Retail Excellence Winner:: MODIA: The Definition of Innovation
In the consumer electronics industry, the word “innovation” bounces around quite often. We use it to describe new products, trends and professionals. Its overuse, however, should not detract from the power it holds behind it. True innovation is backed by business intelligence, passion and market savvy, which many have, but only few have mastered. When you think of CE retailer and integrator MODIA, the term mastery certainly applies. For this and more reasons, Dealerscope honors MODIA with a 2014 Retail Excellence Award.
MODIA began in 1986. Corporate headquarters has been in the same place—Houston, Texas—since 1990. Today, it also has locations in Dallas/Forth Worth and Austin.
There are a few key reasons that MODIA has carved a permanent slot in the CE landscape in this area. First, Mihir Mody, CEO, and his team, which includes co-owner Prashant Mody, are extremely particular about their target audience —the luxury market.
“I dare say that my business does not have any local competition, since we are a brand unto ourselves,” says Mihir Mody. “The products are upscale and have a market niche unmatched by local retailers. Our stores are a testament on their own due to their luxury setting—and the product demonstrations are unique.”
This comes as no surprise to Dave Workman, co-president of buying group ProSource. Before partnering with Home Entertainment Source, Workman was president of ProGroup, of which MODIA had been an eight-year member.
“One of the most important things a CE retailer must do today is communicate clearly your position in the market,” stresses Workman. “Those who have fastened a position in luxury, as MODIA has, are doing OK.”
Workman is also impressed with how the MODIA team has “so craftily” maintained a retail presence in addition to its presentations in its custom CI showrooms. He credits Mody’s impeccable attention to design for this success.
Some of the latest improvements to the MODIA show floors include polished concrete floors, open to bar-joist ceilings and demo rooms with glass walls. These are just some of the “unique urban design elements new to this industry that differentiate our stores from other retailers,” Mody says.
His eye for design is certainly a major factor in the stores’ success—his passion leading him to start a furniture line of his own to be featured in showrooms. And he also has showcased Apple products prominently.
“Who would have thought that a custom integrator/retailer would be involved with Apple? But MODIA has made it work,” says Workman.
With all of MODIA’s success, Mody is still not blind to the industry’s challenges. “Continued price erosion, increasing number of me-too competitors and declining store traffic are the typical challenges we face in today’s market,” he explains. “Our brand listing on major third-party platforms such as Amazon has helped increase public awareness. Our post-installation survey has helped strengthen the count of repeat clients. We place dedicated staff to manage social-media marketing and to add
And resting on its laurels is something this team will never do. In fact, they are setting their sights on the commercial market.
“We have expanded and improvised our product line to meet new customer needs such as video conferencing, multi-tasking gadgets, etc.,” he says. “Commercial clientele needs will be met with gadgets that enable networking such as touch screens, data projectors and other connected technologies.”
From design to market placement to keen foresight, MODIA has certainly earned its impressive reputation in the CE industry. Workman calls them “ingenious” for so carefully meshing these important business skills.
To boot, the fruits of their labor will again be recognized with a new store location in Dallas this fall.
When asked about the future of retailing over the next two years and MODIA’s place in it, Mody offers this reply: “Competition will continue to prune the retailing industry and lead to consolidation, paving the way for specialty retailers. This will attract niche markets leading to surgical reductions in the retailers.
“We will continue to carve out profitable markets in this landscape. Adoption of unilateral pricing policies by major suppliers has improved profitability, allowing for further reinvestment in our businesses to meet customer needs for new innovations.” n