How Bad Was Remote Start Season?

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For many retailers, the warm winter sent remote start sales plummeting. But others found ways to keep sales afloat.

VOXX said sales were down slightly.  Compustar’s Jason Kaminsky said “The [holiday] season started late, but it ended fairly strong.  Due to a warm up in Q1, the season hasn’t carried through as well as it has in previous years.”

Directed said it doesn’t comment on sales.

Fortunately, there were a few cold snaps this season, including around Christmas. “Life was fantastic” between Thanksgiving and Christmas, said AM Distributors’ George McGoldrick.  But in late February he said, “We haven’t had snow since December 17. I think that’s 75 days. It’s almost 70 degrees in Chicago.”

Sales were down 50 to 60 percent at Boom Did It Customs, Rockford, IL.  The shop is stepping up is door-to-door service as a result.  “You can’t sit and wait for people to come into your stores now,” said shop owner “Boomer.” He handles insurance claims for audio systems and installs remote starts in customer garages.  He’s been doing it for almost 9 years, but is pushing it harder now.

Boom Did It doesn’t charge extra for the service. The shop has 6 installers. Some will use their own cars and they bring a portable heater. “We’re in the middle of the state and we’ll go all the way to Chicago. You can’t sit in the store nowadays and expect someone to come in and spend money,” said Boomer.

He also refuses to install products purchased online, despite the fact that about 20 to 30 customers a week come in with product from the Internet. In many cases he switches them to an in-store purchase once they learn about the store warranty.

Sound of Tri-State with three stores based in Delaware kept sales about even with last year through Groupon promotions.  “It if wasn’t for Groupon and other social media tools it would have been an awful season.  But because we sold so many as gifts [for Christmas] we still have scheduled remote starts installs. That’s the reason we are flat with last year,” said President Mehdi Narimanian.

He gets better terms for Groupon as a member of the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America (MESA) buying/marketing, he said. Salesmen are trained on stepping up customers so the sales are profitable.

“Fortunately, the holidays themselves were cold, but waiting for the customers to come into your store…good luck.  It’s a fact now, with the Internet, people hop online,” Narimanian said.

Remote start sales are actually up at California Custom Sounds, OH (4 stores).  The chain believes it has established itself as an authority on remote start. It promotes aggressively year after year and business was up 10 to 15 percent, said Zack Knoop. To help profits it pushed DroneMobile remote start from a phone and doubled those sales over last year.

As last year, the installer shortage cut into sales for some retailers. Car Tunes Stereo Center in Detroit with 6 stores said at one point it had 27 installers now its down to 16 and could use a lot more.  The shop was forced to walk a lot of remote start sales this year, said Mark Constantakis.

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  1. Our remote start season ended up even. Strong 4th quarter of 2016 and we kept promoting into 2017. Keep planting the seed for future customers. A couple cold days would have helped us all. We sell remote starts EVERY DAY not just when it is cold. This is what you have to do. We look forward to a strong remote start season this summer!

  2. Boom Did It Customs

    Until, the manufactures start supporting “US,” the “retailer” and “shops” and “We” the retailers stop supporting the internet and stop installing internet items, Customers are gonna keep buying from the net and not from your store.

    If they see you wont install it they will start seeing the benefits of purchasing from a brick and mortar and buy from you with a legit warranty and with some of you Mecp Certified installers thats another major benifit. Show you are not that flea market setup. Become Quality, with a true warranty and certification. Why would they not buy from you? We have other custom options for the basic cars to luxury car customer also.

    Many of the shops around the area do not like supporting internet either or even like installing used items and do not support installing the internet items either.

    You have to be the seller and not blow customers off. Be a wise, smart seller of selling your products. Profit and a happy customer is a key without placing your business in a position of trying to explain, display, debate or even be placed in a heated discussion on why the internet item dosent work properly or any other reason after yiu tried to make jus a few bucks off a install that may bite you in the rear. Why place yourself in that position.

    Many customers once explained that 50/50 if items from the net maybe refurbished or out dated, and not installed by a authorized product dealer and 50/50 if the item even works out of the box, they are willing to buy from you.

    Thus, what is their true warranty when bought grom the NET because they really dont have one because once again they didnt buy from “Authorized Dealer” or have it installed by one also. So, the warranty Once again is void.

    Now, the customer has to buy another product if it doesnt work correctly and did they really save that $10-$20 bucks etc. Is it worth it?

    We stride for top car audio experience from point “A” to point “B!” We tell you fact not fiction because we want you to come back and be happy, Thus, tell others about us and they do. We do not want to be placed in a position of a customer being mad at us, when they bought a product from the net that is not “A” stock or any Stock. We stride for our customers to be happy and if they want cheaper than they do not want quality. We sell Brand new, Top Name brands and will never sell low end or low end product lines ever.

    Quality versus quantity! Happiness versus drama. Thats why we do what we do! No extra charge for coming on location to sell and install also. This is the Starbuck World, lol. Why, we want the easy and laziness of things. Example: Drive through for coffee because we are to lazy to get out of a vehicle and walk in side. (only used as an a example Starbucks) We drive on location to Home, business etc. Its convenience. 28 Years of car audio and of going on location.(Correction in write up) But within the past 9 years we have come on location alot more frequent compared to sitting in store only. You cant just wait for people to come im store anymore. Go to them!

    One last thing!

    Now, just imagine if you install that internet bought unit which the customer has and it smokes something in the car aka causes damage. Then what are you gonna do? (Its customer Drama Time) Of course you have explained to them that they get no warranty from you or maybe even the internet and you also, asked them to sign a document in agreement to such or something etc but now whos gonna fix their car? Your insurance, your pocket book? You took project on to completer. Who and why do it for a lil chump change.

    Be wise!

  3. You will never find MMATS online. Amps and woofers made in America….always protected, brick and mortar Dealers only. Always have, always will.

  4. Jim Rohn, a multi millionaire by the age of 30 was quoted saying,
    For those who truly want to do something,
    Those who don’t,
    Find excuses!

    I say it this way,
    For those who truly want to make sales,
    Learn how to sell and don’t wait for the customer to come to them!
    Those who don’t,
    They let their circumstances (weather, phone not ringing, you don’t know my market, etc. etc. etc.) allow those things dictate to to them and not the other way around!

    I know it’s hard, but it’s the truth.

    WITH SALES (period)

    No sales, No money, No money, can’t buy anything, pay anyone need I go further?

    The sooner you stop making excuses and find a way to stop what you don’t like,
    then the problem is solved!

    1. Very well said! And, we dont sit on our butt and wait for customers to come to us. We go to them also!

      Thanks for you wise words..

  5. “He also refuses to install products purchased online, despite the fact that about 20 to 30 customers a week come in with product from the Internet” WHY? Not every customer wants to hear a lecture on why they shouldn’t purchase equipment online. Why not simply charge a higher “regular” hourly rate for outside equipment and “discount” that rate when customers purchase equipment from you? If you agree to install it at that higher “regular” rate, educate them about the pro’s and con’s of buying online vs buying from a local dealer you can make money and earn a customer for life. I don’t get why a retailer would do that unless they have a really high success rate at convincing them to return their equipment and purchase from them instead.

  6. It seems if you get lots of customers looking for internet bought items for installation it becomes necessary to find a way to make money with this rather than trying to push against it..

    something like..

    “we are happy to install internet purchased gear!!! Fast nickles beats slow dimes.

  7. It seems every one that ownes a 12 volt store
    Keeps talking about the internet sales
    As a 12 volt owner that has 5 stores it’s really
    Hard but don’t blame the internet blame the manufacturer there the ones that allow it to happen and if they wanted to stop it they whould
    But guess what it not going to happen there are the ones that makeing all the money trust me I have my own amp and speaker line now that we push hard in our stores and make plenty of profit
    More than 90 points and now some of the manufacturers. Don’t like it but hey sales are up
    And profit is way up and no worry of shopping
    Our line on the net so put a stop to it like Mesa
    Has it Own lines that’s a great start even tho
    I am not a mess member anymore it’s a great
    Way to make some money if you don’t want to
    Bring in your own line

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