NEW YORK – Distributors see a wide variety of CE
products and accessories, as well as those categories
not usually part of the electronics retailing realm
as alternatives for retailers this year.
Those were the collective views of distributors
who participated in the TWICE Special Report:
Distributors, which was a virtual roundtable that appeared
in our March 12 issue.
As part of that roundtable, where distributor executives
responded to our questions by email, TWICE
inquired about which categories they saw as profitable
and traffic-building alternatives which could
replace sales from flat screen TVs, among others.
Several of the executives responded to comment
on the topic. Here are their answers:
Jerry Satoren, CE sales VP, DSI Systems:
I have been watching many of our retailers make
more and more floor space available to bedding,
furniture and even exercise equipment. Many traditional
TV/Appliance dealers are seriously considering
any product category that is an “involved” consumer
purchase, comes in a big box, and requires
Rob Eby, purchasing VP, D&H Distributing:
Mobility is the key in generating sales. People want
all their information to be accessible and right athand.
They want their data to carry seamlessly from
work to home. Our world is becoming a mobile,
gadget-oriented environment. Retailers have to appeal
to that customer with a broad range of mobile
technologies and computing products.
Brent McCarty, VP/GM, Ingram Micro Consumer
Electronics: Two things, mobility and tablets
are the obvious ones. Challenge here is the retailer
needs to make their profit from activations as
product will have very thin margins. Second, there is
convergence. Everything is connected and it needs
to be demonstrated how it works, from lighting in
your home to smart energy consumption on home
appliances, all products are moving to the cloud and
the consumer needs to be educated on how the
technologies all work together and what master device
manages the connectivity.
Fred Towns, president, New Age Electronics/
Jack of All Games: Gaming is becoming a
more attractive option for retailers, as new titles are
released more often than traditional CE products.
The frequent release of new titles generates more
foot traffic in stores with higher frequency. Health
and fitness products are also being added into retailers.
Stephen Bodnarchuk, associate VP/national
sales, M. Rothman & Co: Many of our retailers
have inquired about or started to incorporate such
non–traditional CE/major appliance categories
such as security, musical instruments, and physical
fitness/exercise related product. With TVs and
both music and computer software categories taking
up less physical space in traditional brick and
mortar store locations many retailers are looking for
additional categories to “fill the space.” Items such
as health monitors and electronic physical fitness,
products related to iPad, iPhone and iPods do also
have a modicum of electronics crossover appeal.
Security is also another popular category as more
and more systems are becoming consumer friendly.
Rob P. Kalman, U.S. & corporate
marketing VP, SED International:
In addition to technology
products, we recommend retailers
look into expanding or getting in to
the small appliances, housewares,
and personal care categories. Many
of our retailers are using these products
as promotional items in addition
to adding to their product mix.
Bill Stewart, president/CEO
Petra Industries: We have received
amazing response to our
Certified retail packaged line of
appliance hook-up accessories.
Appliance dealers have been combating
margin erosion from their
white-goods sales for some time
now, and Certified developed a fullline
of high-margin accessories [for
major appliances] that have high
consumer appeal and provide tremendous
[This gives retailers] a complete appliance
solution that is perfect for
merchandising on their floor and
maximizes their profit opportunities
with every appliance sale.