Cool Pays Off
New accessories differentiate consumer and retailerOctober 30, 2013 By Bill Stewart, CEO and Founder, Petra Industries
Apple redefined cool for cellphones when the first iPhone arrived, setting the tone for the smartphone craze. For the next few years, owners of the latest generation smartphones were envied for their new, cool devices. Today, however, kids carry smartphones that once would have been coveted by seasoned business professionals. With almost everyone having a smartphone these days, coolness has now become a moving target. While finding the new cool factor may be a challenge, it offers tremendous opportunities for retailers in the consumer electronics business.
Today’s smartphone technology and apps allow your customers to do everything from play their favorite music on speakers throughout their home to start their car remotely on a cold, winter day. The new key to cool is no longer the smartphone, but the products and accessories that add enjoyment and convenience to our daily lives.
The perfect, cool accessory may be different from one customer to another. Bluetooth-enabled speakers, for example, range from multi-room systems with powerful subwoofers to small portable units that fit easily into a computer bag or purse. The college student with the ability to crank up tunes in the dorm with just a couple of touches on his smartphone is the epitome of cool; whereas, the envy of a neighborhood might be the homeowner who can control her patio speakers while sitting poolside. The Consumer Electronics Association projects a 35 percent increase in dollar sales of Bluetooth speakers this year, and many analysts expect these speakers will be a top choice for gift giving this upcoming holiday season. Retailers can get ready for holiday shoppers by stocking a diverse selection of speakers at a variety of price points.
Then there are cases. Cool comes into the equation by customizing a device with a case that matches a need. For example, if your customers are into water sports (or perhaps are just clumsy) and they’re the first to carry a case that protects against accidental submersion, they gain status among their peers. While some cases are coveted for their function, others are considered cool simply for their fashion-forward design. Given the range of colors and designs of cases on the market, carrying a case that matches an individual’s style shouldn’t be difficult. Cases are fairly easy to inventory because of their small footprint, and they provide good margins. Finding creative ways to display them that call out unique features and functionality offer opportunities for more profit.