New boss reveals Battery World growth strategy

By Sarah Stowe | 06 Nov 2020 View comments

Battery World’s new general manager has big plans for growth, starting with boosting current franchisees’ in-store sales.

Johnny Kennedy says the focus in-store is turning from smaller batteries for laptops and cameras to charging recreational vehicles and equipment.

“Do you want to jump on your boat or your Harley? You’ll need a battery. Last week’s figures show a 45 per cent growth in recreation in the last 12 months. ”

He admits Covid has helped, with camping, fishing, 4-wheel driving, and marine activities increasing in popularity in these travel-restricted times. The recreational sector has great potential, he says.

That’s why the new tagline for Battery World is ‘Power your passion’. The goal is to be ‘the number one battery specialist for all your power needs’.

“We are the largest specialist battery retailer in Australia, but we want to be everywhere.”

Johnny says it’s important for the brand to follow the customer migration online, the unique customer requirements demand physical stores.

“Batteries are something you need immediately; to try and purchase online can take up to 10 days. We have to have a strong online presence, but we want to be on the ground floor to offer exceptional service.”

New opportunities

In addition to the recreational sector, he’s eyeing up trade customers too as an additional revenue stream with potential for franchisees.

Another growth area is likely to be mobile. Franchisees can already provide a roadside assistance service within their territory but Battery World will look at key areas where franchisees want to focus solely on their store businesses, and develop a concept for a standalone mobile.

“A big part of our business is keeping people on the road with roadside assistance, and business and home delivery.”

The business will invest in diagnostic equipment to keep up to date with complex vehicle technology, he says. There are two full time training managers helping franchisees with new and emerging technology.

GM brings industry experience

Johnny Kennedy is as passionate about the business of batteries as it’s possible to be, thanks to a career spent immersed in the sector.

“I’ve always had a passion for fixing things and started work as an apprentice mechanic, but found I was better at talking than fixing vehicles! The boss asked if I wanted to move over to the sales side.”

Sales and management roles eventually led to Johnny joining Battery World’s parent company Century Yuasa, Australia’s oldest battery manufacturer which has designed, manufactured and supplied batteries and energy storage solutions since 1928.

“I was offered a position with the market leader. It was a great opportunity. In this role I spent a lot of time with franchisees as a supplier and I really connected with them.”

Three months ago he was appointed general manager of Battery World.

After three general managers in five years Johnny believes the franchisees need stability, something he is confident he can deliver.

“Franchisees are great people, they want someone who knows industry well, can lead them forward. I have no experience in franchising but huge experience in leadership, marketing, sales, and the battery industry,” he points out.

Battery World’s reputation is down to the hard work of franchisees, he says.

The new GM is backing the expert knowledge within the franchise network as the best way to grow store sales.

“Our franchisees have long tenures, they’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge. Consumers are researching a lot more online, so we’re building a website to provide educational  material, tips and advice,” he says.

“We’ve re-evaluated our core values and one of those is integrity. Giving the consumer the right advice even if it costs you a sale. The battery you don’t need is the most expensive one,” he adds.

“Our franchisees really do have passion and want to help customers. I’m here to give them direction.”