Clifton, N.J. - Gemini Industries is going into the set-up solutions business - filling what it strongly considers a need-niche by sorting out the common, everyday problems of baffled consumers looking to tackle home electronics technology.
To do this, the diversified consumer electronics accessories maker is partnering with publisher John Wiley & Sons to offer a new line of kits that combines Gemini accessories product with printed quick-start guides.
The guides will incorporate Hoboken, N.J.-based Wiley's For Dummies icons, graphics and sense of humor, while Gemini will include all CE accessories necessary for home CE connections.
Wiley has granted Gemini the exclusive license for use of its For Dummies trademark and design for CE and computer accessories and kits.
Concern for an under-serviced buying public starts right at the top at Gemini. 'I have a strong feeling we are letting consumers down by not dealing with the major challenge of helping them understand the technology, what we are trying to sell,' said Michael O'Neal, president/CEO.
Laying the blame for a widespread failure to communicate on the shoulders of the CE industry, in general, O'Neal said consumers know what they want to do with a particular CE product, but don't know what to do to get it going. 'We intend to close this gap, so they know what they need to do,' he said.
Packaging, created to help simplify CE accessories consumer purchasing decisions associated with the complex technology of the digital age, features the recognizable yellow and black For Dummies logo and 'bug-eyed' man. Each For Dummies guide inside the kit box provides instructions that virtually guarantee consumer success with set-up implementation, said Gemini.
'We think consumers are smarter than they are. We give them too much credit,' continued O'Neal about technological CE educational skills he feels fall way short of what is needed to hook up and work the hardware being purchased.
There is a huge group of American consumers who are not educated in the ways of CE technology, he continued. 'This is where we are going to focus, making product user-friendly. We are going to give them the way to ensure product set-up in their home, by showing them how to use it.'
Initially, Gemini will offer two DVD Hook-Up Kits to be sold through CE and office products stores, as well as mass merchants. Both are designed so consumers can purchase the right accessories, exposing them to jargon-free explanations on the packaging and in the For Dummies guide.
One kit includes all CE materials necessary to hook-up an older, single coaxial input television to a DVD player. The other includes more upscale cable and accessories needed to hook-up a newer television to a DVD player, thus ensuring the best picture and performance possible.
Both kits, with 32-page For Dummies hook-up guide, have a suggested $39.99 retail. Kits will be in stores for fourth-quarter selling, said Gemini.
O'Neal, who feels 'there is a huge hole in the market' for a product like For Dummies, said its success will cut the CE return rate at retail significantly.
'Dummies promises help for the people who are `the rest of us,'' said O'Neal in paraphrasing the For Dummies brand's well-known message. 'It's a big idea. We plan to help the `rest of them' use the technology, make it easy to understand.'
Gemini - which reported an additional six new kits already are in the production hopper, while two more are in earlier stages of development - expects all eight to be available by the end of 2002.
Kits being readied concern hook-up in such areas as home theater, networking and computers, as well as CD burning, digital cameras and broadband. As the basic sophistication level of accessories and set-up hardware rises - along with cost - suggested retails will range upward from the opening $39.99 price point to $99.99.
Gemini anticipates much of the For Dummies selling impetus will be associated with in-store brand awareness, tag-on messages with Wiley advertising and promotion to the trade.