At the recent roundtable sponsored by the Mobile Electronics Retailers Assoc. (MERA) during the Spring Break Nationals, retailers were asked what keeps them up at night. Many claimed “foot traffic” is the main culprit, according to panel moderator, MERA’s Chris Cook.
He pointed out that OnStar will launch a substantial advertising campaign for its just-named For My Vehicle retail mirror to be available at the end of June, which might help retailers bring more feet in the door.
OnStar’s Michael Solomon said more than 50 percent of OnStar customers are women (so you might want to make sure the shop is suitable for the ladies). OnStar’s key demographic is 24 to 54-year olds, reported Cook. (We’re sorry we couldn’t attend the seminar, so Cook filled us in).
We asked Solomon via email how extensive the OnStar For My Vehicle campaign will be, and he said only that the company is “planning a prominent TV advertising campaign.” But that’s certainly more than the 12 volt aftermarket usually enjoys by way of promotion.
The rountable panel focused on new car electronics technology and new opportunities and included Alpine’s Mike Anderson, retailer Mike Dixon of Audio Logic, Jeff O’Heir of Dealerscope as well as Solomon and Cook.
Dixon and retailers in the audience said that retailers must sell their own brand—their store—to keep foot traffic flowing. They should sell professional installation, experience, and the fact that their installers are certified and their products warrantied.
The 2011 Spring Break Nationals, held March 19-20 with a special trade day of March 21, marked the first time that MERA held a regional trade event during the annual spring rite in recent memory. More than 170 industry members registered for the trade event. MERA will hold other regional events across the country this year.
Without a doubt, members have told us that floor traffic is their number one problem. That being said, if retailers depend only on a single product for increased floor traffic, they will be doomed. I was a retailer for almost 20 years and I can tell you the same things members tell us. The only thing you can ever rely on is what YOU take action on. As soon as you depend directly on a vendor or a product, you will be disappointed when the vendor decides or is forced to make a change to their distribution and/or product that is not unison with your goals.
To put my money where my mouth is, for 2011, I have directed the majority of ICE funding to go towards increased retailer floor traffic. We started in late 2010 and as was reported by Amy G. back in December, many members saw huge gains in floor traffic that were directly related to ICE efforts. Some had their best year in their store’s history. I am aware that many who do not know me, will read this and believe that this is an ICE commercial. That is fine, but ICE has a unique seat in this industry where we get to see the inner workings of 200 stores. With their feedback, we are able to determine what retailers who are having success all have in common. I feel it is important to share this information with those outside of ICE if I believe it can benefit the industry as a whole.
Rob Elliott -Executive Director
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