Franke Home Solutions president and CEO Barbara Borra has said it has a ‘duty’ to support its retailers and drive customers into showrooms.
Speaking exclusively to kbbreview, Borra said: “Our duty is to support and facilitate the work of our trade partners through communication channels to the consumer. This is very important not only for us as a brand, but also for our trade partners, so that we continue to build momentum, understanding and recognition of the brand among consumers.
“That’s got to be the ultimate goal, right? To ensure we help drive footfall into the showrooms.”
Borra also outlined how being a good supplier was all about relationships and that even when Covid intervened, serving its retailers was still a priority.
“During the Covid crisis, retailers had to rely on good suppliers because there was a peak of demand. Serving them perfectly became difficult at times, but what was key was that retailers could see which ones were really going the extra mile for them. They saw the true colours of many suppliers. It’s all about relationships when things get tough.”
Borra heads up Franke’s Home Solutions division, which was set up in January 2021 with the goal of steadily improving Franke’s position in the kitchen market. She was brought in to “turn around” the old Kitchen Systems division.
“We’d got a bit complacent,” admitted Borra, “which helped feed the competition. And by the time the crisis was over, our relationships with some customers in certain countries had been compromised. We needed to put that right which is where I came in.”
The UK market is one of the top performing countries for Franke Home Solutions and it has recently launched appliances here.
Franke has tried to launch appliances in the UK before, but Borra outlined how she believes its new offering can help address some of the supply chain issues that have been hampering kitchen retailers since Covid.
“We recognise that there are ongoing supply issues in the appliance channel and feel that our portfolio can provide our network of dealers with a solution. Kitchen specialist retailers have also become quite disillusioned with selling appliances as margins have been eroded across the board due to their availability online.”
Acknowledging the threat to retailer margins from online sales, she added: “This is a completely new range designed to meet the needs of consumers who are increasingly specialists in and enthusiasts of cooking. The expanded portfolio simplifies the supply chain and gives retailers an element of profitability as they aren’t available online. The full package gives an alignment of design as well, which is another plus point for retailers.”
Summing up what Franke can offer its retailers, Borra said: “It’s about concentrating on what we can bring to the market, making sure it’s meaningful for the retailer and consumers and that we can manage costs and the supply so that our retailers are able to meet the needs of their customers. Being agile so that you are prepared for when the market stabilises is also essential.”
• See full interview with Barbara Borra in the January issue of kbbreview