George Mckechnie

George Mckechnie
The Future of Buying Groups

What can national buying groups do to help us adjust to recent disruptive innovations that have alte

The Future of Buying Groups

Now that the economy is moving forward again—with unemployment down, housing starts up, and the stock market fully recovered—it’s tempting to think that we in the A/V world can return to business as usual, relying once again on new technologies and products to drive sales, and the return of old-school margins to rescue the bottom line. But if we look around us and examine the carnage of the past half-decade, there are ample indicators that things will never again be that easy. “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.”

Part 6: Selling Lifestyle Solutions. Part I

In recent columns, I argued that home integration specialists should abandon the product and feature-centric approach to selling (which defined the old glory days of A/V retailing), and adopt a consumer-centric focus more in keeping with the realities of the  services we now provide.  To do this, we’ll need to address the confusion and even defensiveness that consumers often bring to the task of purchasing home entertainment and automation systems. 

Disruptive Innovation Will Transform Home Integration

In previous columns, we explored ways that disruptive innovations in technology have combined with the Great Recession to markedly alter consumers’ understanding of home integration features, and to create unrealistic price expectations. We also looked at the potential impact of Comcast, Verizon, and other electronic service providers (ESPs) invading our competitive space with their recurring revenue model for basic home automation services.

Part 5: Disruptive Innovation Will Transform Home Integration

Change seems to coming at us from all directions these days. At my own business in Monterey, Ca., we like to say—only partly in jest—that we revisit and revise our business model every few weeks. With all the disruptive innovation going on—new technologies, new product categories, changing manufacturing leadership, shifting competition patterns, expanding distribution channels, and growing Internet marketing and sales—we are constantly rethinking and re-evaluating every factor that influences our bottom line.

Part 4: Showing CI Value

Last time, we showed how the analysis and documentation of deficiencies in Rescue Projects (which include many kinds of renovation and retrofit work) provides a valuable service to the customer. It also demonstrates how far our industry exceeds the simplistic realm of Internet purchasing.

Showing CI Value: Rescue Project Documentation

Documentation of rescue project deficiencies is a great way to sell the value of custom integration. It alerts the consumer to inadequacies in his knowledge, shows the inadequacies of internet shopping and assures the job is done right.

This Crisis Still Won’t Quit

Last month, CustomRetailer and George McKechnie debuted Re-Visioning, a new column dedicated to examining the challenges custom integrators face, as well as new strategies for the future.

A Custom Retailing Reality Check: Part I

Now that the economic recovery is showing some signs of life, it’s time to take stock. No, not a warehouse inventory, but a total re-thinking of the assumptions and practices of the custom retailing business today.

Hyper-Connectivity Changes Everything

Custom retailers like to grouse about the Internet, and worry about its effect on profit margins and brand exclusivity. We’re often too busy finding customers and keeping up with price moves to think much about its larger impact on the business of home integration. 

The Future of Home Integration

For most consumers, home power management is rapidly becoming an economic necessity. Increasing global demand for energy—led by China and other developing countries—is now increasing the price of energy, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

The Future of Home Integration Part 8

A reported 91 percent of people aged 50 to 65 say they want to stay in their own home indefinitely following retirement. Yet few have planned—or budgeted—for the assisted living (or higher and more costly levels of care) that most will ultimately need. And it seems unlikely that government programs will be able to keep up with the huge numbers of aging baby boomers that modern medicine will keep alive well into their 80s, 90s and beyond.

The Future of
 Home Integration Part 7: Marketing Against the Gorillas

Last time, I discussed how to leverage our superior knowledge and experience in sales, design and delivery of service to compete with ADT, Verizon and Comcast in the emerging wireless home integration space. Today, we will tackle a more challenging problem—marketing against these gorillas. These electronic service providers (ESPs) are masters at TV, print and…