WATCH OUT FOR WOW FACTOR
Written on the 28 September 2011
AFTER it was forced to close two of its 15 stores due to the January floods, newly appointed WOW Sight and Sound CEO Guy Griffiths has implemented a new growth strategy with an e-commerce and online focus.
Griffiths says building the company’s online presence will create numerous opportunities for the company.
“Our strategy will be to look at two key areas for growth – the operational efficiency within our store, which we look at every year and developing the e-commerce side of our business and our online presence,” he says.
“I think you need to take away the thought that e-commerce is a threat – it’s an opportunity. For example, we talk to our customers in many ways, through catalogues, television and radio and now we need to talk to them through the web.
“E-commerce is unique because it allows our customers to compare and contrast products, read product reviews and it provides us with another way to interact with them.”
Looking ahead, Griffiths says efficient marketing and the re-design of all stores will be other areas in which the consumer electrical retail chain will grow.
“We need to ensure our marketing is as efficient as it can be so we continue attracting customers in what is currently a highly competitive environment and to help us stand out and be different to our competitors,” he says.
“We’re also continuing with a slow evolution of the design of our stores to make the shopping experience better for customers. It’s not something that will happen within a couple of days or a month though.”
WOW Sight and Sound has 15 stores - five in the Brisbane metropolitan area, five in regional Queensland and five interstate stores.
“We had great results last year and were pleased with our level of trade compared to our competitors, but the floods hit us hard this year and we lost two of our stores in Oxley and Toowoomba,” says Griffiths.
“We managed to get our Oxley store up and running within seven weeks which was a great result, but the Toowoomba store suffered extensive damage and it took about 14 weeks to get up and running.”
While the store closures impacted sales, the good news for Griffiths was the number of total units sold went up 20 per cent, offset by the price deflation.
“We were also helped by the rising Australian dollar, so our costs came down and those reductions were passed on to the customer,” he says.
“JB Hi-Fi recently purchased Clive Anthony’s, but they had to write off a large amount due to this purchase. We don’t have any plans for a similar extension to compete and we’ll instead be focusing on consumer electronics.”
Griffiths stepped into the role of CEO at the end of last year, a month before the passing of managing director Sam Savvas.
“I’ve been with the organisation since last September and have been the CEO since last November. The workplace culture that Sam left is still strong and I want to maintain all of the positive things about that,” he says.
“I think the way everyone pitched in to clean up after the floods is just one example of that – we didn’t have a meeting beforehand to delegate jobs, people just rolled up their sleeves, took the initiative and pitched in.”