Distributors Suggest SKU Alternatives

By Steve Smith On Apr 9 2012 - 4:01am




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 delivery.

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 merchandising impact. [This gives retailers] a complete appliance solution that is perfect for merchandising on their floor and maximizes their profit opportunities with every appliance sale.

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