By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
While manufacturers most often offer more subjective views as to why their product "baby" is a good seller, retailers tend to be a bit "distant" from the product, and thus are more objective in why an item might move off the shelf.
In the case of the Plantronics M110 cellular headset, many of the reasons for the item's high volume given by retailers tended to mirror the manufacturer's opinion, but often retailers offered differences as well as additions.
With RadioShack, color the M110 cellular headset pewter, the shade specially created for the giant retailer by communications headset maker Plantronics.
"Our version of the M110 is a pewter color that was designed exclusively for RadioShack to match our pewter 2.4 GHz cordless phone line," said Douglas N. Scott, marketing VP for the Connecting People strategic business unit at Fort Worth, Texas-based RadioShack.
Not only does the retailer feel the headset's special color — its exclusivity — helped to flush out sales, but it also pinpoints functionality and price for the M110's healthy product movement.
"We think it's a hit because it can be used with any phone that has a 2.5mm plug, regardless of whether the phone is cordless, corded or wireless," said Scott.
"Since it can be used with virtually any phone, the M110 allows you to have both hands free for any task — be it driving a car, gardening, walking the dog or working a computer. The unit allows you to have conversations even in noisy environments, with the noise-canceling technology that is built into the microphone.
"We feel the M110's success for us has been its functionality, its affordable price and the fact that we have a cool exclusive that consumers really like," summed up Scott.
At Shaker Heights, Ohio-based OfficeMax, "Plantronics' M110 is one of the hands-free headset category's best sellers," according to Steve Baisden, manager of investor and public relations. "We attribute that to its low price point, strong brand name and great quality," Baisden said, in summing up why the retailer feels the M110 is a strong mover.
Staples, the home office dollar sales leader, according to the TWICE Top 100 Retail Registry of CE retailers which tracked calendar year 2001 sales, tended to agree with sister home office specialist OfficeMax. "The M110 is a great seller because it's a quality product at an affordable price," said Vinny Servello, senior buyer at the Framingham, Mass.-based company.
Office Depot takes a hard look at the headset itself. "I would say that this product is successful due to the quality of the Plantronics product, along with the design," said Marybeth Fairchild, buyer for the Delray Beach, Fla.-based home office chain.
"Plantronics, most of the time, is very streamlined in their product design," continued Fairchild. "This makes for easy wear, and long-time usage. It also is reasonably priced, affordable."Top 10 Cellular Headsets May 2001-April 2002
|Rank By Unit Sales||Brand/Model/Type||Rank By $ Sales|
|1||Plantronics M110 Over-the-Head Monaural||4|
|2||AT&T 24099 Over-the-Head Monaural||6|
|3||Jabra Ear Boom In-the-Ear||3|
|4||Plantronics M205 In-the-Ear||1|
|5||Plantronics M135 Over-the-Head Monaural||2|
|6||Jabra Ear Bud In-the-Ear||8|
|7||Plantronics M114 Over-the-Head Monaural||7|
|9||Belkin F8V920 In-the-Ear||5|
|10||Plantronics M120 Over-the-Ear||9|
|NPDTechworld ©TWICE 2002|
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.