As we wrap up Q4 2021, the consumer electronics industry is reflecting on a year of tremendous business growth accompanied by its fair share of challenges including supply chain disruption and chip shortages. Through the challenges, the custom installation sector in particular continues to rise above as consumer demand for home upgrades and installations remains steady. For dealers and integrators, business is as good as it has ever been with new technologies coming to the market to fulfill the needs of consumers across the board. While installations are at a peak now, dealers and integrators still need to stay focused on both past and new customer business and industry trends in case the market slows down or is disrupted by additional challenges in the future. Let’s not forget how high everyone was riding ahead of the housing market crash in 2008. We can learn from the mistakes we made and continue to keep our businesses healthy for the coming year and beyond.
Become a resource.
Recently, Best Buy has launched TotalTech, a program they piloted and have now made available to consumers everywhere. Integrators can learn from this model. Through a yearly $199 membership, consumers get access to 24/7 tech support, free installation on select products, discounts on custom installation, and “exclusive member prices”.
For those in this channel, the reality is that these benefits are not ground-breaking and they are services most integration companies are already readily offering, they just may not be packaged or marketed in the same way. Dealers and integrators should consider how they might be able to package a similar program, integrators have been slow to adopt recurring revenue models but a package like this is easy to execute and it provides the added level of customer care that consumers are looking for and can act as a resource for previous customers when they are contemplating technology upgrades.
The holiday season represents a prime opportunity in this market as consumers adopt new technologies. Dealers must act as a resource for customers. Compared to larger companies like Best Buy, integrators will have a better handle on the home and the installation needs of consumers making the relationship between dealers and customers more personable.
Marketing is key.
Everyone is a marketer…until they’re not. It is easy to let some items slip when business is good, but what happens when it starts to slow down? A steady marketing cadence will ensure that integration companies are top of mind for both current and prospective customers.
Re-targeting past customers is a must and it’s a tactic that can yield new projects and upgrades.
Dealers can share new product offerings, address trends that clients may be curious about, and get a pulse check on how their current system is working for them. With previous customers, the relationship has already been formed and the client trusts the judgment of the dealer making it an easy way to acquire new business.
According to a study from Statista, 90% of adults ages 18-29 use social media networks. Millennials are active across social media platforms, and they are the group of consumers that are purchasing homes and making home upgrades. Dealers that think they can ignore this marketing opportunity are mistaken. Social media provides a platform for integrators to showcase their work and connect with existing customers as well as market to new opportunities. Consumers look to social media for updates, tech support, and general communication with integration teams. Dealers can use platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to showcase new product offerings and upgrades forming a relationship with existing and potential new customers. Not only can social media be used for communication, but it can also be used to show off previous installations. Consumers can view company social media profiles to experience how installations work and how they look in a realistic setting. Dealers and integrators need to make sure they are investing in marketing initiatives as they are a great way to pitch business to existing and new customers and a good way to keep up with the competition.
How can distributors contribute?
As dealers adjust business strategies to stay on top with new business initiatives, distributors are in the position to offer support and additional resources. If distributors notice purchasing patterns are down, they should reach out to dealers and integrators to promote new product offerings and technical updates. Distributors are also in the position to support dealer’s professional growth via trainings and webinars. Virtual and in-person trainings are a good way to promote new products, offer new ideas, and help dealers understand the importance of marketing to both new and existing customers.
While the industry reflects on a year of growth and challenges, it’s time to prepare for a new year filled with opportunity. By staying on top of scoring new business and marketing tactics, dealers and integrators are on their way to success in 2022 and beyond.
- Customer demand for new tech and home upgrades is at an all-time peak, but the good times won’t last forever.
- In order to compete with big box stores, dealers and integrators must learn to package tech support and installation services that they’re already offering.
- Social media remains an essential channel to reach multiple generations and share everything from product updates to the latest installations.
Dennis Holzer is the Executive Director of the PowerHouse Alliance.