NEW TECHNOLOGY IN AN OLD INDUSTRY
"The biggest garden machinery development in a generation"
It's that month when there's dealer days aplenty up and down the country!
This week I went along to one of the largest of the season, held by the newly renamed Stiga Ltd. The former GGP-ers were expecting to see around 600 visitors to the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham across Tuesday to Thursday. This apparently represented 86% of the company's UK turnover, so it really was a truly impressive turnout.
And keeping with impressive numbers, md Duncan Martin confirmed that despite this past year offering some challenging conditions, they had maintained their position as a £50million company - in fact slightly growing that to £51.7m.
But Stiga are obviously keen to push on from that. Their ambition is to become a £1billion Euro business. And it was very interesting to hear where Duncan Martin believes that future growth for the company and its dealers is going to come from - cordless.
Duncan described battery products as "the biggest garden machinery development in a generation."
Duncan stated that battery power is the future. "This is a new technology in an old industry," he said. "We’ve been wishing for a development like this to come along so we can sell more products and this is our opportunity.”
He encouraged specialist dealers to embrace the technology and to become the experts in the marketplace.
“It opens machinery up to young and old,” he said. “Cordless includes everybody who wants to enjoy their garden.”
There really can be no doubt that cordless products will become a mainstream purchase very quickly.
Just look at last week's news about STIHL partnering with Dobbies Garden Centres in Scotland to sell its Compact Cordless products. Yes it generated a few grumbles amongst dealers but it's an inevitable development for that level of product - and just something else for the specialist trade to adapt to.
Of course a degree of disappointment has been expressed by some dealers. It's like an old friend has started hanging out with some other people who they always promised they wouldn't. But it'll just be another moment in the industry's history which specialists will move on from.
STIHL will have weighed up the consequences of these changes very carefully and indeed this week reasserted their commitment to the servicing dealers at their press meeting in Germany.
Dealers can simply carry on doing what they do best - offering a real alternative to the mass channels.
The cordless era offers an exciting opportunity for dealers. A new means to attract new customers. In addition of course to the traditional customer base - because petrol is by no means disappearing anytime soon.
As ever we shall watch all developments with great interest.