Embracing Technology and Finding Solutions Means Happy Customers for Mobile Edge
Mobile Edge still sells and installs aftermarket head units with –Bluetooth and iPod/iPhone connectivity as well, but becoming expert in doing the integration and enhancements to the factory head units has really increased the amount of audio the company is selling overall. Schaffer added, "We're just getting customers who really have no idea we can do things so integrated and functional." Schaffer highlights older vehicles with no ability to have these gateway devices added and fewer overall installation obstacles as prime opportunities to move into aftermarket head units. "Many of the manufacturers have offerings with some increased functionality to things like iPhone/iPod and Pandora radio and when it's appropriate, we sell it," commented Schaffer.
Pioneer's MVH-P8300BT and Alpine's iDA-X305S are a couple of single-DIN head unit examples that provide a decent sized screen that's easily read, all while connecting to an iPhone/iPod and (if on an iPhone) providing increased –Pandora radio functionality in a mid $300s retail price range.
Speaking of Pandora, Schaffer notes that the awareness of that music app/service is overwhelmingly the most recognized service and the one that his customers ask about most when it comes to integrating their own smartphone. Others Schaffer mentioned were also discussed from time to time in his store included Slacker and iHeartRadio. On the flip side, Schaffer noted that HD Radio wasn't a big pull in their store for customers to upgrade their car sound systems. "If the head unit they are considering comes with HD Radio built in, they appreciate that feature, but very seldom do we install external [add-on] HD Radio tuners," said Schaffer. It looks like apps for personal radio stations and finding opportunities to connect them to customer's vehicles, either wired or wireless, is gaining more relevance with customers. Schaffer noted that although May 2011 was slower than usual, with this approach to integrating and embracing smartphone integration, they are still up about 5% over last year's sales and June has been very busy.