Mobile Electronics Shift Gears
Malone: For us, a prime focus is to streamline usability and make products more intuitive, providing consumers with a menu of key options such as Bluetooth, navigation, cameras, collision avoidance sensors, whether the features are upgrades or included. By doing that, you can also hit some more attractive price-points, get consumers in the door and engage them with the dealer base.
We’re also seeing some car makers “de-contenting” vehicles to get the platform cost down and then letting the dealer make the upgrade sale. It gives the consumer a good entry-level price and then he can choose his options. The more complex we make products, the harder they are to sell. Those individuals who dig into the details of products are there to dig into them and they’ll find a way to the technologies and use them. At least the dealer has the option of moving the consumer in different directions in the discussion.
Dealerscope: What’s the most important thing you’ve done to improve communications with your dealers?
Malone: There have been some internal initiatives and social media initiatives in the works. We stepped up efforts to have our regionals get in front of key accounts. We have better and increased training to our extended sales force. We have a completed database of all our dealers in e-mail, so we cover everyone. We’re making efforts to direct communications rather than just go through rep groups or regionals to get them information in real time; we have much better control of our messaging. And we’re soon starting up an Audiovox blog so they can tell us what they like and don’t like. We’re in front of more dealers more frequently with our training than ever. There’s no better way to engage than that.