San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
CE and PC newcomer X2 is embarking on its second wave of product introductions with its sites clearly set on attracting female shoppers.
Using this new marketing strategy X2 is attempting to sidestep the industry heavyweights in each respective category by targeting specific consumer demographics, said Rex Wong, X2's CEO. This strategy is most evident with the company's upcoming notebook line that has been designed for and will be marketed toward women.
“CEA data states that 57 percent of CE buyers are women, and more than 60 percent of notebook purchases are made by women,” he said.
The most obvious marketing ploy is the notebooks' color scheme, which starts with pink but includes an array of hues. However, this is just one aspect of the campaign. X2 has designed a multi-SKU series of handbag-like notebook cases that coordinate with the notebook's color, and provides an online configure-to-order system that looks more like a Banana Republic advertisement than a typical configure-to-order (CTO) engine.
Moreover, the method of walking the purchaser through the configuration process trends more toward an interactive discussion, and is intentionally light on feeds and speeds.
“A later version of the Web store will have the consumer asked questions like 'What do you want to do with your notebook?' instead of being asked what kind of processor you want,” Wong said.
Although no plans are in place, Wong envisions a time when these notebooks and accessories would sell through high-end retailers such as Bloomingdales or Nieman Marcus.
X2 will have the online CTO system running on Target.com beginning this month, which will be followed by a similar page on Best Buy's e-commerce site and some manner of in-store display that will allow sales associates to help customers pull together a system. Because of X2's direct marketing strategy, the company has no immediate plan to sell preconfigured units in stores.
In fact, Wong said, the entire company's ability to do business is predicated on the fact that it can ship personally configured products directly by air from its Asian factories to a home or store for pick up. X2 calls this its Global Direct system and uses United Parcel Service to handle the entire delivery process from factory to the owner.
“We cut out all the inventory and the need to continually reship products,” Wong said. “Even though it's more expensive to airship direct, overall shipping will be less expensive because it eliminates the need to go through distributors and a retailer's supply chain.”
Wong estimated X2 will thusly save 6 percent on shipping costs.
Elsewhere, X2's new portable multimedia devices are upgraded versions of the company's current Mega View hard drive-based units and should hit stores in July. The new editions add Wi-Fi; a touch screen; and the ability to synch to a feature list of TV programming, movies, music and digital images. The units also have FM tuners.
The PC synchronization is an essential part of X2's upcoming strategy to work with content suppliers. Wong said the new Mega View's will allow content to be downloaded directly from the Web while the owner is asleep. This content can range from music and music videos to television programming. Customers will be given the choice of using free advertising-supported content, a pay per download or a subscription fee-based service.
Another version launching in September will include a built-in TV tuner and a programming guide, and will have DVR-like functionality, Wong said.