Accessories distributor Frequency Telecom’s multi-lingual sales staff are giving it an edge in the competitive European distribution market, according to MD Gareth Limpenny.
The company has seen rapid growth in this market since it transformed from a handset distributor to focus on accessories three years ago.
Limpenny explains: ‘We decided three or four years ago that with the advent of smartphones, mobile accessories would be a big growth area and so we set up the business accordingly.’
As the company began to look to overseas markets, Limpenny realised the value of local. He says: ‘We are blessed by being on the edge of London where every nationality and language is catered for and if we are to serve a particular market, it is important that we understand the local culture within those markets.
‘We employ Swedish, Italian, Greek, Polish, Spanish, French speaking sales staff in our offices in Surrey,’ Limpenny says, adding: ‘It is one of the main reasons for a good percentage of our growth.’
The strategy has reaped rewards with Frequency now trading in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Israel, Portugal, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain and Switzerland. Last year it opened regional offices in Germany and Russia.
Limpenny says sales are strong. ‘Last year shipments across all markets grew by over 300%, with turnover up from £21.7m to March 2012 to over £27.2m this year,’ he says, adding that the company is now looking to recruit more multi-lingual sales staff in preparation for further growth.
This is in addition to a recruitment drive last year which saw staff numbers grow by 37% to over 60 employees. The company also recently moved into larger offices at its Chessington site.
Limpenny adds: ‘We think Europe is going to be a big area of growth for us. We have very good people in our offices and we are very encouraged by what we have done so far.’
Frequency is also seeing strong growth in the UK, with product shipments doubling last year. ‘We have done well in the UK, expanding our reach and the number of skews has also expanded,’ says Limpenny.
The distributor has a number of key contracts with accessories manufacturers. Its portfolio currently includes protective cases from Case-Mate, audio products from Jays, Griffin power products, signal boosters from Nextivity and mobile accessories from HTC and Motorola.
Limpenny says: ‘We do a lot of business with Case-Mate as their exclusive partners and we have an exclusive partnership with Jays for the UK, Ireland and Russia, which is cutting real traction. We are also working with Thinksound, a US headphone company, which will put us into new channels.’
Competition is fierce in the mobile accessories market. Limpenny’s strategy is to focus on service. He says: ‘The competition will always be intense and that won’t change. Our job is to find the right product at the right price and time and to supply our partners when it suits them.’
Author: Carol Millett