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SpeakerCraft Adds Retail to Marketing Mix

High-end speaker manufacturer creates new products for the masses

October 1, 2010 By Jeff O'Heir
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SpeakerCraft took the stage at CEDIA Expo – the annual conference for high-end home electronics dealers and installers – to announce a major shift in their business model: designing products for the mass market and general CE retailers.

The move comes as business in the high-end market continues to shrink and greater opportunities emerge in the middle markets.

“Things have changed really fast,” Jeremy Burkhardt, SpeakerCraft CEO, said of the technology, economic and buying trends that have upended the custom installation industry and have changed the general CE landscape.

“We feel there’s more business to grab in the mass market than in the high-end. We need to be in retail.”

The new line of consumer products include:

- FloBox ($999), a single unit that includes a dock for an iPad, iPod and iPhone a CD player, Internet connectivity, dual 3-inch mid-range woofers, dual 3/4- inch tweeters, and a 5 1/4–inch subwoofer.

- FloBox mini ($399), which includes the same features as its big brother without the CD player.

- Vital 250 ($699), a 50W amplifier that includes an iPad, iPod and iPhone dock; an upconverter to improve the sound quality of music files; and USB, auxiliary, optical, coax and Apple 30-pin connector inputs.

- Roots line of in room speakers with paper cone woofers and silk dome tweeters, in 6 ½-inch (Model 650, $499), 4 ½-inch (Model 450, $349) and 3 1/2- inch (Model 350, $249) sizes; as well as a 10-inch subwoofer (Model 310, $1,199) with a 300W digital amplifier and an 8-inch version (Model 208, $999) with a 200W amplifier.

The FloBox and Roots lines come in black, red, white, yellow and silver high-gloss finishes. They are aimed at a female audience, as well as young consumers, with a household income of about $50,000.

The custom installation industry, Burkhardt and other say, needs to attract new types of customers if it wants to survive. High-end and specialty dealers have to learn to embrace the new technologies and products that are capturing consumer attention, even though the products have a much lower price tag that traditional A/V gear.

Since the beginning of the recession, SpeakerCraft has lost about 15 percent of its dealers and needs to seek broader opportunities, Burkhardt said.

This doesn’t mean the company will diminish its focus on serving dealers and installers in the high-end market. But it will work to help those dealers integrate these new types of products with their more traditional system sales, market them to consumers when they see a need in the home, and use them to generate incremental business through new demographics.


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