By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LAS VEGAS - Adhering to the adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," Rockford Fosgate used CES as the platform for the official launch of an aggressive e-commerce initiative to encourage its dealers to sell the company's products online.
The program, called ePunch commerce, is free to retailers. Unlike most car audio brands, which are trying to keep their brands off the Internet, Rockford has decided to embrace e-tailing. The logic is that unauthorized e-tailers manage to sell the products anyway, which is hurting the authorized retailers.
Explained director of marketing Chris Parvin, "Right now, the only people selling Rockford Fosgate by e-commerce are unauthorized retailers, so I'm taking the independent retailer and making him an authorized reseller on the Internet."
Parvin is encouraging Rockford Fosgate dealers to embrace the Internet, and said, "The Internet has raised the level of consumer awareness, and it's made consumers more comfortable buying product both on the Internet and at the store level. We want to make sure our dealers are part of that."
Under Rockford's ePunch program, the company offers its retailers use of its computer servers and computer network and has created a website template that allows any store to establish an e-commerce website within 40 minutes, claims Parvin. The site, however, can sell only Rockford Fosgate products.
In other company news from CES, Rockford Fosgate took the wraps off a new line of head units that focus on MP3, and it aggressively moved into the higher reaches of the subwoofer market.
In addition, Rockford redesigned all Punch and Power series amplifiers and debuted three new models in the class BD digital amplifier series.
In head units, the company showed six new models, four of which can playback MP3 encoded CDs and several of which offer A/V switching to accommodate car video. This is the first year Rockford is offering motorized faceplates in its head units, which are now sourced by a new partner, according to Parvin.
In subwoofers, the company has revamped both the low- and high-end segment of the lineup. Notes Parvin, "We took the high end and made it more high-end and took the low end and gave it higher value at a low price. Rockford Fosgate won't leave a single scrap for our competitors. In the past, we've left little spaces at the high end, so this year, we've pushed our high end and there's no holes at the top or bottom."
The new top-of-the-line model is the Power HX2, a 2,000-watt peak power handing, 38-pound, 2-ohm subwoofer with dual voice coils.
According to Parvin, it is the first woofer to use a polypropylene cone on an aluminum former. The line also offers bigger surrounds, with 3 inches of excursion both ways. The HX2 series is available in 10-, 12- and 15-inch models.
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