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ProSource/PRO Group Form New-Audio Committee

Groups will pick best-of-class audio and launch new learning initiatives

February 25, 2013 By Jeff O’Heir
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As legacy categories mature – losing their mainstream appeal and the hefty margins they once carried – CE specialty dealers have to find alternative products that will resurrect consumer excitement and generate some much-needed profit.

ProSource and the PRO Group have formed a New-Audio Committee to do just that. The buying groups – which are affiliated with the Home Entertainment Source and Brand Source – will also support a Legacy Audio Committee to grow its share of traditional products and to work closely with vendors on securing exclusive lines and promotional deals for its members.

The New-Audio Committee will focus on identifying strong companies with new products in four categories: headphones; wireless audio; single-point solutions, with an emphasis on soundbars; and gear that’s designed to optimize digital content, such as headphone amplifiers and DAC units.

Dave Workman, executive director of the PRO Group, stressed that the New-Audio Committee will not dilute the group’s focus on legacy components. Workman believes Pro Source and PRO Group dealers will be able to increase their share in legacy audio products as more general CE retailers decrease their focus on the maturing category. Pro Source is working closely with Japanese audio vendors and some domestic companies to secure exclusive deals on end-of-run products and those in other life-cycle stages. The group will continue its annual fall visits to Japan to discuss new opportunities with the vendors.

“We think it’s still a very relevant and vibrant category,” Workman said. “The opportunity for us to work more closely with our partners to increase our share and overall direction has never been greater.

“We’re large enough so that we can do end-run, if a manufacturer is changing over models” he added. “Our appetite is large enough to take those out. In all cases, those (deals) that we’re most interested in are those that will be exclusive opportunities to the group.”

Workman sees that ability as an asset to the manufacturers who want to sell end-run and other discounted products through a controlledchannel that can uphold a better price than big-box stores and online marketplaces. It also benefits the consumer who has been trained to expect deals and discounts at almost every turn.

“In legacy audio, we’ve got to have the right promotions so that we can control prices … and keep customers excited because they expect a deal,” he said. “We have the market presence in legacy audio to work closely with our partners to create unique promotions exclusive to our group. We can actually grow the business for our partners and increase our share in the process.”


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