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Buying Power : Do or Die

HES delivers tough-love message of hope and opportunity.

May 2010 By Jeff O’Heir
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The message BrandSource and HES executives delivered to dealers at this year's Spring Summit was a bitter pill washed down with a healthy swig of tough love: There is hope and opportunity, but if you don't change you're business is going to die.

"There is no one silver bullet," Jim Ristow, executive vice president of HES, told hundreds of system integrators, specialty electronics dealers and installers during the opening session of the Summit. "However, there are a lot of opportunities."

Dealers now have to rack up business based on a lot of singles, not the big homeruns of yesteryear, Ristow told the crowd. "Let's stop thinking about the good old days," he said. "They're gone."

Instead of relying on old methods of business, integrators and dealers must focus on selling new technologies they might be skeptical of and developing new competencies in order to deliver full solutions.

The new technologies integrators and dealers must deliver begin with the installation of robust wired and wireless home networks that can efficiently and securely carry video and audio streams throughout the home.

"You guys were the 'It' in A/V specialty. Now the 'It' stands for IT and IP. It's about the integration of all these different technologies," he said. "Here's the mindset shift: We are integrators now that also do A/V specialty. You guys are the missing puzzle piece; the Best Buys can't do that."

To increase ASPs, dealers have to focus on explaining and demonstrating the new features—such as Internet video streaming and IP-based apps and widgets—in today's top-line TVs. More and more of the hundreds of millions of music and video downloads consumers access on their PCs today will be accessed through their TVs tomorrow, Ristow said.

And, despite the skepticism of many dealers at the Summit, 3DTV is a viable technology that consumers will quickly adopt.

"It really is an opportunity. For the first time, the consumer awareness and the consumer demand is ahead of us," he said. "3DTV is important whether you believe it or don't. The more we showcase the technology, the more we future-proof the sets, the more we can increase ASPs."

Ristow urged his integrator and dealer base to set up strong demos of VOD and 3D TVs to start educating customers and to become the TV technology experts in their markets. If they don't, the big nationals will take the business. "It's all about the demos," he said.


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