As consumer electronics technology grows more sophisticated, more retailers are developing custom installation services as a way to gain new customers, increase sales and boost profits. Where a few short years ago ‘installation’ involved delivering a product to the customer’s home and plugging it in, today the term takes on an entirely different meaning. Like their counterparts that focus only on high-end design/build jobs, retailers are taking the extra step to design, engineer and implement multi-room audiovisual distribution and control.
The question has since transformed from, ‘Should I offer custom installation?’ to ‘How can I offer custom installation and make money at it?’ Like all opportunities, this one presents many challenges. But if the retailer has a solid back-end operation that is in full sync with the front end, those pitfalls can be minimized.
Mitchell Klein, senior partner at StayTuned, a consultancy in Newton, Mass., underlines that retailers must have a very clear idea of their identity, mission and the scope of work they can handle before launching into custom installation. What type of projects are you looking for? What type of jobs will you accept? What are your core competencies? In doing this, businesses can draw a very distinct box around what they will offer, lessening potential problems down the road. “You’ve got to, because you can get pulled into all kinds of things that will cost you cash, resources and your reputation,” he said.