Jef Van Herck has a special quality. He has that remarkable Retail DNA. His intuition for retail and SME has been amply proven over the past 15 years. Among others in the market of Apple Premium Resellers and in the insurance business. Together with Harmony, Jef now has a joint international mission: helping retailers to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow. And there are many.
Who is Jef?
Van Herk: “A colleague once described me as: a positive, driven professional with a strong commercial mindset. I try to plan forward, always putting the customers interest first. In the end I just love retail, that’s how you can characterise me.”
What about that Retail DNA?
“Retail is in my blood. It was my first love and it always has been. I also enjoyed working in the insurance world of consumer electronics. Wherever I worked, I was always driven by the question: how do I create excellent service and an unforgettable premium customer experience? This is what I did as Managing Director at Switch. An Apple Premium Retail organisation, where I was Business Unit Director and worked hard on the Premium aspect in both Retail and Small Medium Business. In this role, I helped Switch through a difficult period. A great task. Now, I am ready for something new, something else that inspires me.”
Harmony has reinvented itself in recent years. Driven by a rapidly changing world, an Insurtech platform was developed and a cultural shift was made where innovation and market thinking are highly valued. New ambitions, which therefore also suit a new Head of International Business Development Europe.
Ronald, why is Jef a good match for Harmony?
Van Weelde: “I got to know Jef during his time at Switch. Besides being a real professional, he is, not unimportantly, also a nice guy. The great thing about Jef is that he has the same ambitions as Harmony: to strengthen the position of retailers with premium products and services. His huge network makes him the ideal Head of International Business Development Europe.
We see that our products are loved in Belgium and the Netherlands. Now we want to win over the whole of Europe. And especially the APRs. In the Netherlands, we are specialists in insuring consumer electronics and we are partners with all the APRs, among others. With Jef, Harmony is ready to conquer Europe.”
Some high expectations Jef!
“Yes, I realise that and I see it as a fantastic challenge. What I find unique about Harmony is the passion to deliver tailor-made solutions to retailers. Harmony presents itself as a real partner that helps retailers move forward. That really appeals to me.”
How has the Retail landscape changed, Jef?
“Retail has been completely turned upside down in recent years. It strikes me that common Retail has been replaced by detailed Retail. What I mean by that is that commercial details make the difference more than ever. In margins, traffic and average basket value. And of course, also in the customer life time value. Your contact with the customer is sacred. Just look at the APRs that really focus on premium expertise and experience. I would like to help them with that. My ambition: to devise custom-made solutions together with retailers in order to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”
Ronald, why does the Harmony product fit so well with APRs?
“The Harmony product really adds something. It adds to the expertise of the APR. We are all about the APR and its customers. We use the APR’s strengths. Think of the premium service, expertise, repairs and experience, both online and in-store. In addition, all our processes and sales support are already fully aligned with the APRs and the Apple Eco System.”
Jef and Harmony: the ideal match?
Van Weelde: “Absolutely. We share the same ambitions. But we are different enough to strengthen each other.” Van Herck: “That produces the best ideas. Our customers will reap the benefits. Absolutely.”