Carolyn Heinze

Carolyn Heinze
Getting Paid

For consumer electronics and appliance dealers, it has been standard practice to give away a number of services and accessories as part of a big-ticket sale. Everything from haul-aways, deliveries, cords, connectors and even installations have been thrown in to sweeten the deal. The philosophy: if the customers are happy, they’ll come back and, better yet, tell their friends about you. A legitimate argument, and the practice has without a doubt helped to foster that valued customer loyalty. But as product margins continue to grow tighter, dealers are discovering that it’s costing them a lot more than they originally bargained for. Decreasing margins

Accessorizing Your Sales Pitch

Mention the word ‘accessories’ to a salesperson and images of small, low-ticket items immediately come to mind. But as consumers invest more money in big-ticket gear, many of the accompanying accessories have been rising in quality and price. To add as much functionality to their investments as possible, consumers are reaching for their wallets to buy the appropriate accessories. “There has been a definite trend toward more premium-priced accessories. The iPod is a current example of it, but I think it was Harley Davidson that started this trend,” said Chris Lyons, manager of educational and technical communications at Shure, Evanston, Ill. After purchasing a $20,000

Location, Location, LocatioN

They may be smaller and they may reap lower commissions for employees, but accessories serve as an important staple in any consumer electronics retailer’s product make-up. As high-ticket items grow more sophisticated in their functionality, their associated accessories help consumers to get more out of their purchases. At the retail level, these high-tech ‘nuts ‘n’ bolts’ drive traffic, help build strong customer relationships, generate repeat clientele and, in the end, contribute significantly to the bottom line. As the number of cables, adapters, headsets and memory cards grows, so, too, does the need for strategic placement of these products. Cindy Anderson, senior marketing communications manager at

Selling Peace of Mind

Historically, customers were wary of buying an extended warranty or service agreement with their purchases. The increasing complexity of consumer electronics, however, is driving consumers to think twice before turning these policies down. “People are buying them more,” said Peter Kotsakis, sales manager at Flanner’s Home Entertainment in Brookfield, Wis. “We have a pretty good attachment rate as far as selling warranties with video products.” Customers today are seeking peace of mind and are willing to pay for it. When buying a plasma television, a home theater or a whole-house audio system, the extra cost associated with covering failures or breakdowns seems like an

Customizing Retail

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