Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


HTSA: Use 3D, Tech Expertise For Growth

FLA. — The Home Technology
Specialists of America
(HTSA) is emphasizing
its early embrace of home
connectivity, its expertise in
that area, and the opportunity
3D TV will bring as part of
its 2010 strategy.

During its spring meeting
at the Trump International Beach Resort here last week — dubbed
“The Sumptuous Social” — executive
director Richard Glikes described his
membership as “trusted experts” in his
opening remarks.

He said the “four pillars” of HTSA
should be “relationship building, idea and
information sharing, economies of scale,
and program advantages” that can provide
profits during a “tough economy.”

Glikes said the goal of HTSA for 2010
is that in “challenging times” members
have to “revivify” their businesses with
“new life and new ideas.”

HTSA has more than $450 million
in sales and 60 members located in 37
states, and had more than 200 vendors,
distributors and members in attendance.
The first-time vendors attending were
Audioquest, Dana Innovations, Powerhouse
Dynamics, Primevision by Elite
and Panasonic.

The appearance of Panasonic at the
HTSA meeting is due to 3D TV, which
could be a big opportunity for its members.
Kate Beck, senior product marketing
manager for displays at Panasonic,
said, “One of the key reasons we are
here is due to 3D TV, and we know they
can explain and sell it.”

Even though Glikes wrote a blog for bemoaning the fact that
Panasonic gave Best Buy got the first
shot at selling 3D TV, he told TWICE,
“We’ll sell a ton of it … probably by midyear
when it is off and running.”

His members were just as optimistic
about 3D for their market segment.
Ken Paulson of Paulson’s Audio Video,
based in Farmington Hills, Mich.,
right outside of Detroit, said that 3D TV
is great for his business if for no other
reason that consumers have been coming
in to take a look.

“The first reaction by some consumers
is, ‘We don’t want to pay extra for
that,’ but they have come into the store
for the demo,” Paulson said. “Once they
come in and experience it, plenty have
said they like 3D TV.”

He noted that the challenge for his
salespeople is to “qualify those customers
who only want a HDTV now vs. those
who might be early adopters for 3D.”

Wayne Puntel of AudioCraft, based
in Cleveland, said that 3D TV is “an important
technology … we have an opportunity
to follow through and explain
it, and sell it.”

Gary Lawson of New Century Stereo
noted that specialists “used to be able
to introduce a technology like 3D TV to
consumers, make a profit for themselves
and suppliers, and eventually it would
go to the mass market,” but he was just
as hopeful that 3D would be a profitable
part of the mix when HTSA members get
their hands on it.

But 3D TV is just a part of the mix that
Glikes and his members feel will create
growth. In his opening remarks last Monday
night, Glikes thought it was “ironic”
that other buying groups are now telling
their members that home control and
home networking are keys to profitability.

Specialists and custom installers must
be more “service oriented” than ever and
that changes in the industry, like making
home CE more networked than ever before,
puts them “in the center of the universe,”
Glikes told TWICE.

But, he added, “the problem is that we
are not in the iPhone or iPad business,”
whose apps may control home systems
now and in the future.

As Ingram Micro executives told
Glikes recently, they bought DBL because
“the IT and CE businesses are becoming
one,” Glikes added.

He noted that for years, “many lived
off of the flat-panel business, which was
great, but now you can’t sustain your
business that way.” Specialists and custom
installers have to sell home systems
and “performance” of those systems —
as well as their expertise in installing and
servicing complex products.

Of HTSA’s members’ sales, 95 percent
are related to installation, Glikes said.
The keys to HTSA’s success has to be
— in no particular order — “high-performance
speakers, high-performance
receivers,” and being able to provide
service and installation to “differentiate
themselves” from the mass market.

Or, as Glikes said to his membership
about all of these plans, “Remember, it’s
not what you say, it’s what you do!”