Exclusive interview: Alberto Zamudio – general manager – Amber Technology – on his key reasons for coming to IFA
Based in northern Sydney, with around 80 agencies in its portfolio, Amber Technology is one of the largest distributors of AV and home technology to various parts of Australasia bringing high-end consumer electronics from Europe and other parts of the world into Australasian markets. We asked Amber’s General Manager Alberto Zamudio how IFA fits-in to his purchasing plan.
The initial communication for the end of year season happens around one month before I get to IFA. You have to get your “ducks lined-up”. But it’s really at IFA where you do your face-to-face communication, finalising the range for Christmas, having a look what’s available for next year, also bringing in existing retailer customers and exposing them to the brands and ranges and getting their feedback.
What do you perceive as being the key trends in your market?
Smart homes are becoming just as popular in Australia and New Zealand as they are in Europe and the US. People in Australasia are forward-thinking, early-adopters. They are impressively globally-minded, despite their faraway location.
What have you been looking for at IFA this year?
I am here to look primarily for new brands. Headphones have been around for a while; portable audio has been around for a while. My whole focus has been on trying to find something that’s different… lifestyle design-centric. This, and voice control in the connected home. These are really the key things. We’ve made a couple of new contacts that I am hoping to secure after IFA, for a Christmas launch.
What new trends have you observed?
The whole focus on design is becoming key – around headphones, around true wireless audio, even soundbars. It can’t just be about audio quality any more. Audio is one aspect of it, but now, when products are becoming exposed visibly in your living space, you want them to look good. That applies from soundbars right through to portable audio. For one of the suppliers we deal with, One For All, their digital antennas are now very much focused on looks – you don’t want those ugly rabbit ears hanging out of your cabinet. So it’s very much about how it sits in your living space – as a decorative piece, not just an antenna. Even those mundane little things that we take for granted, antennas, remote controls… they’re becoming very design-centric.
IT’S ALL ABOUT KEY SELLING FEATURES: HOW DO WE MAKE IT EASIER FOR A CUSTOMER TO TAKE THE RIGHT PRODUCT OFF THE SHELF?
How has the retail experience changed in recent years?
Coming from a wholesaler point of view, it’s not just about bringing in a product, working on a GP margin and selling it to a retailer. It’s all about key selling features: How do we make it easier for a customer to take the right product off the shelf? So we invest a lot in our merchandising. In Australia in particular, retailers are also adjusting their purse strings in the context of staff availability, so much of the focus now is on merchandising and experiential store environments. But it’s the brands that have to do the selling, as they are the “silent salespeople” on the floor, and as space is increasingly at a premium, the products always have to add value.
Photo: Alberto Zamudio, General Manager, Amber Technology