This year has had its challenges, but it’s important to recognise it has had positive aspects too. Within the last 12-13 months, we launched our brand new company name: Cyncly – and we’ve been proactively positioning our branding across all our key markets, and a lot of effort has gone into bringing our assets all under one roof.

Many people were used to the business names we had under our umbrella, so getting people to understand we’re no longer Compusoft, 2020, or Virtual Worlds has been quite a challenge.

Despite this, bringing together all of these teams has also been really exciting. We’ve got lots of key initiatives planned that our customers can get really excited about, and one of our key driving factors for this year was to position our Winner Flex and Virtual Worlds as our best in class.

Looking ahead

One of the defining topics of this year has been sustainability. Customers are more aware of the environmental impact of their choices in kitchens and bathroom products, and expect them to be eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and durable.

In line with this, one thing that we’ve seen a lot of excitement for across Europe is our digital price book for manufacturers, which enables them to provide digital manuals straight to customers, instead of a big physical booklet that needs to be printed. With digital manuals, they can easily update prices and models, and hopefully we’ll see trends like this continue. We also recently announced our views on the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the home improvement industry, and we’ve built a team of experts who can help implement our strategy. We focused on three key principles.

One is that the power of AI is unlocked with data, so optimising AI models is all about the quality and quantity of data available. Cyncly’s deep repository of data collected over the years is a great foundation for AI-enabled capabilities.

The second principle is that the power of AI is in specific applications. This means the most powerful AI models leverage the most recent advances in technology to create vertical solutions that are specific to an industry. Cyncly’s business model provides great opportunities to train AI to create superior outcomes.

The third principle is that the power of AI should be harnessed responsibly. We’ve made sure that Cyncly follows the highest standards of safety and security, so we’re able to responsibly guide the largest engineering team in the market.

Aside from AI, another opportunity is the power of Application Planning Interface (API). This allows multiple computer systems to work together, so it’s essentially a software offering a service to other pieces of software.

We think this will be really useful in showrooms, where multiple software platforms are often used to run the business, and we have Enterprise API which allows our carefully selected third-party partners to integrate with our Flex platform. Linking all of the systems together is proving to be very popular with larger businesses.

Broader scope

Outside of just our industry, there’s also set to be a general election in 2024. Given the distinct lack of tradespeople and design professionals coming into our industry, we need to see a manifesto that incentivises businesses to attract, train, and maintain talent. The government recently released data that shows 8.4% of individuals aged 16-18 are not in any kind of education, employment or training course, which is considerable talent that
could be utilised.

Although it’s important to understand these wider issues, it’s also important to focus on the smaller things we can control, like our mindsets, and mental health. If you allow yourself to be consumed by negativity, you can end up in a really bad place. I think we should consider things like making time to step away from the business on occasion – it can increase productivity, as well as free up the mind to make better decisions. Focusing on the positive things in your life – and the things in your control – is my broad recommendation.

As well as a positive mindset, if I was an independent retailer, my biggest priority for the year would be to attend the kbb Birmingham 2024 show. It’s really a great opportunity to see the latest innovations, design trends, and meet with colleagues across our sector to share ideas. It’s also a great way to highlight how we really are all in this together.



We live in a world of chaos and negativity, but we choose how we respond to that. We can allow ourselves to be consumed by negativity, or stand tall and look at the opportunities presented.

Listen to the full interview with Alex Ainge in a special podcast episode. Go to to find it.

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