and wants not only a quality brand but innovative solutions.”