Stock the Brands You TrustDavid Wardleworth, Vice President of OmniMount, branded products
You’ve already invested plenty to ensure you have a brand that your customers trust; one that delivers on the promise of quality and service. Are the brands that you’re placing on the shelves doing the same? The company behind the product may have a bigger impact on your bottom line than you think. Especially if they are failing on any of the brand integrity markers - product quality, service quality, and social and environmental responsibility - that promote ultimate brand satisfaction. People like brands that are like them.
In the social world we live in, we’ll gladly tell others about the product and the store it was bought from. So how do you stay out in front of the positive-brand parade in the accessories category?
One way is to choose brands that meet and exceed CE industry product standards. Take UL ratings for example. They are benchmarks from an unbiased third party in consumer safety, and attest to the quality of a product. Having products UL listed isn’t mandatory, and not all manufacturers pay for testing. Requiring mounts and other accessories to carry a UL marker ensures their quality and also protects your customers from potentially unsafe products. They also protect your brand byassociation.
(For years, the mount industry was tested to the UL 1678 standard, which made provisions for mounts but was actually outlined for furniture. The testing was sufficient, but didn’t necessarily take into account all the variables of wall mounts, like the lifetime cycle use of a product. UL has since developed a more appropriate standard specific to mounts: UL2442. In addition to the new standard, UL is launching a targeted marketing campaign to reach and educate consumers. As consumer awareness grows so will the demand for UL rated products.)
Another marker to consider when exploring brand integrity is a manufacturer’s commitment to service, not only to the retailer through the ordering process, but also for consumers after they buy the product. Do they offer multiple contact options for reaching the company, in multiple languages, to serve various parts of the world? Do they stand behind their products with warranties and service programs? From the website to the person answering the phones, every point of the customers experience is a brand experience. Brands with integrity will take the time to help ensure that process is smooth throughout the buying cycle. A company that invests in its products and employees is more likely to stand behind you and your customers with exceptional product standards as well. Investing in in-house industrial design and engineering, testing facilities, and global customer service gives a company the ability to quickly and efficiently address needs. It’s important to work with partners that stand behind their products and make things right if something goes wrong.
The degree that your customers know or care about the social responsibility of an accessories company will vary. Companies with a strong code of conduct and social responsibility are becoming more favorable in the eyes of the consumer. They want to support socially responsible brands, not only those that give back to communities through service efforts, charities and volunteering, but also those that adhere to green initiatives. Companies should understand the lifecycle of their product and take the initiative to reduce, reuse, and recycle to limit their carbon footprint. Choosing brands that are compliant to global packaging and recycling requirements gives customers that care an avenue for reducing their own carbon footprints as well.
Making distinctions to ensure that your customers have a positive experience with your brand is a big responsibility. Whether related to product performance and industry ratings, service or social responsibility, the brands you carry are also a reflection on your business as a whole. Make sure you’re up to date with evolving industry standards and the needs of your customers. Some partnerships might promise a big return initially, but be cautious, few will provide the integrity you and your customers deserve. Keeping your standards high and choosing your brands carefully can result in a healthier long-term business.
Securranty Details New iPhone, iPad Plans
Warranty provider Securranty announced iPhone 5S and 5C protection plans that include various features such as zero deductibles as well as same-day repair options at Apple’s Genius Bar. The plans are available starting at $59 a year for the one-year plan. Customers can select plans ranging up to three years.
The company cited statistics showing the average person checks a cell phone about 150 times per day, and one in three iPhones are accidentally damaged withintheir first year of purchase. Its accidental insurance plan differs from traditional iPhone insurance plans that carry high deductibles and monthly fees that cost up to 50 percent more than Securranty plans, the company said.
The Warranty Group, NEW Renew Partnership
The Warranty Group has renewed its 20-year-plus partnership with NEW with a multi-year contract that enables The Warranty Group, via its wholly owned insurance subsidiary Virginia Surety Company, to continue to provide contractual liability insurance coverage, underwriting and actuarial support for several of NEW’s protection plan programs for the consumer electronics, appliance, office products and exercise equipment categories.
Assurant Donates to Red Cross for Tornado, Typhoon Relief
The Assurant Foundation, the charitable subsidiary of Assurant, contributed $50,000 to the American Red Cross’s Disaster Relief Fund to help aid victims of the tornadoes that swept through the Midwest in November . The Red Cross is providing shelter and other assistance for storm victims in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio.
Assurant Foundation also donated $50,000 to the American Red Cross to support their disaster relief efforts in helping those affected by November’s Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The Foundation will match funds raised by employees at office-based events in support of charitable relief efforts for the region.
WarrantyEdge Offers Freebie with iPhone 5S/5C Plan
WarrantyEdge has announced that it is offering a free Armor Guard Screen Protector with the purchase of an iPhone 5S or iPhone 5C Warranty Protection Plan.
Included with the purchase is the “As Seen on TV” product, which offers shock absorption and damage prevention when an iPhone screen is hit. The offer is good while supplies last, says Kevin McColgan, president of WarrantyEdge.
WarrantyEdge, part of the Global Warranty Group (GWG), offers warranties in product categories besides iOS devices, including major appliances, consumer electronics, smartphones, tablets/e-readers, laptops, cameras, TVs and home theaters.
SquareTrade Survey: Breaking Bad Over the Holidays
The frenzied holiday season just past, with consumers traveling, gift shopping, cooking and decorating in overdrive, will have taken a notably high toll not just on nerves but also on consumer electronics, especially mobile phones, judging by responses given by 1,609 online consumers to SquareTrade’s 2013 Holiday Pulse Surveys.
According to the survey’s results, collected just ahead of the 2013 holidays, one in eight households in America had damaged a laptop, phone, camera or tablet during the holidays and 35 percent of devices damaged during the holidays were mobile phones. Nearly twice as many iPhones were reported damaged during the holidays as Samsung smartphones, and 51 percent of damages during the holiday season were attributed to traveling (22 percent), shopping (12 percent), cooking (10 percent) and decorating (seven percent). Ty Shay, SquareTrade’s CMO, characterized the results as evidence that “fragile and high-priced items apparently need extra safeguarding during the holidays.”
Assurant Names Harrison Europe CEO
Assurant Solutions has named Chris Harrison president and CEO of its European businesses, subject to regulatory approval. Harrison assumes the Assurant Solutions European leadership role from former European CEO Mike Balsley, who is returning to an executive position in the United States.
Harrison has served since April 2012 as CEO of Lifestyle Services Group, a U.K.-based provider of mobile device insurance. Assurant recently acquired LSG to broaden its footprint in the growing mobile protection market. A 25-year financial services executive, Harrison has experience in the insurance market and mobile insurance and services space. Prior to joining LSG, he served as chief executive of ACE Group’s Combined Insurance Europe division, where he was responsible for developing the business model and distribution strategies across the region.
World Wide Stereo Debuts Holiday Gift Guide
World Wide Stereo this week announced the release of its 2013 holiday gift guide, featuring more than 50 items.
The guide features products in the TV, home theater, speaker, in-car and turntable categories, as well as the retailer's $3 million private IMAX home theater.
The full guide can be viewed here.
Sponsored Article: Holiday 2013: The Year Mobile Takes Over?
Numbers from research firm eMarketer indicate that m-commerce will jump 56% in 2013 from 2012, predicting that this year’s U.S. retail sales from smartphones and tablets will reach $39 billion!
Deloitte corroborates eMarketer’s mobile-heavy story with the recently revealed results of its 2013 Annual Holiday Survey of more than 5,000 consumers nationwide.
First of all, Deloitte’s research found that 60 percent of consumers now have smartphones, and of those smartphone users, nearly 7 out of 10 plan to use their phone for shopping purposes this holiday.
Deloitte asked shoppers for details on how they plan to use their smartphones this holiday season and received a multitude of responses from research to showrooming to purchasing to deal-seeking.
The majority of these shoppers will still be using their mobiles for finding store locations and comparing prices, but 31% plan to make purchases with their smartphones.
Use these strategies to make sure you’re prepared for the mobile shopper this year:
1. Get your products on eBay and Amazon
These websites already have apps with impressive followings, and if your products are on the sites, they will show up in mobile search results. In fact, according to Nielsen, eBay and Amazon claim the top two spots on the list of the most popular mobile commerce apps in the U.S. EBay’s app has been downloaded more than 162 million times, and Amazon’s 64.9 million. Chances are, building your own app would cost much more and wouldn’t get you a fraction of the traffic you’d get through these apps. Find out more about Amazon and eBay's mobile apps in this eBook.
2. Properly bid your Google Enhanced Campaigns
With Enhanced Campaigns, mobile is bid as a derivative of your tablet/PC bid. Therefore, you have to be careful not to submit the same bid on all devices, as that could lead to overspending on either mobile or tablet/PC bids. Analyze performance by device and make sure you are creating device-specific ads and sitelinks.
3. Make sure your website is responsively designed
Responsively designed websites automatically detect the device being used and respond by offering the optimal viewing experience. Flexible images and fluid grids size correctly to fit the screen. With the increasing adoption of tablets and smartphones worldwide, and the continuing trend of multidevice shopping, responsive design may become standard in the future. Build a website once and it works seamlessly across thousands of screens. For users, it ensures the ideal experience on every screen.
4. Meet the need for speed
Mobile shoppers are impatient! A KISSMetrics study found that 49% of mobile shoppers abandoned a mobile site if it took 10 seconds to load. Google’s PageSpeed Insights will help you check site speed and offer suggestions to make it faster. Keep in mind that improperly sized images can cause slow load times; a Rich Media solution can address that concern.
5. Make sure your product information is up-to-date
Not only do you need to regularly update your inventory amounts, but you also need to make sure your product information is up-to-date and comprehensive. Per the Deloitte survey above, the third-most common reason shoppers are using their smartphones is to get product information, and the fifth-most reason is to read reviews. Providing detailed product information as well as reviews can help shoppers find out more about the items they are interested in, and could encourage them to buy from your mobile site.
Mobile shopping is certainly hitting its stride this holiday season. We'll be watching closely to see if it lives up to the predictions of eMarketer. In the meantime, use these tips to help increase your mobile conversions, and check out the tip sheet below for more ideas.
Blog post by Delisa Reavis, Sr. Mgr., Global Corp Comm, Marketing Director, APAC
Want more holiday mobile tips? Check out our 8 Holiday Tips for Mobile Tip Sheet and learn how you can turn those browsing shoppers into buying customers.
Women in CE Legacy Awards Tickets Are Now on Sale
The Women in CE organization's fifth annual Legacy Awards will take place during International CES in January. The reception will take place Jan. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Paris Hotel. Tickets are on sale now.
Tara Dunion of CEA is the event's Master of Ceremonies. CEA is the Presenting Sponsor of the event, Monster the Platinum Sponsor and Gold Sponsors include the Consumer Technology Publishing Group, Core Brands, Polk, Velodyne, ATON, Furman, Proficient Audio, Korus, SpeakerCraft, ELAN, Niles, Sunfire, California Audio Technology (CAT), Mitek, SiriusXM, Panamax and Xantech.
Bronze sponsors include Azione Unlimited, HES, HTSA, Leviton and Specialty Electronics Nationwide.