Garmin Maps A New Direction
Jon Peckman, a nine-year veteran of Garmin International, remembers trying to crack CE and mass-market retail accounts with plain industrial-style navigation products. Over the years, though, Peckman and a receptive retail market have watched Garmin’s original navigation products—designed for aviators and backcountry explorers—evolve into the eMap, eTrex, StreetPilot, and nuvi. Nuvi, in particular, has become a sexy mass-market must-have that continues to set new directions for navigation devices by helping retailers drive revenue and capture incremental customers.
“They created a product that made my sales calls a lot easier,” said Peckman, now Garmin’s director of sales for key accounts.
Garmin’s story—from the company’s inception in 1989 to its strong market share and earnings last year—depicts a company that has made many of the right moves and has cultivated deep relationships with dealers and distributors. “Garmin has done an extraordinary job of innovating within the category,” said Henry Chiarelli, chief merchandising officer of DBL, a Scottsdale Ariz.-based distributor that carries about 100 Garmin SKUs and has seen double to triple year-over-year growth since it began carrying the line seven years ago. “They have become the category leaders in adding unique features and driving the continued growth of the category.”