A POINT OF VIEW: A new route to market for beleaguered and/or greedy audio makers? Part #1 of 3

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Howard Popeck .....

I don’t claim to be a futurologist. However sometimes it’s possible to read some signs and occasionally form a view of which way the commercial wind is blowing. And I mean the way that wind is blowing, but not necessarily the speed and strength of that wind.

My belief is that with the next 12 months we are going to see a UK based audio maker breaking ranks and getting rid of their entire UK dealer network and start selling direct to the UK public.

The Pros:

  1. The benefits for the public, were this to happen, would be substantial – simply because any shrewd maker will reduce the recommended retail price by something approaching the dealer’s profit margin i.e. a buyer buying direct would be buying at pretty close to the dealer’s buy-in price.
  2. The benefit to the maker is that they have direct contact to the buyer without the ‘interference’ and/or ‘incompetence’ of the retailer.
  3. The maker gets paid right away as they would not be offering credit to the buyer whereas currently all retailers, except the financially delinquent ones, get credit of at least 28 days and sometimes substantially more.

The Cons:

Primarily these are relating to the retailer. In such a situation, their reason for existence would be eroded.

The buyer doesn’t get a chance to audition the equipment first. But on the other hand, so many makers are complaining that a proportion of their retail network can’t and/or won’t “do a decent demo” that a new opportunity is overdue. A maker could supply on a sale or return basis. The probable rate of return would be tiny and the refurbishment costs for returned items would probably be miniscule compared to the costs of being involved with a retailer network.

Consequently a buyer might get say 10 working days to try a purchase in their home – which has got to be more attractive than a typical demo in a typical retailer.

To be continued

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