Few Choices Left But to Sell the Full Solution
In our annual roundtable with some of CE’s top distributors (see the April issue of Dealerscope for the full interviews), we try to ask questions that will unveil some of the larger trends that are bubbling below the surface of the industry. We hope the answers give retailers a bead on emerging trends and a sense of how some of their most important business partners are preparing for the related changes.
Eddie Lageyre, senior vice president and general manager of SED’s U.S. consumer division, covered one of those ongoing trends—the IT industry moving to tablets from notebooks—and the need for CE retailers to be able to offer and sell a full solution to their customer.
Here’s an excerpt: “The IT industry shifting from computers to mobile devices is having a significant impact on the channel itself. A notebook computer is losing out to a tablet PC every single day in various environments. The PC isn’t dead; it can co-exist in the mobile world. In fact, it can thrive. The key is the user experience and how to best relate the solution to the customers’ needs. Regardless of the solution, SED is aligned with our dealers to assist in helping them become total solution providers. This includes breaking in TV dealers in the IT world, and vice versa.”
The full solution piece of the equation is certainly not a new concept, but it’s worth repeating because so many industry leaders still say that retailers and vendors need to do a better job pushing it. The corporate shift from notebooks to tablets is another important element that can create big opportunities for smart CE retailers.
That change is so important to the retailers because it represents a shift from a corporate productivity tool mainly used for work (most employees have a “work” notebook and a “personal” notebook) to a device that launched (at least to the mainstream) in the consumer electronics space and was essentially designed for always-on mobility, as well as the creation, consumption and distribution of personal content. Unlike the traditional “work” notebook, a consumer will use one tablet for both work and personal needs. And that’s where the importance of selling a full solution comes in.
First off, think accessories. The business that issues tablets to its workers will not be including all of the cool add-ons that optimize the device: Bluetooth speakers, headphones, styluses, screen cleaners, new cases and covers, etc. That’s the new job of the CE retailer.
Second, think integration. At least 60 percent of your customers own a smartphone, and at least 20 percent of them own a tablet. Almost one-third of them own a smartphone, tablet and laptop. All of them own a TV. Most of their digital gear is connected to the Internet. If you throw in all of the connected devices owned by their spouses and kids, you have a huge digital mess in every household you sell into that is begging to be straightened out, connected and protected. That’s the new job of the CE retailer.
Third, think security. With sensitive corporate/business information now riding on the same device used to record, stream and send the latest video of a kid’s soccer match, network, hardware and software security/protection becomes a required necessity. That’s the new job of the CE retailer.
And there are many other jobs that the CE retailer could be doing to offset non-existent TV and audio margins. But to capture the opportunity and related revenue, CE retailers must make sure customers realize that they can provide, integrate, protect and maintain the full solution, all for a fair price. What the customer doesn’t have to know is that the profit associated with those services are a lot higher than the one on the TV you sold them a few months ago.
It’s not easy to establish that type of solution-oriented model, but there are a lot of places where you can turn to help you on your way. Your distributor could be that first stop.