CE Dealers Of All Types Drawn In Battle Between Best Buy, Walmart

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TWICE:How will the intensifi ed competition between Walmart and Best Buy effect regionals, independents and custom installers?

Mark A. Gustavson, WYNIT: This “epic battle” has actually opened up some significant opportunities for smaller, more customer-centric dealers and installers. The trick will be to provide alternatives that minimize the attractiveness of the low price and onestop- shop lifestyle messages in market with huge advertising budgets. Savvy buyers will seek out SKUs that have a unique value proposition over those offered by large format retail, while savvy marketers will promote the value of their product knowledge and expert advice.

Fred Towns, New Age Electronics: Big-box retailers continue to stress value- adds to consumers. Beyond price, the consumer is looking for complete solutions and to be educated on the usage of the products. Regional retailers tend to more knowledgeable and go the extra mile to offer more unique bundles to help differentiate.

Warren Chaiken, Almo: Competition between the big-box retailers has and always will put pressure on the profits of regionals, independents and custom installers. At Almo, we will continue to provide our customers with competitive brands that allow them to make money. At the same time, our regional events and online training tools give them the knowledge and information they need to compete.

Doretta Raffio, ADI: To be successful in this market, custom installers will need to position themselves as integrators and offer solutions to control all electronic systems rather than only home entertainment. They will fare much better in today’s market if they offer complete integrated systems including home theater, home automation, energy management, temperature controls, lighting controls, distributed audio and more.

Bill Stewart, Petra Industries: Retailers will need to be really sharp in their inventory planning to make sure they are diversified to avoid going to war on price against Walmart and Best Buy. Selling on features and benefi ts vs. just price, providing better customer service and promoting that through targeting marketing efforts could help drive more consumer traffi c their way.

Stephen Bodnarchuk, M. Rothman and Co.: The Walmart-Best Buy relationship will continue to make the retail environment for the regional and independent retailer very challenging.

Once again, offering superior service, differentiated products, selection, custom bundles and competitive price models helps off set the national accounts pricing discounts. We are also seeing the “Circuit City vacuum” being fi lled by many regional chains. There are many regional chains that are expanding and becoming much larger to combat the national account presence. Hopefully well-run and well-managed custom install, regional and independent retailers will survive.


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