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Day 4 - IFA International

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Trade Talk We

Trade Talk We passionately believe that the future is about multi-channel. AH: From my perspective, this is something we felt very passionately about, this world of converging technologies between consumer electronics and mobile. I think from a Carphone Warehouse perspective we saw in America how well it could work, with what we did with Best Buy and how well it works within that environment. That was probably at a time when actually what we were trying to do was put as many mobile devices in people's hands and then build out of these amazing ubiquitous mobile and fixed the networks. The exciting thing for me, is that we are now at a stage where people have the most powerful computers within arms reach - on brilliant networks. The next phase of connectivity comes when all devices and things that people do within peoples’ lives get ticked off one by one. SJ: in terms of personal feelings about this, of course I think it's a massive responsibility. Andrew and I are responsible for 45,000 people working in our business. I think we are keenly aware that we are responsible for not only ensuring those livelihoods are secure, but also that we build a great place to work. I am feeling very excited about the future, as we want to double the value of the company and we think we can do it in the next few years. I think I would be being dishonest though if I didn't think it was quite a scary prospect bringing these two giant companies together. But I think we are very blessed with the people we have working here, so we are pretty confident we can do it. Some UK media have claimed this was a move to thwart the onset of all online sales operators. How do you react to that? SJ: We think we are different to pure-play retailers in a number of important respects. We have found a way to price the vast bulk of our goods in line with or better than online retailers and do that profitably, whilst providing service to customers in our stores and allowing them to touch, look and feel these devices. I am acutely aware that when people buy a large television or washing machine or computer, they are making a significant investment in terms of their wages and we think it's our duty to do that really well. At the moment, our online growth is faster than our principal online competitors in the UK and most of our markets, and we certainly believe that we can flourish alongside them, if not defeat them. Why do you believe your sales process is better? AH: One of the most important things we do is to have conversations every day in our stores with customers about what they are trying to get out of technology and what it can do for them. That is the power that we have, there are literally thousands of transactions happening every minute of the day and thousands of conversations where we have added real value to both our customers and to our suppliers. In the past year Carphone Warehouse has also introduced the biggest digital workforce in the UK. We have deployed a tablet-based sales process, Pin Point, throughout the whole business where we are giving real-time pricing information against our competitors. We are providing real access to live tariff information showing people millions of options on a screen, showing interactive videos. And part of those processes and those journeys will roll out across all of the Dixons Carphone business. SJ: It's interesting, more than 80% of our customers use both online and in-store channels. We passionately believe that the future is about multi-channel. We can’t find any global player in single-channel in our sector that is making money, and we think that the reason for that is very simple. It’s that customers making these decisions want to see and look and touch and feel. They want great advice, and the combination of Carphone Warehouse’s digital sales force technology and our ability to showcase, demonstrate, talk about and give really good advice about a product is absolutely unique. We couple that with a really good online experience in a way that we don't think any of our principal competitors can do, whether online or offline, so we do think our sales process is better. Olaf Adam is a leading European journalist and has, for years, been vice-president of EISA - the European Imaging and Sound Association. This is his 14th year at IFA but, he quips, it feels like the 100th. We asked Olaf what he sees as being the hottest topics at this year’s show Certainly 'cloud' again, as in the ongoing trend of devices and services to communicate with each other. Growing screen sizes and 4K/UHD resolution of TVs will be something everyone speaks about, especially if broadcasters finally announce specific plans to roll out 4k broadcasts to the general public. What are the hottest product categories? Wearables, for sure, although the market is still waiting for solutions that the consumer actually wants and accepts. Any tips for a breakthrough name, service or application at IFA? I believe it is about time that 3D Printing will make a significant step towards mass market awareness. If it does, this has the potential to really change people's lives. Do you think vendors / manufacturers should change the way they communicate to the industry? If so, how? Well, as a communication professional the answer can only be 'yes'. The way we communicate changes constantly and rapidly, and that includes all areas: private, B2B, B2C. This means, vendors and THE CRITICAL EYE – AND COMMENTS OF THE MEDIA AT IFA Each day in IFA International, we will be bringing you feedback from media at the show, helping buyers and manufacturers get a better understanding of how they work at IFA. INSIGHTS OF IFA JOURNALIST VETERAN Olaf Adam Journalist manufacturers will have to adjust their communication strategies and the channels they use with the same speed and regularity or they will be left behind by a fastchanging market without even knowing why. How important is IFA for you in your information gathering process and what do you find are the most useful aspects in this respect? If it were only for information about product releases and announcements, reading a few dozen e-mails would do the job quite efficiently. But shows like IFA are essential if you want to get a deeper understanding of the market, of the things people are interested about and what will come next. IFA brings together thousands of professionals that are here for the same purpose and speaking to as many of them as possible can give you an idea about the shape of things to come one piece of the puzzle at a time. www.ifa-international.org IFA International • Monday 8 th September 2014 15

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