12V Accessories Part 2: The Phone

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Rick Ross of Scosche

Rick Ross
Rick Ross of Scosche at KnowledgeFest
Photo credit: Shannon Gilroy

Yes, we’re on a theme this week in CEoutlook, about using accessories as a profit driver, as do any successful retailers.  

Car audio stores, due to the connected radio, are now in the smartphone business by default.  And you can reap some of the high profits in smartphone accessories, by following a few rules.  

Before you say it’s not for me, note that the margins on phone accessories are 48 to 68 percent, Scosche National Trainer Rick Ross told a seminar at KnowledgeFest last week.

Phone cases don’t easily sell themselves (see Rick Ross statement in comment section) because consumers buy them when they purchase the phone.   And no phone accessories will sell on a wall near the subwoofers.

Two accessories, however, will sell themselves at a car audio shop: chargers and sync cables.  But they must be placed on the checkout counter or in the waiting room, where customers will buy them on impulse, Ross said.

“I guarantee you that 90 percent of your customers wish they had an extra cable,” he said. 

Most people never get around to buying that extra cable or charger. “Then he kicks himself because he forgets it one day and wishes he had an extra sync cable,”  Ross said.

Another accessory–the 3.5mm cable—should be sold with every radio that goes out the door. The average ticket on a CD player is about $200 and they all have a 3.5mm input. “Each time you sell a CD player and don’t sell a 3.5mm cord you are leaving money on the table,” said Ross.

You can increase the gross profit on a CD player sales by 8 to 12 percent by selling a quality 3.5mm cable.“They sell like candy bars at the checkout counter; charging cables and sync cables too.  It all depends on how you set it up,” Ross said.

Headphones are another item for car stereo shops, but these require salesmanship and demonstration (while the others sell themselves).

For ear buds, carry $10, $20 and $30 models. Salesmen should wear them and carry extra silicons so people can try them on.  For headphones,  demo them and then spray them with an antibacterial agent.   The average markup on higher end headphones is about 30 percent.  

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. Part 2
    will purchase anyway, you’re offing a convenience as well. Most 12v retailer’s are small businesses. Some with as little as 3 employees. This doesn’t leave much time to “sell” this type of product when the focus is on car stereo, auto security, etc. My seminar spoke to how the merchandise your store with product that you’ll be successful with out much maintenance.
    This is a little closer to what I said. Scosche is in it’s 34th year of business designing and manufacturing some of the most inovative consumer tech products on the market. Please contact me with any questions you may have.

    Thank you,

  2. “Phone cases don’t sell” was not my complete statement. In my seminar I simply explained the difference in CT products that are impulse (12v car chargers / sync charge cables) and or add on sales ( 3.5 aux cables). In the 12 volt environment, phone cases have to be spoken to or sold to your average customer. They will not sell themselves. Even with that said, that same case needs to be unique in some way as well. To use our (Scosche) cases as an example, our aluminum (rail case) and backup battery cases have seen success in the 12 volt retailer history has shown. The average customer that goes into a brick and mortar car stereo store isn’t looking for, or expect to find smart phone accessories in his type of retailer. Offering these products that customers were going to purchase will

  3. Yes, phone accessories are extremely hot. Every CE and most ME shops should offer at least a few varieties.
    We’ve been manufacturing, marketing and selling ME, GPS and cellular for 19 years. iVi Wireless manages thousands of cellphones and M2M devices.

    Seen above… “Phone cases won’t sell because consumers buy them when they purchase the phone.”
    Nonsense. If that were true then Amazon wouldn’t return 8.77M listings when searching for cell phone cases, and cellphone cases wouldn’t rank nearly every day in the top 100 searches within All of Amazon.

    Grocery stores, gas stations, truck stops… they all sell cellphone cases. So should you. Those retailers, as a whole, know nothing of ME and cellular. But you, a CE or ME retailer, you do simply because you understand the product, the need and the customer. When buying right average markup is 25-35%, no problem.

    Sync cables? I agree with the 90% quote, but in reverse. Do you use them? I work with customers 3-4 days a week and extremely few people have a need for sync cables. Most have no idea where to find the cable that came with their phone, or, use it only for charging.

    First off, nearly every sync function is now down wirelessly either over the cell network or through WiFi or BT. Most happen automatically. I can’t think of important day to day sync functions that require a cable. Gone are the days of connecting your PC or Mac to your smartphone.
    For vehicles w/o BT, which is becoming rare, MP3 and streaming infotainment may be an exception.

    12v car chargers: Sell these! THIS is a highly desired often-used in-vehicle cellular accessory. Very affordable for end-users, and huge markups for you.

    Hope this helps,

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