INTERVIEW: Insights into Innergie

PCR talks to Steven May to find out more about the new power brand and opportunities for retail
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New power brand Innergie made a big splash when it launched into the trade at PCR Boot Camp earlier this year. Country manager Steven May gave a stirring speech at the conference that urged retailers to find what inspires them.

PCR was keen to find out more about Innergie, and what inspires May.

The Innergie brand was developed from Delta Electronics – which has as its mission ‘To provide innovative, clean and energy-efficient solutions for a better tomorrow.’ It seems rather more altruistic than most company missions. Does pursuing that goal get easier or harder as technology advances?
As Delta is an ODM/OEM manufacturer for almost all of the world’s leading electronics manufacturers, we are in a unique position of being responsible for partnership development of new, innovative technologies that power and improve power to the hardware that these brands manufacture. When we are able to bring improvements in efficiency to the devices that we power we are able to introduce significant improvements and reductions in environmental impact for the entire life of their branded products.

When did Innergie launch into the UK?
We launched the Innergie brand to the trade at the PCR Boot Camp this May with tremendous success in raising our profile as the new power brand in the industry.

As the business is divided into the core sectors of laptop charging and mobile charging we are working across both markets, which is really exciting. Of course in the consumer electronics market we have the opportunity of bringing together both of the categories in an innovative and exciting way. When a customer comes into a store it’s not a section that they are looking for, it’s simply a power solution and this is where as a brand we have a unique solution – mobile and laptop charging under one name.

How’s it been going since the launch?
Since PCR Boot Camp, we have been making considerable headway with the Innergie brand in the UK through the independent stores and multiple retail outlets. As we started the launch phase, we discovered that every person we encountered had the same problem – how to get power for their products where they wanted it and when they wanted it. We have been staggered by the response from senior business leaders, category managers and buyers – when we show them our product range, then ask if they would ever give a sample back, no one ever says yes. Now for people who get their hands on products every day that's quite an endorsement for the new brand on the block.

What would you say to retailers who don’t stock any Innergie products at the moment? Presumably you feel it’s a good opportunity for them to create add-on sales?
Having previously been the business director at Monster Cable I know the value of attachment selling and both laptop and mobile charging solutions represent a real opportunity in this area. However the uniqueness of the Innergie approach is where the profit opportunity is for retailers.

Imagine you have lost or broken your laptop charger and you need a new one. Like every other customer you head for your own destination store, you encounter a sales person, and now comes the tricky part. You might not know the model of laptop you have, which means the advisor then has to identify or guess what power requirement you have, then select the right charger. But what if there was a different way, the Innergie way...

Two simple questions could get to the product that will be best for you, not best for the sales person but actually best for you as a consumer. The right power firstly, based on the size of your laptop and the sure knowledge that the Innergie pack contains the correct connecting tip for over 93 per cent of the laptops produced for the UK in the last three years. The second question is directed at where you want to charge your laptop. This way the sales colleague offers you a single product based on what you need and how you intend to use your laptop. Simple!

As a direct result of the Innergie attachment selling method a retailer can increase the average selling price of all of their replacement laptop chargers by 50 per cent, just by teaching their sales team to ask the right questions.

The wonderful thing about the Innergie range is that we have done the same thing for both laptop and mobile charging that shows, not just your sales team but also your customers, exactly which product to choose based on what they want to do.

Is it hard to convince consumers that it’s okay to use a charging device that isn’t the same brand as their laptop or phone or tablet?
There will always be customers that are totally brand loyal and we respect that, but who wears all of the Adidas kit from trainers, socks, track suit and the hat? Most of us know that there are first, second and third party products that support and complement our original equipment to the benefit of how we use them. After all, we have choices and those secondary branded products have always been designed by people like us, who wanted to give us something extra that we didn't get with the original equipment.

At PCR Boot Camp you gave an inspiring talk that encouraged retailers to, ‘go out and find the products that will inspire the customers to buy for you,’ which has to be great advice, particularly if they can go to trade shows and see new gadgets that way. What inspires you in the market at the moment?
Recently I have found myself asking friends, industry professionals and journalists the same question is one of my most fruitful sources. Here’s a selection of what’s inspiring me:

 *Bubble Pix – a 360 degree camera invested by Englishman Tom Lawton; it will change social media photography forever this summer.

 *Tech 21 – D30 protective cases for hero handsets, tablets and laptops. Look for YouTube Tech21 D30 Demo and be as astounded as me to see what this product can do.

 *Gadget Saver – Two Irish guys who invested and patented a solution recovering your invaluable data
from your phone when you make the big mistake of getting your device wet.

 *YouView.com – It will change the way you watch TV forever. An amazing idea that took so long in development that it should have just been an App.

What’s coming up next for Innergie?
Delta works with all of the world’s leading consumer electronics brands and it is our reputation, gained over 40 years, that brings this expertise and innovation into the products that consumers use every day. New innovations will bring the power not just to where the consumers are, but where and how they use their products. Think of the designer watch on your wrist, it’s kinetic, think of the sat nav on your bike, why isn't that kinetic or solar powered for that matter?

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Innergie will stay targeted on our area of expertise – being the only consumer brand totally focused solely on power products for the benefit of consumers.

At Boot Camp the focus during the conference kept returning to customer service – would you agree it’s a key way for indie retailers to differentiate themselves from the competition?

The value of the benefit that exceptional customer service offers will always outweigh the cost of the feature benefit that any product offers.

If you believe that you offer exceptional customer service then ask your customers to recommend you to their friends and colleagues, and you will have people coming back to your business telling you exactly that. All you have to do is deliver the service and ask the question.

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