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Mio plans a Black Friday guerilla marketing campaign that will include entertainment and demos for early-bird shoppers.
The fourth-ranked personal navigation devices (PND) supplier is considering tactics such as serenading shoppers and handing out coffee and donuts. Its demos will focus on high-end features available on PNDs, said marketing director Eric Larsen. He likened the promotion to a Black Friday “block party.”
Participating stores were not yet available, but Mio sells through Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA and RadioShack, among others.
It was last year on Black Friday that a relatively unknown Mio put itself on the map by offering a door-buster $149 price tag on its C310X PND at Circuit City for one day. At the time, lower-end PNDs sold in the $299 to $499 range. Larsen said the 310s sold out within minutes per location. “We would talk to the buyer in real time as the store opened, and they would sell out while we were on the phone,” he said noting that stores received 10 to 30 units each.
After Black Friday, pre-Christmas specials on the 310 rebounded back up to $249 and an occasional $199 price tag, still below the market mainstream.
Mio would not reveal upcoming Black Friday pricing, but industry members say they expect to see door-busters as low as $79 to $99 for the industry.
“As we look back, the momentum built on just that one day has had a long residual effect for us,” said Kiyoshi Hamai, Mio's sales and marketing senior director. The company went from “nowhere” to a 37 percent market share for Black Friday week in 2006 when it moved 45,000 units. It ended the year with a 5 percent market share overall, said Larsen.
Mio was able to build on the Black Friday momentum because it offered a family of GPS products while many suppliers offered only one, Larsen contended. “The buyers went to the manufacturers who could supply multiple products.”
Analyst Mike Ippolit of ABI Research agreed. “Mio is a rising star. Yes, they did come on with a broad range of products, and they are innovating rather rapidly. Their new product has a camera in it so you can take pictures with your PND and geo-tag them. No one else is doing that.”
Year-to-date sales through August place Mio in the No. 4 spot behind Garmin, TomTom and Magellan with a 6.8 percent share in GPS unit sales to consumers, according to The NPD Group.
Mio's new camera/PND is the DigiWalker C720t, due in October at a suggested $599 with a 4.3-inch screen. The photo feature was first offered by the discontinued Navman brand, which was purchased by Mio's parent company Mitac six months ago.
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