Brian Ploskina

Brian Ploskina
TigerDirect Partners to Do More

Global climate change and environmental awareness have driven deep changes in the ways CE retailers and manufacturers run their businesses.

Intelligent Installations

If you’ve ever torn apart a dash when you didn’t have to, or taken out the center console when the lead was hiding in the trunk, then you understand what mobile installers from Audio Express go through every day. Everyone is an expert, but there’s rarely a day when at least one customer doesn’t come in with a vehicle that is either new to the crew, uncommon or known to have difficult wiring diagrams. “There’s no way that every installer or every salesperson can know the difficulty of every car,” said Grant Phillips, director of purchasing for Audio Express. “There are some cars that

Reducing Returns

With the pace at which technology changes and improves today, it’s quite possible consumers could replace newly bought electronics by returning them before the warranty expires and upgrading to the newest models, thereby never having to pay the full price again. In fact, many people do. But that’s just one of the problems Tony Sciarrotta, Philips’ director of returns management, was grappling with eight years ago. Millions of Philips SKUs that consumers returned to the manufacturer never should have been accepted by the retailer, either because the warranty or return period expired, the item wasn’t originally purchased at that store, or the

SIRAS Strives To Stop Fraudulent Retail Returns

With the pace at which technology changes and improves today, it’s quite possible consumers could replace newly bought electronics by returning them before the warranty expires and upgrading to the newest models, thereby never having to pay the full price again. In fact, many people do. But that’s just one of the problems Tony Sciarrotta, Philips’ director of returns management, was looking to grapple with eight years ago. Millions of Philips SKUs that consumers returned to the manufacturer never should have been accepted by the retailer, either because the warranty or return period expired, the item wasn’t originally purchased at that store, or the

Flipping Over Wireless Trade-Ins

Ask yourself a question: How many used cell phones do you have shoved in a drawer somewhere? What about your family and friends? Chances are, if you collected all of them, you’d have quite a bounty of electronic waste. Of course, you’ve had little choice, since there have been few options for recycling cell phones. But FlipSwap is trying to change that. Not only do you now have an option for recycling the phone, but you can make a buck off of it too. And if you’re a consumer electronics retailer, you can accept those phones in your store and give your customers store

Retailers Make Money From Used Cell Phones

Ask yourself a question: How many used cell phones do you have shoved in a drawer somewhere? What about your family and friends? Chances are, if you collected all of them, you’d have quite a bounty of electronic waste. Of course, you’ve had little choice, since there have been few options for recycling cell phones. But FlipSwap is trying to change that. Not only do you now have an option for recycling the phone, but you can make a buck off of it too. And if you’re a consumer electronics retailer, you can accept those phones in your store and give your customers store

Videos Put online Sales In Motion

Writing a brilliant online product description is kind of like writing the pinnacle scene of a romance novel—even the most poetic language can fail to turn your readers on. Welcome to Costco Inventory Control Specialist Scott Tuton’s world. When a prospective customer clicks on a product page at Costco.com, Tuton knows he has only a few precious seconds to persuade the visitor not to travel further to learn more about the item. That’s why Costco and many other retailers are turning to online video demonstrations to give visitors more of the in-store experience, coming as close as possible to allowing customers to touch and

How Costco and Ritz Camera Increase Online Sales

Writing a brilliant online product description is kind of like writing the pinnacle scene of a romance novel – even the most poetic language can fail to turn your readers on. Welcome to Costco Inventory Control Specialist Scott Tuton’s world. When a prospective customer clicks on a product page at Costco.com, Tuton knows he has only a few precious seconds to persuade the visitor not to travel further to learn more about the item. So those two to 10 sentences of “romantic” product literature can make or break the sale. That’s why Costco and many other retailers are turning to online video demonstrations to

Anytime, Anywhere Service Offerings

The most difficult things for nearly every independent CE retailer are to find, hire, train and retain qualified system installers. In fact, when Chris Mauzy left as head of Best Buy’s business program to start OnCall Installs six months ago, figuring out who was going to perform the installs turned out to be his biggest challenge. “The real world applies and people aren’t going to stay at a job that long,” Mauzy said. However, he was familiar with a company called OnForce, which was running what one might call the eBay of IT professional services. Companies needing someone to perform a job post ads,

OnForce Expands Retailer Installation Services

The most difficult things for nearly every independent CE retailer are to find, hire, train and retain qualified system installers. In fact, when Chris Mauzy left as head of Best Buy’s business program to start OnCall Installs six months ago, figuring out who was going to perform the installs turned out to be his biggest challenge. “The real world applies and people aren’t going to stay at a job that long,” Mauzy said. However, he was familiar with a company called OnForce, which was running what one might call the eBay of IT professional services. Companies needing someone to perform a job post ads,

Jerry Throgmartin, Chairman and CEO, hhgregg

How does hhgregg do it? In an age of zero margins, ever-increasing big-box presence, consumers with less expendable income and more things to spend it on, this regional powerhouse of a consumer electronics retailer has been expanding… aggressively. That means Chairman and CEO Jerry Throgmartin has at least two things going for him: the knowledge of what it takes to succeed in a highly competitive CE landscape, and the guts to execute on it. And, to be sure, he ought to be this good. He literally grew up around the business, working in the store his grandparents built while in middle school. That

Rebate Redemption

Competing with the big boxes, a retailer finds itself considering every tool in the shed to keep prices at a minimum, and that includes rebates. But consumer rebates can act as a double-edged sword. They represent an excellent opportunity to drop prices with usually only the manufacturer taking the hit. But if only a few customers experience unreasonable problems attempting to (heaven forbid!) cash in the rebate, you may find your brand the villain at various parties and Internet forums. There’s no sale worth that. Like extended service plans, the word on the street concerning rebates can be negative at times. Consumers are often

The Final 10 Percent

There’s a lot that can go wrong between the time a manufacturer finishes making a cell phone and when the dealer receives it, which is a why a lot of them look to a company like Brightpoint. Not a household name, Brightpoint bills itself as the “last mile” in the wireless distribution and supply chain, with a constant focus on driving costs out of the channel by streamlining processes and improving systems. Its roster of clients is a Who’s Who of the wireless industry (basically every carrier you’ve ever heard of, sans Verizon Wireless and AT&T). And now Brightpoint is global. The

Customer Satisfaction Guaranteed

Anyone who moves SKUs online knows that shopping cart conversion is the name of the game. The problem is finding the closing strategy that works best for a particular retail site. After having little success with several strategies, David Hausmann tried something different. The president of Bright and Sleek, an online home theater retailer based in Hallandale, Fla., Hausmann found a way to offer every one of his customers a 90-day, no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee. In other words, no matter what reason customers may have for not enjoying the 50-inch plasma or surround sound system they purchased from Bright and Sleek, they can return it

Toshiba Revs Up High-Margin LCDs

Ever since flat panel televisions entered the mass market, retailers have viewed them as a double-edged sword around the time the holiday selling season ramped up. On the one side is consumer demand for flat panels every year, which drives sales and store traffic. On the other, manufacturers and big box retailers slash the prices so low that independent dealers have to choose between losing margins or losing sales altogether. Come this Black Friday, Toshiba hopes to reduce the anxiety dealers have about pricing pressures, and is taking steps to help. Between 120Hz technology and sets featuring super narrow bezels, Scott Ramirez, Toshiba vice