Business Strategy

Food For Thought
November 1, 2005

Even CE dealers can learn from a non-industry retail store like Whole Foods Elly Valas Senior Consultant Guerrilla Group You know the drill. You say, "Where do you want to have dinner?" Your friend says, "I don't know. What kind of food do you feel like?" You answer, "I haven't had sushi in a while," and your friend responds, "I really feel like barbeque tonight." My friend Sandy and I just had that exchange until I finally came up with the perfect solution—the grocery store! Not just any grocery store, but the newest Whole Foods Market that just opened in Denver. At more

Loyalty is a Two-way Street
November 1, 2005

Lessons to be learned for the independant sales representative Debbie Vaughn President, TDMarketing As a mobile electronics rep, I spend a lot of my time visiting dealers of all sizes. Like many reps, I also work with several different manufacturers. One of the hardest things a rep has to do is be in the middle and keep everyone happy. When times get a little tough, as they recently have, it truly calls for creativity, understanding and hard work. For starters, most dealers expect their manufacturers to remain "true" to them by not signing up another dealer in the vicinity. The tough part is when the dealers don't want to display the

Female Shopper Observations
November 1, 2005

Does the experience live up to the promise? Kristen des Chatelets CMO, BDS Marketing Hi, can I help you? When someone approaches me with this deceivingly simple question, my Pavlovian response, honed through years of being jaded by sales people, is "No, thank you," even when I could use the help. Why is that? Is it just me? Or is it because I'm a woman and my shopping experience is different or perhaps because, as a woman, how I shop is different? No one doubts that women make up a significant part of the buying mix. CEA data states that 57 percent of CE buyers are women

IFA Reveals New Products and HD for Europe
November 1, 2005

By David Dritsas It's easy for the U.S. consumer electronics industry to live in a bit of a vacuum when it comes to our attitudes about electronics. Our market is shaped differently than that of Europe or Asia, often driven by large TVs and home computers. But that story is getting old. As the world continues to globalize, we can learn from watching other markets, either to follow trends that seem to be exporting from our shores, or to get a glimpse of what might be coming our way. Much of what characterizes the European consumer electronics market is summarized at the Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA),

Prospect or Suspect?
October 1, 2005

How to say "no" to business—and be better for it. By Greg Nettles Being an unpaid consultant is no way to make a living. The trick is to identify the people with whom you really want to do business, and build your relationships from there. To accomplish this, you need to engage in some seemingly harsh practices. Teach your sales force to pick and choose from the customers coming through your door. Ask your customers to pay for proposals. Create estimates for any necessary walk-throughs. These approaches seem contrary to customer satisfaction, but if done right, they'll ensure customer satisfaction, as well as a profitable business over the

Consumers Just Want to Have Fun
September 1, 2005

The Quest for Excitement and Knowledge Drive In-Store Design Today By Lorraine A. DarConte One of the most talked about topics today in retail is store design. Today's dealers—no matter their size—are creating concept and interactive stores that appeal to consumers' sense of fun and quest for knowledge. The Design Forum is a retail design firm that aggressively tracks the purchasing schemes and dreams of consumers so it can design a better retail space. "Once we understand what customers want, we can design [a retail space] with our implementation group, which includes full-service architecture," explains Scott Smith, senior vice president of design

Building Bridges CEA seeks to strengthen U.S. industry ties to
August 1, 2005

"The Chinese (consumer electronics) market is going to surpass the U.S. market within four years," forecasts Todd Thibodeaux, vice president of industry relations at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). "Within five years, the Chinese market will be bigger than the U.S., and it will just go on from there." Faced with that economic reality, and in contrast to the anti-China sentiment flaring recently in Congress, CEA is working both sides of the Pacific Ocean to strengthen China's working relationship with the U.S. consumer technology industry. The 2005 International Chinese Consumer Electronics Show (SINOCES), held July 1-4 in Qingdao, a coastal port city in

The Price of Oblivion
August 1, 2005

No news is good news, right? Wrong. Very wrong. Over the last year, our entire management structure at Bjorn's Audio-Video reorganized—and not by choice. The shake-up began in early 2004, with an exodus of relatively new employees in our custom division to a competing business founded by a former salesman of ours. Losing more than half of our custom installers in a matter of weeks taught us we were dangerously out of touch with that part of our business. Then, as we rebuilt our custom division, other internal issues—not the least of which was the unexpected death of my partner Bob White last December—drove

Spreading the Word About High-end Specialty
July 1, 2005

By Sean Wargo The face of retail is clearly changing. With Wal-Mart's solid showing in the CE space, many of the other players are moving up stream to get out of the giant's way. Witness: Best Buy's addition of the Geek Squad and a broader integration of the Magnolia HiFi division into its stores. Witness also much more solutions-oriented concept stores from a number of other specialty retailers, such as RadioShack in Fort Worth and Tweeter in Las Vegas. The key theme here is service. Consumers hopefully want and need more of it as product complexity increases and ease of self-integration declines. In fact, a

Selling Time- Learning from the time-share hustle
July 1, 2005

By Elly Valas Every year, my family vacations in Mexico. This year, like last year, we were enticed by the special gifts offered if only we'd invest 90 minutes to listen to a presentation about the resort's new development. But the experiences were vastly different and provide valuable lessons for those of us in sales. This year the experience was unpleasant. My hackles went up the minute I entered the sales center. Cold, hungry-looking sales assistants stood at the ready waiting for their assigned targets. It felt like we were cattle being led off to slaughter. After they asked a few questions mostly to