Bing Lee Heading In New Direction Premium Market Key
They were a retailer consumers trusted for their great deals good service, especially when it came to appliances or that big new TV, and the I Like Bing Lee jingle based on Monty Python’s I Like Chinese drove people into their stores in NSW along with the claim that, “Anything is negotiable,” at their stores.
Now Bing Lee is heading into a new direction up market where the business sees their future, according to General Manager Peter Harris. The GM said this path has led the retailer to the setting up of a totally new operation that the Company believes will not impact their existing retail operation.
Instead of out West in Guildford, where the foundations of the business were carved out, senior management now operate out of new offices in upscale Surry Hills, and it’s the likes of the struggling Winnings that Bing Lee management have in their sights.
The move to grow the family business has seen the establishment of new ‘Signature’ custom consult locations in Willoughby on Sydney’s North Shore and the opening of a Miele Partner Centre in Drummoyne, Sydney. This building owned by the Lee family is spearheading their move into the premium end of the market.
The shift in direction does not mean that management is losing focus on what grew the Bing Lee brand to be a major player in the NSW market according to Harris.
During an exclusive interview with ChannelNews, Harris said that the Bing Lee side of the business was” hitting and exceeding targets, especially our ASP targets”.
He admits that the market is tough and could get worse with more interest rates creeping up this year.
“This problem is not isolated just to us it’s a nationwide, problem, there has been numerous interest rate rises and we are now having to work out how to grow in this environment.”
He admitted that the premium end of the market was “holding up” and the move to launch new premium market operations selling primarily European appliances was paying off for the business.
Asked whether the Bing Lee operation or their new premium operation was set to range Samsung’s new cooking range he said that they were still talking to Samsung.
ChannelNews understands that The Good Guys could be one of the first stores to range the new Samsung cooking range in Australia.
“They are a great brand, and the younger consumer knows and trusts the brand because they have a Samsung TV, watch or mobile,” and they are still in active communication, he said.
He admitted that their older audience tends to trust European brands when it comes to cooking and that a South Korean cooking brand would be harder to sell.
“As we often say to brands, we don’t have rubber walls so taking on a new brand has to make sense. Having said that Samsung is an important brand,” he said.
Harris a former senior Winnings executive, who was also one of the architects of Appliances online, joined Bing Lee in 2017 and his knowledge of cooking has led to the restructuring of Bing Lee in-store floor space.
“I noticed that cooking was at the back of the stores, so I quickly moved to shift cooking to the front of the stores, it was as if cooking was an afterthought. We then moved to elevate the cooking brands in our stores.”
When asked who the target audience was for their new premium locations he said, “That’s a good question.”
Business is now targeting a new audience of architects, and project managers and interior designers who are bringing their customers into the new locations to choose their appliances he shared.
“We are even letting them hold their own events for customers in our stores” he said.
He also admitted that local community marketing was important to the business especially as local newspapers are read primarily for information on real estate.
Key to the business are consumers who are building a new home, renovating, or looking to undertaking a major upgrade of their kitchens.
Today 76-year-old, Yenda Lee and her son Lionel Lee are still involved in the business.
She is still the face of the business with her commercials and assurances, that doing business with Bing Lee is still as much family transaction as before and that they still recognise the importance of customer service and “Better Living” for families.