When the Boss Is Away...
Another IASCA program Papadeas promotes to retailers is Auto Sound Enthusiasts (ASE) membership. "This ASE membership can go out to these customers who want to know about car audio, but will never sweat it out in the lane for a plastic trophy," he said, noting that only 3 percent to 5 percent of IASCA's retail members actually run sound-off competitions. "That is too small a segment to focus solely on," he remarked. "The car audio competition is a good tool to enhance your sales by stimulating market places, but one of the things we're proposing to bring more people into our fold is the ASE membership."
The ASE competitions can also be lucrative, or at least cover the cost of the $250 IASCA dealer membership. So far, the organization has signed about 35 dealers under the new program. With the membership, IASCA retailers get 25 ASE memberships to sell for $10 each. In turn, consumers get a subscription to an IASCA magazine, a couple of stickers for the car, an online newsletter and a pass code to an online, members-only forum.
At the core of the IASCA restructuring is a mission to return profitability to the industry. He sees it being cut by reduced margins from the manufacturers, increased competition by multiple brands and the erosion of the industry's image with "buy one get one free" and "free installation" promotions. He is thus trying to turn IASCA into an organization that promotes the mobile electronics industry, starting with the dealer. "The dealer is the pivotal component of our industry and our organization, and I think everybody needs to know that, especially the dealer," he said.