North Andover, Mass. — Tweeter and Car Toys, with 135 stores between them, will start accepting InstallerNet cards, enabling customers who purchase electronics at Walmart and other stores, to acquire professional installation for the items at Tweeter, Car Toys in addition to 1,700 other locations.
InstallerNet sells up to 8,000 installations per month through Walmart, Costco, Crutchfield, Radio Shack, Target, eBay, Amazon, Newegg and other retailers. Ninety percent of the installations are car stereo items, and the remainder are in home audio and video and computers. A large number of recent installations are for Sirius and XM products, said William Sheehan, business development director.
In the past, Car Toys participated in a promotion of Audiovox overhead monitors sold through Costco, which could be installed by InstallerNet at Car Toys. Now, the 52-store chain is joining InstallerNet as a fully participating installer, as is Tweeter, which operates 93 stores, 82 of which offer car installations.
Customers can buy an InstallerNet card, as they would a gift card, at a retailer or online and then call an 800 number or log on to a Web site to activate the card. An installation appointment is then established at a local installer.
Although the car stereo market has seen declining sales recently, InstallerNet said its installation business is up 100 percent over last year, with many of the installations stemming from consumers upgrading Sirius and XM plug-and-play car radios. The upgrades are the result of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandate to adjust the transmitters in the radios, which were more powerful than the FCC allowed. XM and Sirius sent out letters to customers offering to fix their radios through a professional installation through InstallerNet, said Sheehan. Sirius and XM “sent out 5.5 [million] to 6 million letters, and we’ve been getting a 1 percent activation rate out of those,” he added.
At a time when much of the car stereo business has migrated to mass merchants, InstallerNet said its system helps return some of that business to the specialist. “The benefit to an independent specialist is they have consumers walking through their door who might never have done so,” said Sheehan.