Attitudes: Demos Drive New Business
Consumers love shopping on the Internet. But one of the most important demographics to CE dealers—Millennials, or the 86 million young consumers in the U.S. between ages 13 and 31—prefer shopping for their mobile devices, gadgets and accessories at brick-and-mortar retailers.
The main reason, as Grace Ellis, CEA’s specialist of industry and policy communications, points out in her special report on page 28, is that they love to actually touch, feel and test the products before buying. That’s something they can’t do on the Internet. And it’s all the more reason why CE vendors have to do a better job providing their retail partners with the support they need to sell more of their products.
All CE retailers say they sell more products and achieve higher margins when the gear is supported with intuitive, hands-on demos that highlight a product’s main features, compare them favorably against the competition and give the consumer an indelible impression of the product’s sound and visual quality. Yet almost all dealers complain that most of their main vendor partners fall short on the demo front.
In Nancy Klosek’s story on accessory trends at the retail level on page 14, industry stalwart Vance Pflanz echoes the thoughts of every other dealer in the CE channel when he says he’s most appreciative of vendors that make an effort of providing demo support. Throughout the channel, that appreciation really means that dealers, in turn, put more sales support behind the products from vendors that support them with demos. Sometimes it comes down to simple POS material or tabletop displays, as Alan Guyes of Audiotronics points out in the same story.
Demonstrations on the sales floor are becoming more important as hot product categories like Bluetooth speakers and the new wireless headphones become more crowded. A better sounding, better looking, easier-to-use device will outsell its inferior competitor any day, but only if the consumer can experience it firsthand.
And there’s really no group of consumers drawn more to the new audio and mobile categories than Millennials. According to CEA’s latest research, 76 percent of the 86 million Millennials bought accessories (that includes headphones and portable speakers) in the past year through brick-and-mortar stores, while 66 percent of them consider physical stores their primary channel for buying CE accessories.
The brick-and-mortar CE retailers own that coveted business. Smart vendors also have a chance at winning it.