Why JML’s ‘screen to screen synergy’ is relevant in modern retail

The CEO of consumer products retail business JML, Ken Daly, explains to RBTE delegates why the company’s “screen to screen synergy” policy helps drive sales.

UK consumer goods business and TV shopping channel player JML’s policy to make videos to promote every one of its products has played out well in the modern day retail era which is increasingly influenced by digital platforms.

That was a key message from the company’s CEO, Ken Daly, who was on stage at RBTE on 2 May to explain more about JML’s strategy, and detail how the company maintains brand consistency across multiple channels.

JML sells its goods through its own website, third-party marketplaces, a TV shopping channel and via digital screens in third-party retailer stores, including Asda and Sainsbury’s. The model seems to fit well with current consumer trends, Daly said.

Daly described JML has a pioneering e-commerce business, having launched its first transactional website in 1999 at the dawn of the online retail era, but it is the company’s decision to make videos of all its products in action that seems to be really hitting the spot with modern shoppers.

“When we first started making videos we didn’t perceive the potential video would have on e-commerce,” the CEO explained.

“As we all know, video content is absolutely fundamental to selling products online. By fortune, every single JML product has video. It works brilliantly online.”

The videos are used on JML’s own website, on its social media pages and, crucially, on the digital screens it places in supermarkets and other retail stores, helping the organisation promote its goods throughout the day.

Despite concerns on the wider high street about the challenge to maintain footfall levels, Daly said JML is seeing strong sales growth in bricks and mortar retailing. Some 70% of its distribution goes through physical retail stores, he explained.

But it is what Daly and his team call “screen to screen synergy” that is said to really aid the sales process. An in-house team create all the videos, allowing senior members of staff to ensure brand consistency is retained in each production and that the videos are used appropriately on various consumer channels.

“When you combine TV advertising with video in store there is a multiplier effect,” he noted.

“When people see the content or similar content in store, it’s a powerful synergy. They may have seen products on our Facebook page or website, [too].”

Keeping it fresh at JML

Daly explained that 70% of JML’s annual revenue comes from products that did not exist two years ago, highlighting the company’s drive to continually get new items in front of customers.

The CEO said that the business tests 80 products a year. By testing, he means that an item is videoed, packaged and essentially brought to market – it is a significant investment in products that aren’t guaranteed to sell.

“If we find eight winners, we’re doing extremely well,” he added.

Power to the people

The technology investment at JML does not start and end with video production, there are a raft of projects the company is running to make its employees’ lives easier, according to Daly.

A new ERP system, as well as tech for business dynamics, reporting, and customer relationship management has all been brought in recently – it is so JML’s staff “can make informed business decisions without having to trawl through lots of spreadsheets”.

“They have the information they need at their fingertips on dashboards or phones, and they are able to make decisions much more easily.”

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