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 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.

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 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…

The Future of Home Integration: Part 5

In Part 1 of this series, we outlined a powerful threat to custom home integration. The giant Electronic Service Providers (ESPs) are developing intoxicating mixes of cheap wireless components and smartphones, together with their infrastructure strengths (broadband home connections for Verizon and Comcast;

The Future of Home Integration Part 4

In a recent issue, we focused on the HomeConnecTeam (HCT), a consortium of about 80 independent dealers organized by former CEDIA President Rob Gerhardt in response to the entry of ADT, Verizon, Comcast, and others into our world of home integration.

The Future of Home Integration: Recurring Revenue: Part 3

In Part I, we described the gathering storm that is casting a dark shadow upon the livelihood of independent custom integrators. Major electronic service providers (ESPs) such as Comcast, Verizon and ADT had begun test-marketing wireless home integration packages, using the business model they do so well: inexpensive installation costs plus recurrent monthly service charges.