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

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.