There is a place for independent dealers (regional and local) in the consumer technology world. Some chains have failed or are trying to restructure such as HHGregg and Radio Shack. Best Buy is making a comeback and doing battle with Amazon and Walmart. Can the independent dealer claim their place in the evolving retail world? I think they can and in fact, they may be able to thrive.
How can independent dealers take advantage of the evolving retail world?
Independent dealers have advantages that larger chains don’t have. Independent dealers can be nimble and react quicker. I won’t list the items they can’t compete on, but they can capitalize on their their ability to implement programs faster than the larger chains. Listed below are some ways they can compete:
- Utilize social media locally to drive traffic to the storefront. Facebook is a great tool for this.
- Provide outstanding customer service and understand the product better than potential customers.
- Host events, seminars and classes at the store to showcase brands and how they can be used.
- Offer free local delivery for a product that isn’t in stock.
- Be a conduit for service and support of the products.
- Create an engaging online presence that is reflected at the storefront as well.
- Offer financing options.
- Help with recycling old electronic products.
How can manufacturers support their independent dealer network?
There are several ways manufacturers can help their independent dealer network succeed:
- Provide excellent training on new products and help dealers position products within their existing product line.
- Keep independent dealers up-to-date on current promotions and rebates.
- Solicit feedback on a consistent basis regarding how supplied materials are being used and ask what can be improved.
- Don’t just supply digital assets about your brand and product, suggest how your product can be merchandised on their website.
- Share your marketing knowledge with the dealers by offering webinars and classes.
- Follow and support your independent dealers on social media.
The independent dealer network is an important conduit for manufacturers. They help increase awareness of the brand and and provide one-on-one customer interactions. Outstanding customer service and communication is key to the relationship between the retailer and the manufacturer.
What industries can blossom in this new retail environment?
Not all consumer technology industries work through independent dealers. Although, those that do can really make a name for themselves in their local markets. Here are some of those industries:
- Home audio
- Car audio
- Home appliance
- Gaming and home entertainment
- IoT/Smart Home
The Smart Home and independent dealers
Best buy is starting to offer customized support for helping customers set up their own Smart Home. Apple is creating a division inside the retail shop just to address these needs. What kind of independent dealer will get in on the rise of Smart Home technology? Will it be security companies, home automation pros or will Comcast take over this market. Time will tell but there is certainly a place for the independent dealer to make their mark.