1996 was my career’s equivalent of the menopause. I returned to
Europe after five years with Coca-Cola in Hong Kong and Australia, and
before that spells with Dairy Crest and Mars. Chop off my head and FMCG
would run through me like Blackpool in a stick of rock.
A head-hunter contacted me about Iomega and eulogised about how the
firm’s Zip drive was the Coca-Cola of the IT sector. Disks versus bottle
I wasn’t convinced. But retailing principles apply whether it is Mars
Bars or modems, and brands like Microsoft and Sony register as highly as
Kit-Kat and Pedigree Chum. It was time to take notions of per capita
consumption and apply them to consumer electronic retailing.
I have been surprised by the way impulse sales techniques work as well
at pounds 999 as at 99p. However, the pace at which the market demands
new flavours and varieties is awesome.
IT product evolution can be technical and needs to be made accessible to
the least techy PC-owner. Consumer electronic retailing will soon not be
separate from FMCG retailing because every Tesco and Asda will range the
products and integrate them into their consumer proposition.
Gareth Jones is European retail sales director with Iomega.