ProSource/PRO Group Audio Ambassadors Collaborate with Asian Suppliers

Dave Workman, ProSource; David Glassman, IQ Entertainment; Keith Haas, Onkyo/Integra; Jim Ristow, ProSource; Tim Freeman, Crutchfield; Bob Cole, Bob and Ron’s World Wide Stereo; and Steve Weiner, ListenUp.
More margins, better branding, clearer communications part of ongoing discussion

It’s no secret that the margin squeeze on under-60-inch panels keeps getting tighter, so with no letup in sight independent dealers are raising their bets on audio to boost bottom lines.

Heavy marketing and smart management – along with a resurgence of consumer interest in many things audio – certainly helped the category shine last year. But maintaining that momentum will take fresh cycles of innovative new categories and updated traditional products in tune with the changing needs of consumers.

That was the reason the ProSource organization, which includes dealers of the PRO Group and Brand Source’s Home Entertainment Source (HES) buying groups, recently toured factories and R&D centers of select suppliers. The trip included visits to D+M, Harman, Onkyo/Integra and Sharp.

“There are audio ecosystems that weren’t available three or four years ago, and we want to make sure we’re at the forefront of launching those products and helping to steer our members into this new world as digital audio matures,” said Jim Ristow, executive vice president of HES.

The group usually alternates yearly visits to Asia between video and audio vendors, but will probably add more visits to audio suppliers. Considering that audio was up double digits for ProSource dealers last year, the move makes sense.

“We believe we’re going to continue that trajectory as more opportunities come, and we’re partnering even more closely with our vendors to maximize them,” Ristow said. “We’re very bullish on audio, control and automation as well as on Ultra HD and OLED; any of the premier panels. We’ll continue to do a great job indexing high ASPs in video. That’s very important. But we’re also going to continue to focus on audio.”

Ristow referred mainly to ‘new audio,’ such as premier soundbars, headphones and wireless whole-house solutions. But that also includes products with striking design elements that contrast with the traditional AV receiver, whose functionality has morphed dramatically but whose looks haven’t changed much since the Reagan years.

Editor in chief of Dealerscope
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  • Onkyo Loves Amazon

    not sure you want to include Onkyo in this margin growth statement. Everything they sell is pretty much on Amazon at cost or below dealer cost with free freight. upper end stuff $100 bucks over cost.

    Yamaha and Denon holding at MAP/UPP pricing! Joe and the boys at Onkyo making their quota at the expense of their dealers.