HTSA Pushes Dealers To Differentiate
They golfed, fished and snorkeled, but it wasn't all fun and games for the dealers and vendors of the Home Technology Specialists of America at their recent spring meeting in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.
HTSA partners built fresh relationships and solidified old ones, honed existing ideas and walked away with new ones. This year's marching orders were set to the beat of what executive director Richard Glikes called "Revivify," or a call to for dealers to pump new energy, spirit and life into their businesses.
As a first step in that direction, Dave Berman, HTSA's director of training & public relations, told dealers to differentiate themselves from the big-box retailers by refusing to offer instant rebates, finding a higher-margin alternative to vendor's product bundles, providing flawless and satisfying product demos, offering strategic special buys, and using MDF programs to drive business.
Technologies and solutions that require a knowledgeable sales floor, strong demos and robust installation services - such as energy management and solar, 3D TV and projection, and LED lighting - will also increase margins and further differentiate the independent dealers from the national retailers, Glikes said.
"There's no low hanging fruit anymore," he said. "Every sale is a battle."
That battle is quickly shifting from the storefront to online. Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and managing principal of Essential Ideas, a consultancy that helps companies transition to the digital world, talked about the need for small businesses to develop e-commerce strategies. The Web, he said, will influence 53 percent of U.S. retail sales by 2014. When developing e-commerce platforms, dealers must remember to include information on their sites that will satisfy consumers' demand for instant answers.
"You need to provide the customer with information they need even if that information is not directly associated with you or your business," he said.