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Inside Retail & Zwecks

Zwecks service assists retailers provide installation and demo services

(Source: Zwecks)

If you’ve spent any time in Asia, you may have noticed that there are some distinct differences in retail culture when compared to the Australian market. In electronics, for example, it’s almost unthinkable that a buyer could purchase a television, refrigerator or internet-enabled device without an installation service. In Australia, by contrast, retailers do not routinely offer an installation and demo with the sale of electronic goods – and this can sometimes cause issues for consumers and retailers alike.

To Himanshu Rao – whose firm Zwecks provides national installation, warranty and support for consumer electronics, technology, appliances and furniture – the issue reflects some hesitation on the part of retailers who may worry that providing installation services with their products may be too complex to handle, may introduce some risks, or who otherwise don’t see the value in this additional service when competitors aren’t offering it either.

“In many countries, if you buy a television they’ll install it as either a tabletop or a wall mount depending on what you choose – but you have to choose one or the other,” observes Himanshu. “That reduces your dead-on-arrival customers who might claim that their purchase was damaged in the box, when in reality they might have broken them because they weren’t sure how to open the bolts and so on. So there’s a significant reduction in cost savings for brands by offering the service.

“I find it’s very, very different in Australia where consumers are still left on their own to find installation companies who may charge premium prices. That can cause dissatisfaction towards the retailer, with consumers being left to fend for themselves when organising the removal of their old unit and so on.”

That dissatisfaction is rooted in the perception among consumers who attribute their purchase experience with the retailer rather than the brand itself. This is the key reason why retailers are using services like Zwecks’ to add value to the customer-retailer experience rather than leave consumers to source their own providers – introducing a disconnect that can in turn erode customer loyalty.

“An installation and demo is an absolute must for all retailers and brands,” he explains, “because from a consumer perspective, the experience remains incomplete when these are not offered. Customers feel frustrated, and they move their loyalty to a retailer who does offer these services. It’s similar to finding the best price for a product offered by different retailers, or finding out which particular store will deliver direct. For the consumer, they’re left out in the open if they have to find all these additional services in order to be happy with the product.”

Another reason retailers often give for not offering installation services is that they presume customers should be familiar with set-up procedures, especially in the tech-saturated environment we now live in. Research shows that this is far from the case – the so-called “digital native” generation is more familiar with swiping left and right than they are with plugging in cables and screwing in fixtures, and consumers nowadays tend to expect that the items they purchase will work straight out of the box.

“Customers have a high level of excitement when a new purchase is made – and it depletes very quickly and turns into dissatisfaction if some of these services are not provided,” he says. “Customers are hesitant about changing technology and can easily get lost, especially with a lot of appliances these days having smart technology associated with them. They genuinely require support with installation and setup, such as connecting to WiFi, connecting to soundbars or Play Stations, and showing how apps work on digital TVs such as YouTube 4k. The brand/retailer experience is only complete when an installation and demo is provided, and we also disconnect and remove the old product if required.”

With so many retailers and brands entering the market, competition is starting to heat up – and those who don’t keep up with the trends may have to exit certain categories where after-sales service is increasingly regarded as a base requirement.

“We see an opportunity in more brands and retailers entering the Australian market,” he says, “and the shortcomings in customer experience offered to these loyal consumers. That’s where we see the biggest opportunity with online retailers and physical stores, in that there’s a lack of installation and after-sales opportunities given to customers.

“With what we do, once the sale has been made, retailers don’t need to worry about this after-sales aspect – the delivery, the installation, the experience, the removals. We make everything as seamless as possible through one company, ensuring customer expectations are met and exceeded to ensure the brand loyalty stays firmly with the retailer.”

To enquire about Zwecks’ services, visit www.zwecks.org.