MERA in Talks With eBay Motors for 12 Volt Specialists Store

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MERA

The Mobile Electronics Retailers Association, MERA, is in talks with eBay Motors about setting up a car audio store on the site for its car audio specialist retailers collectively.

The car audio store or marketplace might appear every time someone on eBay Motors purchases a car or auto accessory, which would provide the 12-volt aftermarket much needed exposure.

Sales could be directed to the nearest MERA member who would handle fulfillment and installation. There are currently over 1,000 MERA retail members.

The biggest hurdle to the “MERA Marketplace” (there is no formal name yet) is vendor approval.  Suppliers would need to agree to their products being sold on eBay Motors, a site which sold $1.7 billion in automotive equipment in the fourth quarter alone, says MERA.

Chris Cook, MERA President has not yet contacted vendors but has revealed his plans in a story in Mobile Electronics Magazine, inviting industry discussion in hopes of enlisting supplier support.  The story may be viewed in the online issue here.

He noted that the MERA Marketplace would honor vendor agreements such as adhering to a minimum advertised price.

The greater point is that car audio specialty retailers must be visible where consumers shop, and consumers are now shopping online.

Additionally, while consumers are aware of much of the new technology in cars, they are not aware that you don’t need to buy a new car to use that technology. “And they may not be aware of a local retailer in their market that has those technologies,” said Cook.

An eBay Motors MERA Marketplace would put car audio specialists in front of the used car buyer who may be purchasing a 4-year old Audi A6, but would now have the option to add 2013 technology to the car.

It’s “using the traffic of used car buyers” to generate traffic for car audio and electronics, Cook said.

MERA could also engage eBay to send an email blast to millions of its subscribers who recently bought a car or auto part.

The topic will be discussed in more depth at the upcoming KnowledgeFest trade show, sponsored by MERA,  at the Gaylord Texan Resort from August 17- 20. To register for KnowledgeFest visit www.knowledgefest.org.

Source: MERA

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9 Comments

  1. This is why a lot of the brick and mortar shops don’t need a big brother assoc. to run them down on profits. I don’t see any good coming out of this, as Chris is trying to point out. all I see is a increase in MERA’s Profits.

  2. Good Points Mr Windsor!
    That is exactly why we changed our dealer program at MTX. People cannot sell what they do not have in stock for less than MAP. We now keep the inventory in our warehouse until it is ready for install at a authorized retailer. We guarantee the margins for that retailer. It is really a game changer and it growing every month in popularity. Not many manufactures are willing or able to take a step like this. WE DID! Independent dealers really do have a option to support a manufacturing partner that is willing to take the necessary steps to support them. No one should have the ability to sell MTX products below MAP. I invite other manufactures to do the same. Put your money where you mouth is. To do so you have to fire all your Reps, Dealers and especially your distributors and start from scratch. That is what we did. Does anyone else have the stomach to the same?
    If your not familiar with the program look it up.

  3. Many of us retailers have attempted online retail sales, adhering to MAP pricing. MAP pricing gets us the endorsement of the vendors. BUT, enter Mr. online shopper: he wants nothing to do with MAP because he can find it cheaper on amazon, sonic, or Ebay from who he feels is a solid seller. If your intentions are to sell to this customer at full retail on this new site, good luck with that. I can just see the new special Mera ebay section with retail prices, and one click away in regular Ebay—same item for almost half price. Pick a part number in today’s lineup. say the Pioneer Avic-x940bt. You’ll find them all over for less than MAP. \
    I just don’t see a successful business model here. Online shoppers want cheap cheap cheap. They already know there is a car audio store in their hometown.

  4. I should add that MERA is also talking about promoting car audio through eBay Motors and not just selling car audio. Chris Cook may want to add more on that either here or at KnowledgeFest.

  5. yeah. just watch the price prostitues run wild setting new lows. five dollars profit is good if you are in your pajamas in your parents’ basement. ebay is already a profit wasteland.
    g

  6. Chris, et al…

    Well managed; this initiative is a FRIEND FOR SURE. GREAT DISCUSSION TOPIC!!! Well done. I trust that you will follow through and make this happen.

    A few observations:

    ONE: The point was made that e-bay transactions would be consummated in the brick & mortar store. I perceive this is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL to the success of specialty retailers participating in such a program. In other words; products and services are advertised on e-bay, appointments for install services are made on e-bay; deposits and even complete charges for the products and services are collected by the re-seller through e-bay. MOST IMPORTANT the consumer must visit the brick & mortar retailer to receive the products and services. From a business perspective this is the hard part… Will the initiative be organized to increase traffic which will improve sales and subsequent purchases from participating vendors OR is the initiative organized to sell more products and perhaps the purchasers will visit a brick & mortar store. In my opinion the former organization method will solve much of the chaos and improve business. The latter organization method will simply add to the chaos, solve no problem and serve only to further confuse consumers.

    TWO: The elephant in the middle of the room was not addressed. Indeed it seemed that Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak was put on the elephant. That is… vendors CAN, BUT MOST DO NOT, control the unauthorized sale of their products in any medium, brick & mortar, Internet, flea circuses, etc… That is de-facto authorization by the vendors of the chaos that your e-bay initiative seeks to resolve.

    I contend that if a condition (in this case market place chaos) is to be changed several steps must be taken:

    ONE: Identify the problem: In this case any body can buy and re-sell any product in any medium they choose at any price without any vendor attempt, forget actual action, to manage these circumstances.

    TWO: Identify a solution: In this case vendors must take charge of their distribution practices. In reality there should be no problem with any vendor selling his brand in any manner he feels works for him. By taking charge I mean the vendor MUST REMOVE SURPRISE from business relationships with re-sellers. Articulate policies. Enforce policies.

    THREE: MERA and e-bay must articulate policies and enforce policies.

    This is a MOST DOABLE program and a great idea. The problem is not lack of ability to manage on the part of vendors but rather lack of desire to manage.

    Apologies in advance to any whom I have offended with my comments and observations.

    Ray Windsor
    German Maestro

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