The second part of our yearly canvass covers hot categories, social media and sales projections. See the first part here.
Dealerscope: Besides TV – the perennial “category with coattails” that, for dealers willing to use it as such, can bring in add-on, higher-margin sales – do you think 2015 will present your membership with another such category (or trend) with coattails – and if so, what would that be?
Jim Sendrak, Vice President, Marketing and CE Divisions, MEGA Group USA: That goes back to how entrenched and passionate a dealer is about the category. Television is still a big one; while you may not make much money on the TV, there’s still plenty to be made on installation, furniture, upgrading other components, adding audio to improve their sound quality to match the picture performance. It’s Retail 101. That’s up to the members to decide how deeply they want to get into it.
If you’re simply going to transact TVs, and call it a day, you might be better investing that floorspace in some other category. To make money in CE, you have to remember you’re selling a piece of entertainment. So why not expose the customer to everything that’s available? Maybe they’ll take everything that’s available, and if they take two or three things, then you’ve just done yourself a favor and helped that customer. If you’re a TV store, you need to show the curved TVs, the 4K UHD TVs. Next year, [the industry will] probably be on to 8K. You need to make an investment on your floor with all those technologies so you can stay competitive with the Best Buys and the larger independent regional players.
Jim Ristow, CEO, BrandSource: All the categories we’ve talked about have long coattails. An average consumer may buy one or two rooms of lighting control or wireless multiroom, and most come back to add more rooms – it’s the Trojan horse to get into the home. It’s not just upper-stratosphere clients. It’s becoming mainstream, as are the price-points. But even so, customers and clients want somebody to install it or hook it up, and explain it. Some of it’s expertise, and some of it is that they just don’t want to do it themselves. Many people can mow their own lawn or get a pool service in, but they have lawn- or pool-care services. This is a service category, and a great revenue opportunity for our members.