50% Don’t Know or Like Car Audio Shops

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Back in 2008, research showed that a third of consumers didn’t know that they could buy aftermarket car audio from a local specialist and a third had had a bad experience at a specialist or felt that 12v specialists had a bad reputation.

That figure is even higher today, said Coyote Insight, which originally performed the study and then conducted more proprietary research on the subject two years ago.  Although Coyote’s CEO Bill Matthies wasn’t asking the same questions more recently, he believes it is fair that today, right now, it is likely that half of U.S. consumers either hasn’t heard of a car audio shop or believes the shops have a bad reputation.  (We know the math doesn’t quite work in an apples to apples comparison with the 2008 findings, but this is Coyote’s conclusion based on the set of questions that it has been asking consumers more recently).

“About 50 percent of the people either doesn’t know about aftermarket dealers or knows, but doesn’t like what they see,” said  Matthies.  “50 percent is horrible,” he said.  For tablets or smartphones, the answer would be closer to 15 percent.  And he believes the answer for home audio would be better than for car audio.

HOWEVER, the good news remains the same as it was back in 2008, that there is demand for the products car audio specialists sell.   “The demand is there, but it’s just not being addressed properly, in my opinion, by dealers and manufacturers.  I don’t think they are doing the job they should to create the market,” said Matthies.

He acknowledges that new cars come with better audio systems.  But he adds that “the industry isn’t talking to [consumers] anymore.  Retailers aren’t interesting them in what they have.  It’s what I call self-select.  If you know what you want, it’s out there; if you don’t know what you want, the industry isn’t doing a good job of helping.”

The general consumer electronics market may be guilty of the same problem, he adds, whether it’s TV or digital audio. “But it’s a much bigger problem with autosound because of the installation level as well.”

He said the first thing the industry needs to do is recognize that very little is being done to be heard by consumers.

For retailers, he cautions about talking over the heads of consumers.  If you are a customer buying a mirrorless camera, you may go into a shop and they start talking over your head. You’ll just nod and walk out, “because it wasn’t the right conversation.  That happens with car stereo,” he said.

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. Dan J said it best !!!!!!! Lead, Follow or Get out of the way !!!!!!!!!!!

  2. 1. Most consumers are not aware of what is possible. Manufacturers and retailers do nothing to educate this group.

    2. A small subset of consumers know what they want. Both online and brick and mortar retailers fight over this group using price.

    3. Manufacturers try to provide retailers with lower cost products to win the business. This leads to fake product: CCA wire, 10 amp 10,000 watt amps, etc.

    4. Consumers do not trust “stealerships” who sell this product.

    5. We end up with a declining market, and wonder why.

  3. I believe the industry hasn’t done itself any favor in the level of training on the sales floor and the install bays. Some retailer have burned there customer base and soured the industry as a hole.
    The next generation of consumers are better at finding what they want through E retailers. So the retail box store are less likely not to see that walk in business. Some of the more successful retailer and figured it out. They offer the consumer something that e retailer can’t. Customer service and a level of hands on experience that there competitor can not. Time will tell if the customer will venture back to the brick and mortar stores.

  4. Bill Mathies about a survey that is fairly damning regarding the way consumers relate to specialty retailers in the 12 volt business. He usually does a good and fair job at these things. No difference here I am sure.

    The same few of us make comments and the day passes with little action.

    Yeah the suppliers stopped co-op. Yeah the reps sell to anybody with a heartbeat. Yeah the new cars have more and acceptable stuff in the dashboard and doors. Yeah retailers can’t find good salespeople and installers. Yeah the distributors (and some suppliers) sell directly to consumers. Yeah the display board suppliers are too expensive and its too hard to build one yourself. And on & on & on…

    Anybody see a pattern here?

    There are precious few specialty retailers who are in the special business of making consumers feel comfortable entering their store. Faaghettabowt spending hard earned money in the store. Hospitality is virtually unknown in the specialty retail brick & mortar environs.

    The irony is that much of the solution is available at near ZERO COST to retailers.

    Learn & use communication skills. Make brand mix and merchandising decisions that attract consumers not encourage them to find a better price elsewhere.

    Look inward for problem resolution.

    To be fair there are the “precious few” who are successfully meeting these challenges noted in the article and in my observations above. Many of the “precious few” are more than happy to mentor others who need some “guidance”.

    There is a YouTube series called “Selecting A Retailer” that I am doing. Part 4 of 6 parts will be posted later today. Viewing it may help with some answers to some questions. It may even stir some original thought and subsequent action. Its brand agnostic. You are not asked to buy anything. You are simply encouraged to view your store through your consumer’s eye.

    I believe there is nothing wrong with failure when a true effort at succeeding is put forth. Its the true effort part that makes me a little nervous.

    Ray Windsor
    German Maestro

  5. Did you know 50% doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class?

    I certainly would like to the see the sampling rates that came up with these OVER ARCHING AND WIDE SWEEPING statements about our industry outlined in your article.

    Seems more like opinions….and you know what they say about opinions….

    Look it’s no different today that it was almost 40 years ago when I walked into the industry. Car audio retailers who were not waiting for the vendors to hand them every answer to solutions and dug deep to be the leader survived and prospered.

    The success stories around the country are numerous. What’s the difference between success and failure? People and their leadership!

    If you live in the past, expect it to be handed to you, blame the vendor for everything, don’t provide exceptional customer service, and don’t go the extra mile to get’r done to search out new solutions….

    It’s time to find a new industry.

    But wait….it’s that way in every industry!

    I agree with everyone bitches…but, guess what….if you can’t change them…create your own path to success with what you got!

  6. I think the problem between consumers and car audio retailers is two fold:
    1. Most Car Audio retailers have really bad websites. Today’s consumer do their research first by going online to see who is in the area then seeing their website and reviews. If a shop can’t be found, they aren’t in the running. If their reviews are bad, that might knock them off the list. This is where the website can make or break moving a consumer into action. Does the website show a bunch of girls in bikinis laying on cars that look like they’d be driven by drug dealer in Breaking Bad? That’s not going to do much for the corporate guy who wants to make his commuter car sound a little better.
    The second part of the equation is the retail experience. Some store get it, some don’t. Bottom line is the store should be thought of like a dinner party that is well prepared for its guests.

  7. This is the same conversation that has been going on for years. NOTHING is being done on a large scale to improve it. There are perhaps a couple hundred shops in the country that do it right, start to finish. Professional looking store. Working displays. Trained personnel. Proper presentation. Top shelf shops. Then there is the other 2800 shops that contribute daily to these stats.
    Until the industry is willing to invest in itself, nothing will get better. MECP should be a requirement. 100%. Store accreditation is needed to assure a positive consumer experience. And manufacturers need to make well thought out products that work. All the time. And SIMPLE user interface. Unless and until these issues are addressed, this will continue to be a shrinking industry. And that makes me sad.

  8. PROBLEM #1: “About 50 percent of the people either doesn’t know about aftermarket dealers or knows, but doesn’t like what they see,” said Matthies.
    PROBLEM: For retailers, he cautions about talking over the heads of consumers. If you are a customer buying a mirrorless camera, you may go into a shop and they start talking over your head. You’ll just nod and walk out, “because it wasn’t the right conversation. That happens with car stereo,” he said.

  9. yeah. and a third of them are on the left side of the bell curve of human potential.

    also ask the wrong question-get the wrong answer.


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