Samsung is planning a big push for its Kitchen Circle support programme for specialist kitchen retailers at the kbb show in March next year.
Speaking exclusively to kbbreview, Jonathan Hartley, channel manager for kitchen retail and B2B at Samsung UK said that although, the scheme was originally launched in 2019, the Covid pandemic made it difficult to deliver all of the support benefits that were intended to be at the heart of the scheme.
He told kbbreview: “The big thing we are about at Samsung is engagement, onboarding, training and knowledge and a lot of that was taken away from us [because of Covid].
“We are going to the kbb show next year to launch Kitchen Circle again, which will be a case of taking everything that we have done already, which we did well, and re-engage and reconnect.”
Hartley (pictured below) continued: “And there are a lot of people who aren’t part of the Kitchen Circle that we want to bring on board, and so it is about incremental growth. There are also retailers who are selling Samsung and are Kitchen Circle members and we have not had that chance to be that customer-facing with them, other than digitally, so they are not feeling the full benefit. So it’s about putting that overarching arm around them and that is where we will take it from March.”
Hartley said that although there had been a good take-up of Kitchen Circle, they did not yet have “as many as we would like”.
He added: “We don’t intend to try to capture all kitchen retailer showrooms. What we are doing is continuing to be selective in the way that we want to partner with them. We don’t just want to put product into showrooms for the sake of it. With Kitchen Circle, we want to work with retailers to train them, give them the knowledge and make sure that all of Samsung’s hero products, like the Dual Cook Flex products and side-by-side refrigeration, jump out and become something that, when they are talking to their consumers, can add value.”
Hartley explained that Samsung had increased its domestic appliance sales in the UK “substantially” over the past four years and had achieved “probably double the target that we had set ourselves four years ago”.
He continued: “We also need to give the retailer a reason to sell Samsung, and I think they are ready. And the reason is that you have the latest technology, coming from a technology brand that makes cooking, not a cooking brand that mixes with technology. You also have the five-year parts-and-labour warranty.”
When asked whether Samsung had been affected by the supply chain problems that have beset many manufacturers, Hartley said: “We suffer from delays just like everybody else, but those delays have not been caused by a big gap in supply. With people back in the factory, we could build back up to capacity, so the product is built. The difficulty then comes in getting the product from the factory over here. Shipping container rates have gone through the roof and there’s the problem of getting those containers from the ships into the ports, and then finding the lorry drivers to get them from the ports.
“Long story short, we suffer problems with stock just like other people do, it’s just that we forecast for success. And because we over-forecast, it means we are building in a buffer. We continually have weekly deliveries to our factories from ordering six to 13 weeks in advance and because of our robust supply chain management. I am now ordering for next year.”
And commenting on how Samsung’s retailers have been affected, he added: “I don’t have retailers ringing me saying that they have holes in their showroom because of Samsung. And if where we have not had the full range available when they wanted it, we have had other products, because of the scale and size of the range, so that they can either upgrade to a better model or move sideways to an equal model.
“What I am hearing coming back is not that we can’t supply the product, what I am hearing is that the hard thing is actually to get fitters.”
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