Originally Posted by AVRevForum.com
The time has come for specialty audio video and custom retailers to get back to the basics, as the turbulent real estate market, the weak dollar and an uncertain political situation will not last forever. Today is the day for custom installers to make a truly meaningful New Years resolution to meet with three interior designers or general contractors each week for a year to pitch their services and systems. The days of waiting by the door for FedEx to drop off the blueprints for yet another 6,000 square foot house are over for now. That is just order taking, and when you can get it order taking is nice. In 2008 things are different and today is the day to work on new leads and to diversify the sources for new business in ways that are respectful so that custom home theater installers now work in a more cyclical business, based around market trends in the real estate market.
Specialty retailers can also do better, a lot better, with simple marketing solutions that will sell more gear in 2008. For example, the small number of retailers who have collected email addresses of their clients in the past five years is nothing short of shameful. Thousands of qualified buyers have walked through retail doors without ever yielding the information needed to be contacted in the future, despite their level of interest in higher end home theater and audio in the recent past. Without the cost of a stamp or printing, a retailer can send an email blast about a new technology (think HD DVD, Blu-ray, or 120 Hz Motionflow HDTVs for the Super Bowl), a new system installation at the store, or a new speaker coming into the marketplace and generate new and relatively easy sales. Sales that could be close to the kind of sales that plasma TVs was to these dealers just five years ago. Invite 50 of your best clients to your showroom for a Super Bowl party hosted by the dealer. The $1,000 in pizza, wine and beer that it would cost will be paid for twenty fold by the sales that will be earned later in the year. Cross promote the event with three other luxury retailers such as the local jeweler, a top selling Lexus or Mercedes dealer and the director of development at the best local country club and watch as a dozen qualified clients show up at your event and drop $100,000 (or more) on systems in a down economy.
Tougher economic times call for smarter marketing. Period. Today more than ever consumers want home theater in their lives. Reaching the consumers who want the dramatically powerful technology we all know, love and evangelize will require a little more creativity in 2008, but the demand is there with mainstream consumers as well as the recession-proof, super-rich. 2008 is a time to shelve the intolerable and outdated audiophile arrogance as well as the installer entitlement and in its place return the “specialty” to specialty retail and the “custom” to custom installer. The business is waiting to be had in the higher end markets if the retailers and installers can adapt in a meaningful way around the big box stores.
by: Jerry Del Colliano
This is a very good point about specialty stores. They do seem to be sitting on their hands waiting for people to come in and plop down a big stack of cash w/o really trying to win their business. I have noticed they just don't seem very hungry. As you said, just sending out some email to promote new products is better than nothing. From what I have learned about some of them, they try to make all their money on the install work charging $100s per hour for usually just doing very basic work, i.e. pulling wire, plugging-in components, hooking-up speakers, etc.
I do like the idea of cross-promotion. A few around here try to do it, but just don't quite have this type of fund raising technique mastered, so it does not quite produce the results they desire.