Car Toys Revamps Stores for Connected Car

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Connected Car Car Toys

Car Toys is investing millions of dollars to outfit all of its 50 stores with connected car demonstration rooms that should be in place by October 15.

The Seattle-based chain has already included the Connected Car in much of its advertising and says the public is responding.  “We currently have about 15,000 customers coming in a month that want to figure out how to integrate their device or phone into their vehicles.  We’re starting to see people coming in and wanting to upgrade the [radio] in their car,” said Senior VP Merchandising Jim Warren.

A demo room in each store is being completely gutted “down to the studs” and new displays are being built that will allow the consumer a hands on way to integrate his phone or a new phone in the car.  The displays will work with radios or products from Sony, Alpine, Pioneer, Kenwood and Harman.   It will show consumers how to launch apps from the car, and use driver safety apps including navigation and voice controlled social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Car Toys is already seeing upgrading from consumers who own a Ford with an early Sync system or an early MyFord Touch.  “The new devices from Kenwood, Alpine, Pioneer and Sony are superior in almost all ways to the early OE products.  We’re starting to see some upgrading.  It’s exciting for the industry,” Warren said.

The store will launch a larger advertising and public relations campaign on the Connected Car this fall.

Said Warren,  “I really think the category has the capability of taking the 12 volt industry back into positive comps [better comparable sales to the year before]. We’re just seeing the front edge of the products now.”

Warren has seen prototypes of 2014 connected aftermarket radios, which he says will be even better than this year’s technology leaders.

Source: CEoutlook

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