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Accessories Are the Silver Lining

February 6, 2013 By Sean Wargo, Senior Director, Business Intelligence, BDS Marketing
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Brick-and mortar retailers have good reason to be concerned about the future of their businesses.

Online shopping as an alternative is just too easy, too convenient. The openness and ubiquity of e-commerce also contributes to price deflation, as consumers quickly and easily find out where to buy at the lowest price. Whether it’s in the form of showrooming or not is irrelevant.

The bottom line is that a customer can easily bypass a storefront that has spent tremendous resources to bring a product as close to the consumer as possible. The damage is done the minute a consumer clicks and buys elsewhere.

As retailers, the temptation is to throw up our hands as the lowest priced source continues to eat our lunch. After all, what can we do against an open marketplace with freely available information? What can we do with a customer who just desires low price and convenience and dreads a traffic-ridden trek to the nearest store? If we listen to what consumers are telling us, there is a place for brick-and-mortar retailers in the mix. The trick is to figure out what you want to stand for, and own it. Our premise is that a retailer who maintains a reputation for providing solutions, driven by accessories, creates a long-term formula for success.

Accessory sales are one of the biggest opportunities for retailers today. Think about it: Many consumers simply consider accessories an afterthought once they get the primary device home and begin using it. But soon enough, they will head out to a store to pick up the HDMI cable they forgot was needed, or a new case for their smartphone. While they could order it online, the desire to keep using that primary device creates an immediacy that an online order just can’t satisfy. So the retailer, who may have missed out on the purchase of a primary device, ends up picking up the seconds. All in all, not bad, considering that accessories carry better margins.

So the ancillary pick-up is savior number one. But how about that current attachment rate (e.g., the percentage of buyers who purchased an accessory at the same time as the primary device)? The data in the graph shows that 74 percent of TV buyers, 84 percent of tablet buyers and 85 percent of smartphone buyers purchased something along with their device. A good amount of that was either an accessory or a warrantee.



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