By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
NEW YORK — TWICE asked a cross section of accessories executives the following question on the eve of International CES: If you were king or queen of the CE retail universe for one day and could change one thing about the business, what would it be?
Following are some of the more thoughtful answers:
"Retailers competing with vendors." — Noel Lee, head monster, Monster Cable
"End sacrificing product quality for lower prices. As seen with some of the recent headlines, some consumers are losing confidence in imported product. But with the right quality systems and reasonable cost investments from the manufacturer and retailer, consumers can continue to enjoy quality imported products at affordable prices. — Cameron Trice, marketing and product development senior VP, Jasco Products
"I would like to see a lot more emphasis placed on how digital technology has transformed product usage. This translates into a new direction in how CE products are categorized, packaged, displayed and presented. For example, digital media adapters have not taken off to anticipated levels. Has the consumer been properly informed or educated on how he or she can download movies off the internet? Same could be true in 2008 for wireless headphones. 2.1 digital stereo is great for audio, 5.1 Dolby is ideal for home theatre, and yet they may be presented simply as "wireless headphones." More retailers need to provide Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth capability that is essential to demonstrate many of the products they are selling." — C. David Geise, president, Audiovox Accessories
"I think we need to be conscious of the user experience and really be able to deliver on the promises that we promote with the products in market today. When users see a particular value proposition displayed by a CE device, but then get home and find that the user experience is not able to live up to the expectation set at time of purchase, it results in a poor overall perception of the device in question. I think we must really work hard to change this and actually deliver on the entire user experience." — Chris McGugan, VP of product management, Belkin
"For the accessories business, merchandising is so important and that would affect the total basket and 'profits"'margin. From advertising efforts to floor merchandising, I would focus on more 'solution' selling." — Koba Kobayshi, product director, Sony
"Essentially, I'd like to see retailers add more display areas and hands-on testing zones that would showcase a broader range of accessory solutions for hardware systems. The goal would be to enhance the overall consumer experience in the store and beyond by allowing customers to enjoy limitless possibilities for hardware accessories. In addition, the new law would encourage consumers to revisit retailers and buy more stuff for their stuff." — Mark Karnes, executive director, global marketing for Shure
"I'd make one change. It's not earth shattering, but it would fundamentally change the shopping experience for millions of shoppers everyday. I'd finish the integration of every retail chain's online store with their brick- and-mortar locations. The result: online sales and in-store pick-up and return of any product and a much less frantic shopping season for me." — Adam Guy, general manager, telecommunications and media, Compete
" Some of the biggest challenges the industry faces are maintaining flexibility and accuracy with lead times and forecasting, as outsourcing to Asia becomes more prevalent — anticipating and adjusting to these challenges takes tremendous focus." — Andy Youngs, marketing and design VP, Case Logic
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.