Panasonic restructures its indie support network
After a successful 12 months, Panasonic is making some business changes to allow for shared future growth with it’s retailers across the UK independent sector.
The CE giant is repurposing its current sales structure and increasing its face-to-face call frequency for its wider customer base.
News of the changes has already been communicated to Panasonic’s independent retailer network, but ERT Editor, Jack Cheeseman, spoke exclusively with Graham Goldsmith, General Manager UK Independents at Panasonic, to discuss the changes in greater detail and what this really means for the indie market.
“One of my remits within the company when I joined was to look at how we efficiently service the independent market, maintain our direct relationship and increase face time with as many indies as possible. This is key for us to continue to grow in the future,” he began.
“It’s very much a positive move. We haven’t made any structural changes to the sales team since 2014, and five years is a long time in retail, so we felt it was the right time. The market is tough out there, but nevertheless, we have to become more efficient and focussed, this allowed us to reset what our aspirations are within our business.”
At the time that ERT spoke with Mr Goldsmith, Panasonic was going through an interim period which saw a number of structural changes to the Area Sales Manager team and as a result created the opportunity to recruit two new Regional Account Executives for the independent market. The new additions are Jordan Waller, who will look after the south region, while Matthew Gahan will look after the north. Both have previous experience of working in the CE market across the independent sector.
Throughout July, independent retailers began to see these changes implemented and the members of the newly-structured sales force out in the field.
“This, for us, creates a leaner, more agile sales structure,” continued Mr Goldsmith. “We’re making sure we are seeing and going through the doors of our wider independent base, far more than what we were previously.
“The indies are a huge focus and a really integral part of what we do. We have to align and become more efficient in the way in which we operate with the independent market, bearing in mind our competition has implemented a different contact strategy, and not necessarily direct. Therefore, we clearly have to react to market needs and address the changes in our customers’ requirements.”
Mr Goldsmith reported that he believes that some manufacturers have distanced themselves from the independent trade and moved their independent relationships through buying groups; while Panasonic understands the merits of this model, there will undoubtedly be opportunities to trade with buying groups but on an ad-hoc basis, he told ERT.
UK Training roadshow
Following Panasonic’s retailer showcase in January and the positive response from its customers, the company decided to re-launch its UK training roadshow – which hasn’t taken place for nearly four years.
Mr Goldsmith commented: “There was excitement around this at the showcase; our customers asked for this and it’s something we’re delivering. We’re extremely excited.
“It’s a great opportunity to engage with store staff and get product into the hands of the people that actually sell on the front line. We are dedicated to the promises that we’ve made along the way.”