Who’s the largest specialist in car audio buying power? If you allow for collective buying power, the Mobile Electronics Specialists of America, MESA, buying/marketing group has almost double the buying power of some of the top 12 volt chains.
MESA says its 135 members together bring in $278 million in sales. Members commit 65 percent of their buying revenue to MESA vendors; so by our math, the group has at least $186.5 million in collective buying power. Over the years, the group has become well-oiled enough so that vendors can bring in a deal and push it quickly into stores. In that way, MESA is starting to win deals that the big guns like Best Buy, Car Toys, and Crutchfield might get.
Earlier this year, MESA members were able to sell a closed out AV deck with CarPlay from Pioneer at $399, which, at the time, set a new price floor for a CarPlay deck.
Executive Director Ryan Gunter doesn’t want to discuss specific deals but he acknowledges, ‘As we continue to grow and expand our efficiency in getting our members to market those specials, vendors are approaching us more readily’, he said. “Yes, we can get those specials to our members very quickly with buy in and sell through.”
He added, “We’re definitely working on some cool stuff for Q4, but I don’t want to tip my hand.”
MESA may be poised to grow again as early as 2018 when a new membership level may open up. Currently, retailers must bring in revenues of at least $800K to join, but a new level would allow members with lower sales that would be closer to $500K.
“We definitely have been talking about that next level since we want to help as many retailers as we can without overlapping territories. A Silver level is on our radar, maybe as soon as 2018 to start looking at doing it,” Gunter said. Gold members post sales of $800K to $1.8 million and Platinum members post sales of $1.8 million and above.
This January, one member, Sound Depot & Performance, Gainesville, FL jumped from Gold to Platinum.
If taken collectively, MESA members have also become a key force in advertising car audio products on a national scale. Gunter estimates that many members have doubled their ad spending since becoming members. But he would allow only that the group is responsible for “millions in 12 volt advertising spending.”
This year, MESA will offer for each sale period, (such as tax refund, Dads and Grads, Black Friday) video footage for use on Facebook, YouTube, etc. This is in addition to the digital art and email blasts offered in the past, as well as TV ad footage. A goal at the annual MESA Summit in September this year will be to streamline advertising material to make it easier for members to market to consumers.
MESA members’ store locations tally 257, covering 43 states.