The Hottest Product Nobody’s HeardJanuary 2, 2013 By Jeff O'Heir
The hit of my wife’s holiday office party wasn’t the fancy buffet or the open bar. It was Monster’s Clarity HD Micro portable Bluetooth speaker.
First off, Dealerscope has been a fan of portable Bluetooth speakers since the folks at Braven slipped us a 625s at the CEA Line Shows last summer. The moment we turned it on, we believed the device, no matter what brand is stamped on it, should be a huge seller at retail. The speakers solve an ubiquitous problem (the inability of portable devices to project decent sound), can be taken anywhere, and promote goodwill through the sharing of music and other audio. What consumer wouldn’t want one?
They should also be an easy sell for CE retailers: The majority of their customers already carry a smartphone and/or tablet and need better sound; Bluetooth speaker MSRPs are relatively high and bump up the average ticket on low-margin portable devices; many consumers have bought higher-priced better-quality headphones and are ready for the next logical step in quality sound.
The speakers should be as successful as headphones at the retail level, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Despite the number of devices available and the amount of press they’ve received, you’d think more consumers would be buying them or at least know about them. We haven’t seen any industry-wide sales figures yet, but anecdotally, they seem to be a well-kept secret.
That’s a shame, because the 30 or so people who’ve listened to mine during the last five months want one. They’ve never seen one before, but as soon as they hear it, they ask where they can buy one. And the reaction cuts across all demographics.
My wife’s holiday party was a good example of that. She’s a teacher at a public school on Long Island, just east of New York City. Most of the 37 people at the party were upper-middle class women. Their ages range from about 30 to the upper-60s. Most of them carry the latest smartphones, and many of them have Bluetooth connectivity in their cars.
It was my wife’s job to collect the songs for a “guess the TV theme” contest. Being a technophobe, she had my nine-year-old daughter collect them from MOG. I suggested she take the Monster speaker (commandeered by my daughter the day I brought it home; I use the Braven). She also took a traditional docking station as backup. (Like I said, she’s a technophobe.)
At the party, she couldn’t get the docking station to work (I’m still afraid to ask why), so she tentatively took out the Monster and turned it on. As soon as she began playing the music, the questions and comments started coming: What is that? Where are the wires? What is it called? Where can I get one? Do I just ask for a ‘Monster’? Can we touch it? What is this ‘MOG’? Did you have to buy each song? Can we carry that speaker around the room? Can I connect my phone to it? Can I play my own music through it? Can you bring this with you to next year’s party?
The one question they didn’t ask was how much it cost. They saw a device that provided a solution in a very simple and elegant way, and they wanted one. “They couldn’t believe how good it sounded,” my wife reported. “They had the best time with it.”
Once again, there’s the proof that the right demonstration backed by the right advertising can generate big sales. (In the case of Bluetooth speakers, simply turn the thing on and play your customer’s music through it) Your next hot product is already here, and consumers want it. Too many of them, though, still don’t know it exists.