Mobile Electronics Shift Gears
The 12-volt industry—faced with dwindling interest from its once core audience of young males and the improvement of OEM gear—has been forced to change as much as any player in consumer electronics. On top of that, the economy and the exit of several key retailers from the market have caused those manufacturers to tighten their belts. The upside, though, is that the changes have forced 12-volt manufacturers to rely more on independent dealers and installers to sell new technologies and full solutions to an evolving customer base. Representatives from some key mobile electronics manufacturers discuss how they’re dealing with those changes.
Dealerscope: How has the importance of independent dealers changed since the demise of Circuit City and Tweeter?
Stephen Witt, vice president, marketing, Alpine: This represented the biggest opportunity the aftermarket retailer has had in 20 years to serve the underserved customer. If the 12-volt retailer hasn’t already taken steps to capture the Circuit City or Tweeter client, that customer is already going somewhere else. This is an unbelievable opportunity for the specialist to recognize that they need to present themselves as a solution to the big-box customer; to present their core value as an installer who can address tougher installs and unique customer requests. Dealers ought to be proactively courting this customer, with banners that say something like, “We service Circuit City customers.”