Retail Insider, in partnership with Novomind, held its latest Zoom Cocktail Hour with Ken Daly, CEO of JML Group, who talked about rocketing online sales and the importance of hit products to fuelling the company’s £100 million annual sales.
The business was already enjoying growing online sales through its own direct channel when Covid-19 drove a trebling of turnover as demand for fitness and personal grooming products in particular increased dramatically.
This has gone hand-in-hand with a recovery in bricks & mortar sales after the first lockdown and revenues stood at levels higher than pre-Covid-19 before the industry moved into the second lockdown phase. These sales are driven by video content that is created for every product that JML sells – whether it is on 5,000 digital screens located in the stores of Asda, Tesco, Boots, Wilko and Argos or on QVC and Sky or on JML’s own website.
Senior executives heard Ken highlight how integral this content is to sales at JML and how even modest changes in this output can have a dramatic impact on sales. What is also critically important is a constant stream of hit products. Around 500 products are up for selection each month and the items ultimately picked are very much determined by a data-driven approach.
The most successful products typically solve a problem and there is a story to tell about them. These winners are so important that Ken suggested a mere six hit products could drive up to 80% of group sales during the year. He recalls a steam iron in 2006 that became the number one selling iron in the UK.
With certain hit products JML is working on a strategy that involves creating long-term brands rather than relying solely on them as singular short-term winners. There is also a continued focus on building out the company’s multi-channel capabilities with investment in its technology infrastructure. And overseas represents a healthy chunk of sales via 60 distributors located globally.
Ken also told the senior retail executives on the Zoom call how the company was exploring changes in the sourcing of its products. Many of them are currently produced in China but the company is looking at initiating changes in this practice that would reduce its reliance on the country.
Retail Insider would very much like to thank Ken Daly for sharing his experiences at JML and insights into this interesting company, and also to Novomind for supporting this series of Retail Insider Zoom Cocktail Hours.
Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider