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In Car Experts (ICE), the first buying group for car audio specialists in the United States, added its first vendor members: JL Audio and Boston Acoustics.
ICE said it expects to announce six to nine additional supplier members by International CES in January.
Another vendor, Pioneer, told TWICE it is currently talking to ICE about membership.
In September, ICE announced its first 25 retail members and said it plans to represent 500 retailers eventually.
Executive director Rob Elliott remains secretive about the specific ICE programs that will be offered to retailers, but said retailers will receive help with in-store merchandising, advertising and will benefit from an improved relationship with vendors. ICE programs will go into effect in January.
The goal behind the buying group is to make retailers more professional and help them put better business practices into place, which will, in turn, help them sell more goods for the vendors.
ICE sees its existence as symbolic of the maturity of the industry. "We all started as hobbyists; we were in the install bays, but we understand in order for this industry to survive, we need to become more business oriented. We need to become best partners with our vendors and this will help keep the vendors focused on us and not just on OEM or on other types of retailers."
Some of the ICE retail members who are also on the ICE advisory board include Audio Advisors, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Audiocar, Chula Vista, Calif.; Auto Sound, Security, Willoughby, Ohio; Beach Auto Sound, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Car Audio Depot, Modesto, Calif.; Car-Fi, Springfield, Mo.; Columbus Car Audio, Columbus, Ohio; Crazy Bobs, St. George, Utah; Horizon Audio, Canton, Ohio; and Kustom Kar Audio, Santa Rosa, Calif.
A full list of advisory board members is posted at www.incarexperts.com.
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.