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Q&A With Fred Towns, President, New Age Electronics

Insights on distribution channel, trends and helping retailers succeed

TWICE recently caught up with Fred Towns, President of New Age Electronics, to gain his insights into the distributor channel and what New Age Electronics is up to in 2021.

Fred Towns, president, New Age Electronics (image credit: CTA Tech)

TWICE: Distributors are a key component of a successful retail channel.  What has New Age Electronics been up to in 2021 to help retailers succeed?
Fred Towns: At New Age Electronics, we put a big focus on collaborative planning with our customers and vendors to make sure we have the right product when needed. We helped retailers with expansions into a more robust online presence with better bundling, providing more packages even in the constrained environment.  Not every product is available, but we can help retailers provide options and alternatives to provide the consumer solutions that meet their needs.

TWICE: 2020 was hard for everyone, but it seems that overall the retail channel flourished – is that true of the distribution channel as well?
Towns: New Age and the distribution channel were uniquely positioned during a challenging year of availability and high demand due to our ability to bring in a multitude of options.  A consumer’s selection might not be available in their store, but distributors were able to provide other options for a type of product or technology to provide to the consumer.

TWICE: What does New Age Electronics offer that other distributors don’t?
Towns: New Age carries multiple lines exclusively, allowing us to help retailers have more selection and a wide breadth of products that other distributors don’t carry.  In a year where many products were constrained, New Age provided a large selection of available options and alternatives.

TWICE: The Build-a-Box approach is a unique New Age Electronics specialty.  What makes it such a great deal, and are there any new channels or markets New Age Electronics is offering bundles to?
Towns: Today’s consumer is looking for solution shopping – if they’re buying a printer, they want any necessary cables, accessories, etc shipped with the printer at one time, in one package.  Our Build-a-Box solutions provide what’s really necessary for consumers in a single, customized bundle.  We have expanded the bundles by putting them online, and also adding installation as an option for the solution, providing a great opportunity to add products while the consumer already has access to someone to help with the install.

TWICE: What trends that you’re seeing now do you think will continue for the rest of 2021 and/or early 2022?
Towns: We expect to see a positive trend going into the fourth quarter.  Consumers still have a desire to shop, and in some cases, people are still receiving stimulus checks allowing them to buy things they wanted, but haven’t purchased before now.  How people will shop will look different however, including a hybrid of retail and online, and the selection of inventory will likely determine how they buy.

See also: The New Age Electronics Outlook: Part 1-Forecasting The Year Ahead For Retailers