Five Questions With Bob Cole of World Wide Stereo
What is the biggest challenge World Wide Stereo faces this year?
The ongoing price pressure from uncontrolled internet pricing. It’s incumbent on the manufacturers to get that under control if the channels that drive the technology and the business are going to want to support their lines and to survive.
With your main competitor HiFi House closing last year, how do you see the market for high-end electronics in the Philadelphia area?
Our main competition really has always been lack of customer awareness of what’s available, and the forced commoditization that the big box stores have created, which devalues the entire category. HiFi House did a great job and it’s unfortunate that they are gone. There has always been plenty of business for all in the Philly market. Besides, I can think of six strong dealers right now who more than make up the slack. For myself, high-end electronics [are] alive and well at World Wide Stereo.
What’s the most intriguing product category for World Wide Stereo in 2015?
Whole-house integration. The most intriguing aspect is not just integrating the technology; it’s all about creating the lifestyle—how to stick with our roots and have two-channel stereo as part of the program, working that with lighting control, shades and all other aspects.
How’s your installation/integration business looking?
Looking real good. We are booked out six weeks, and have a full-court press on looking for highly skilled techs. We are doing it right and our community knows it, so we are a sought-out provider. It’s great fun.
How’s your retail business?
Traditional retail returned this past holiday season, and it continues. People are coming in, and walking out with boxes in hand. Deliveries of big screens are happening as well. Two-channel is strong, and more and more people are coming in just to “look around,” which has proven to translate to “I’m looking to buy something.” It’s really great. Makes me smile!