Some say traditional car audio is now half of what a 12 volt retailer actually sells these days, so it’s no surprise that retailers in 2016 continue to branch into new markets.
Many that dabbled in window tint are diving in full bore this year. Several retailers say that powersports is a real niche that is profitable and many are pursuing it this year.
Expanding expeditor sales is also number one on some dealers’ lists for 2016.
Car Toys, Seattle, with 49 stores is looking at adding window tint and other protective films. “Tint is probably the single most called for service that we don’t offer today,” said VP Merchandising & Marketing Jim Warren, adding, “We’re seeing consumer demand in powersports. We’ve expanded our products and, in fact, doubled our assortment.
“Considering how many automobiles sold per year compared to ATVs, it’s a tiny fraction but the people buying ATVs are pretty passionate about them and they spend more money on them.”Considering how many vehicles sold per year compared to ATVs, it’s a tiny fraction,” he added.
Avenue Sound, Freeport, NY (2-stores) is also pushing window tint, after starting to offer Solar Gard through the Mobile Electronic Specialists of America (MESA) buying group. “We did the training toward the end of last year, purchased a plotter and this year, it showing to be pretty substantial in terms of profitability. It’s working out well for us,” said Vikas Moolchandani. The company is also expanding its automotive lighting with vehicle specific systems from Race Sport.
To work around installer shortages AMS in Madison, WI is looking to carry some “cash and carry” products, such as WeatherTech floor mats. We’re “…looking to find a couple of things that might generate revenue without being installation reliant,” said Paul Nachriner. “I know a couple of other guys in the territory have done it….it adds some revenue without everything having to go through the garage. It’s hard to find technicians…it’s the limiting factor. Right now I could schedule more work than my staff can do.” He’s also looking to push powersports and marine audio more aggressively this year.
Mobile Electronics, LaGrange, GA is moving more heavily into expeditor sales “to get away from the discounting on the web by Amazon.” Owner Keith Roberts said the store is pushing Kenwood’s navigation deck with a 3-year warranty and is also pushing Alpine Restyle to local car dealers.
Cartronix of Valparaiso, IN is completely revamping its showroom with displays from Avidworx, including new displays for driver safety, backup cameras, amplifiers and marine audio. “I’m doing the whole store. I’m doing it with the big manufacturer branding so there’s one with a Sony poster that takes up the whole wall,” said President Eric Carter. He had a single Avidworx display last year that did well. “People would actually just walk up to the display and push buttons and that’s what I wanted.”
Also for this year, Cartronix is pushing training and will hold in-house manufacturer training, attending both KnowledgeFest events, attending Sonus EVOL training and using some video conferencing training.
The shop, which was up 19 percent last year in sales, is also holding its first IASCA sound quality sound off event. It teamed up with a Facebook group in Indiana with about 400 members that are sound quality enthusiasts.
Long Radio of Hadley, MA is getting aggressive in email marketing this year and expeditor Auto Action Group in NJ expanded its sales department to call on more dealerships.
Tunes-N-Tint, FL is hoping to expand its restyling offering, bringing in bed liners after it began offering leather seats in-house recently. It’s also pursuing other restyling accessories, said Operations Director Joe Cassity.