In attendance at IFA for the first time, as the online buyer responsible for small to commercial appliances for Walmart Canada, Peter Vivona acknowledges the challenges in online selling, given the market influences of companies like Amazon. Amazon has “done a good job changing the industry,” he remarked to Dealerscope in a brief conversation during the annual Berlin-held consumer electronics and appliances exhibition last week. Walmart Canada, for its part, though, can boast of a very strong foothold in ecommerce. Its brick-and-mortar presence in Canada stands at 410 stores – and its website attracts more than 600,000 customers a day.
Vivona said he came to IFA riding the wave of what he termed an “excellent” three quarters for his company in 2018. “We’ve experienced significant growth in ecommerce; we grew two times faster than the market.”
With that framework as a basis, he said his tasks at IFA included looking for the newest trends in categories like smart home, for example, and tracking their influence on designs. “We’re now finally seeing practical applications and real benefits of smart home in products,” he observed.
He noted that what is best for him about IFA is that it’s “very experiential, which is great. I’m seeing a lot of new things at this show.” And while some of the innovations may not make it across the Atlantic for a while, his hopes were for his total IFA experience to provide him with a strong sense of the direction of innovations moving forward, which will help him inform future buying decisions.
“IFA,” Vivona said, noting the mix of trade and consumer visitors to the exhibition, “is partially marketing and partially a celebration of the customer…. nothing else matters but customer choice.”