The summer is just getting into full swing and hopefully we will have plenty more beach worthy weather before the season ends and the Holidays spring up. While most of us are looking to get away from work and to playing in the sun, the CE industry is geared up for their second biggest selling season, back-to-school. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) the sales of tech goods approached $8.5 billion last year during this time and CE distributors have taken note and stocked up.
Back-to-school is big, but it is not the only thing keeping distributors busy these days. Keeping relevant and competitive as a major distributor not only means keeping shelves stocked with the right products, and partnering with the right companies, but making it easier than ever for retailers to order and keep track of accounts and access important information. Distributors are working hard to update websites with more service based options. One Distributor shared its new website options, including: leading offerings in bundling, merchandising, forecast management, supply-chain management, concierge services, and electronic software downloads. An approach another Distributor has come up with is to provide retail members with comprehensive marketing packages including social media campaigns, digital banner ads, print ads, and in-store displays; and a full spate of customized TV commercials.
Constantly adding new dealers and providing bigger product offerings has always been a top priority for most Distributors. Last year we reported on an increase in new product categories in outdoor and home automation. This year new products such as wearables, surveillance and other connected devices are being stored on shelves across the country. In a recent interview with TWICE Senior Editor, Alan Wolf, Distributor executives shared their intuitions on which items will be big hits. Personal Technology was a common theme, headphones, tablets and wearables. Most of the newest forms of these devices can do double and sometimes triple duty satisfying several consumer needs at once: streaming audio, videos, email and more recently, heart-rate monitoring.
The traditional reasons that retailers chose to use distributors: gains in customer exposure and market research with the added benefit of administrative savings still make sense; however, distributors are more important than ever and with extra added benefits. Not only are they continuing to strengthen their service offerings and developing new programs to provide even more assets to their supply chain partners, but they are helping expand opportunities by pursuing new or adjacent categories that target new consumers or present additional profit centers for their customers.