SGB: How does SM Group fit with Garmin; which of their five ‘specialities’ do you cover?
Kevin Turner: SM Group distribute a broad range of navigational electronic equipment split into four sectors. We’ve got marine, outdoor, fitness and automotive.
SGB: How do SMG work with the retailer – do you incentivise in any way, for example?
KT: We always try to help retailers, because we’re dealing with very technical product. We’re versatile, we’re flexible and we also supply all of Garmin’s point of sale information plus we have demonstration stock programmes as well where dealers can buy a unit for 50% of the normal trade price and tack a few units on to an order. But it means for a very reasonable price they can actually have a demonstration piece of equipment in their showroom. So dealers and retailers do have the ability to be able to buy a unit at a very reasonable price to keep for demonstration purposes and all we ask them is that they keep it for demonstration for six months, after which time they can change it, trade it round and buy another piece of equipment.
Also, another facility we offer is, say a customer goes into a shop and he wants to buy something from them but it’s something which the dealer doesn’t have in stock, we can do a direct dispatch service as well. We don’t deal with the public direct but, to make it easier for the retailer, we can send our products direct to their customer. Anything to make life as easy as possible for those wanting to sell product.
SGB: What are the strengths of SMG as a distributor?
KT: We’ve got five people on telephone sales, they can all answer questions to a reasonable technical and informative level. And then we have a technical sales manager for trickier enquiries. We’ve also got a service department. But when somebody phones up, they can talk to somebody, they can have advice, they can say “Have you got it in stock? How much is it? Can you get it to me tomorrow?” That might sound pretty basic stuff, but I think when I look at a lot of companies out there now, you might talk to somebody about advice, somebody else about pricing and somebody else to place an order. It’s just one point of contact to put the entire process through.
Also, we hold a lot of stock. Our stockholding, just on electronics, is probably something like £800,000 to £1million. And we’re covering everything from main equipment down to a whole host of accessories, not just for Garmin but all the products that we distribute. Our aim is if there’s a demand for it, we’ll have it in stock.