Fisher & Paykel | London Experience Centre is heart of growth

Fisher & Paykel has opened its London Experience Centre and introduced a new product line, offering full suites. We find out how this supports retailers.

22 Mar, 24

Luxury appliance brand Fisher & Paykel has opened its “game-changing” London Experience Centre and introduced a new product line, offering full suites. We find out how this supports retailers.

Fisher & Paykel | “Game-changing” Experience Centre at heart of UK growth

At the opening of its London Experience Centre, chief operating officer for UK, Ireland & Europe Stephen Rickersey states now is a time of transition for Fisher & Paykel.

Part of a global roll-out of five Experience Centres, it is the first in Europe, and showcases a new product line-up, so the brand can offer retailers a full suite of kitchen appliances – including cooking, laundry and wine coolers.

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All of which goes towards its long-term plans, to quadruple the UK business in five to 10 years.

Introducing brand

Welcoming both walk-ins and appointments from customers, retailers, architects and designers, the Experience Centre is manned by a team of five, led by manager Sasha Joseph.

Fisher & Paykel opens London Experience Centre in 2024

They help build relationships, assist the purchasing journey, and refer clients to the best point of contact – whether retail sales or the design development team that influence specifiers, designers and architects.

The two-floor space has been created to reflect the philosophy and heritage of the New Zealand company. As part of the experience, guests are offered a cup of Kawakawa tea at the entrance.

Stephen Rickersey says “the space is about design and lifestyle but we will also use this as an opportunity to introduce the brand heritage of New Zealand.”

However, the architecture is also indicative of London, as its uses local materials; Elm, Portland Stone, and glazed tiles in a subterranean kitchen, with a vaulted ceiling, reminiscent of the London Underground and brick-clad waterways which intersect the site.

Head of product Jo Jackson comments on the design of the space: “To come into a space like this you get the sense of what we’re about. It is the way we perceive our appliances in the world of design.”

Rickersey gently rebuffs any suggestion that being the most recent appliance manufacturer to join Wigmore Street meant Fisher & Paykel felt pressure to deliver, as the opening was slightly delayed. He said it was simply to meet the level of design required, which took longer than expected.

Kitchen suites

Measuring 230sqm, the Experience Centre features key areas, which include a Minimal Kitchen with built-in cooking, wine coolers and refrigeration.

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This is joined by an Apartment kitchen and a social dining space, with a full-time chef, for events.

“Some of the product here is prototype and will be available later in the year.  We’re known for our refrigeration and our DishDrawer, but a lot of the products are part of a new range that has recently launched to market’, explains Rickersey.

This transition into providing a full suite of kitchen appliances is reflected in the layout of the space, as Jo Jackson explains it is intentional the first appliances on view when entering the showroom are cooking.

She adds: “There’s no other Fisher & Paykel Experience Centres that have these handleless ovens and wine coolers. We can showcase products that are coming six maybe nine months ahead, to allow retailers to see and touch before to making a selection for their showroom.”

The company has also introduced laundry with the likes of its high-end laundry companion with one control for washing machine and dryer.

Stephen Rickersey comments: “Luxury retailers are not just doing the kitchen, they’re creating a bootroom, a bar, the utility room, the prep kitchen. So we need to be relevant in all those spaces.”

And Jo Jackson agrees: “We are all playing in new spaces and creating opportunities where everybody can benefit.”

This has seen Fisher & Paykel introduce even more integrated solutions– appliances such as dishwashers to complement its DishDrawer, and undercounter wine cabinets with the same wine care technology as its larger columns  – to offer more choice to retailers and add value to projects.

And that choice will be key for Fisher & Paykel sales growth, to encourage its 500-strong kitchen and electrical retailers selling its DishDrawer and CoolDrawer, to extend into additional product categories.

Stand out story

Becoming a more generalist, luxury appliance brand how does Fisher & Paykel propose to stand out? “We have some unique product types to us – so we can talk about our ‘human centred’ design of these products”, says Rickersey, adding: “And in areas like cooking, for example, we have all the functionality of our competitors.

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“We have models with soft close opening and closing and could spend all day talking about 26 features on the oven, but we feel our brand has to be experiential, led by design and lifestyle.

“The way we will talk about the story is temperature as the constant link between products.”

This spans the importance of temperature in food storage with fridge freezers featuring three temperature zones, through to the ideal heat for a particular dish.

It is at the heart of the Mastery of Temperature culinary experience, which retailers can offer their customers.

Premium market

So how is Fisher & Paykel finding the market?

“It’s normalising isn’t it?” replies Rickersey. “There was a period of volatility through Covid but fundamentally the number of kitchens sold in this market if you look back for 10 years has been fairly stable.

“The feedback we’re hearing from the trade coming in here is the sales leads are starting to pick up again.”

However, Rickersey also points out: “We don’t consider the market as a barometer of success for us.

“Our task, and the investment in this place, is to focus on growing overall category value with our retail partners by adding added value to their projects.””

Service support

While Jo Jackson cites the London Experience Centre as “game-changing”, Rickersey is also keen to point out the company, as part of the equation, has also invested in operational support for growth.

“We have a 59,000sqft warehouse in Northamptonshire. We now have 18 fully employed technicians covering the whole of the UK and Ireland, and a Trustpilot rating of 4.9. Our service is exceptional.”

And Rickersey continues: “This is a transition point for us. It’s not coincidental the London Experience Centre has happened now. It’s at the same time as we’ve got an awesome product range lined up and behind-the-scenes set-up to grow.

“It’s all part of a broader plan. We have a five-to-10-year plan to quadruple the UK business.  We’re ambitious but we’re realistic because we now have a full kitchen suite of appliances to sell.”