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Training Is Hard

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A few months ago I received a “Tip ‘O The Day” from Eddy K.  I sought and received his permission to relate the main sentiment of his admonition including extensive quoting. This is not my normal style BUT the subject is way too important to gloss over. “The only thing harder than training, is being trained” was the title and it resonated with me. Some key contents…  (begin quotes) “I was thinking the other day that most people would not put their life in the hands of a doctor who wasn’t trained.  We wouldn’t put our lives in the hands of an attorney who wasn’t trained.  Yet, everyday, we put our business in the hands of a sales staff that isn’t trained.  And for most of us, our business is our lives.” “Here is a great example of not being able to break habit: A customer walks in the door and you say: “How can I help you?”  The customer says, “Just looking.” It has happened to you 1000 times.  I wonder how long it takes to realize that if you don’t want to hear “just looking” you shouldn’t be asking “how can I help you?” There are better ways…
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Entrepreneur -- Many people suffer from being rational dreamers. They want to achieve a big dream but hold themselves back by being risk averse. They don't want to disrupt the status quo and play things safe.  To coax themselves out of their comfort zones, people learn to setgoals. I consider the process of goal setting to be like arranging checkpoints along the way to a desired end. Setting and meeting small goals can serve as a thermometer check on progress, measuring advancement and indicating an overall plan's viability. Approach goal setting like creating a customized road map to chart your success. Think about when you take a really long road trip with your friends. Most often, you start off knowing the destination, but since road trips can be fairly long, making pit stops along the way is necessary. Before venturing out, you might decide to stop a quarter of the way along for food, then at the halfway point for gas, at the two-thirds mark to stretch and perhaps 100 miles beyond that for more gas.   You’re meeting smaller, more immediate goals that build on your efforts to reach the final destination. Create a personalized road map for arriving at your desired destination by setting the following types of goals: immediate, intermediate and stretch goals. …
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Specialty Retailer "Clips"

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Last issue we discussed the definition of a specialty retailer. In a continuation of the discussion I feel it is important to identify how a specialty retailer can differentiate from the competition. As it happens I ran into just such an opportunity about two years ago. You’ll need to follow this one…  BUT it is very well worth the read. BETTER; every reader should consider a similar kind of practice. Most consumers are price conscious and according to Eddy K, “all else being equal consumers will buy at the lowest price”. Therefore the specialty retailer’s corollary as it relates to his consumers is to “create an UN-equal tilt in their own favor”. Sounds easy but how? In olden times just opening the door for business was enough to draw paying consumers.  There was a lot more demand than supply back then. As supply began its charge to equalize with demand, retailers had to become a little more creative. Build and sell, custom subwoofer enclosures, keyless entry systems, window tinting, custom dashboards, etc… The goal was to provide the consumer with an experience simply not available at the competition. Now as supply has begun to catch up to demand and according…
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Editorial Correction

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Editorial Correction: On page 34 of the September 2014 issue of Mobile Electronics, one of our writers wrote a comment about Compustar’s lack of contact availability to its customers. Compustar has responded by explaining that direct lines are not available on the website to better help them focus on their vendors and to supply the highest level of customer service. We apologize for the error and will do our best to avoid such wording in future issues. In response, the company submitted a statement regarding its support for vendors: “Compustar has launched an easy-to-use support terminal at support.compustar.com that gears towards answering the most basic and most advanced questions regarding our products. The support terminal also features a ticketing system that allows us to receive customer inquiries, even outside of office hours.  Our toll-free number is (888) 820-3690 and is primarily reserved to supporting our retail and distribution partners. We pride ourselves on providing excellent installer support, and are more than willing to walk our installers through even the most complicated install jobs.  Dealers who are interested in learning more about Compustar can call us at our Toll-Free number or e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about joining our…
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During a recent gathering of some industry types, which I felt lucky to attend, someone brought up the idea of specialty retailers.  The context was, what specialty retailers and suppliers expect from each other.  I thought it might be informative to learn how some of these folks defined “specialty retail”.  The answers were what one might expect…  Independently owned.  Brick & mortar.  Smaller shops.  Know products and services well.  More personal relationship with consumer.  Etc…  Someone even took offense at the question suggesting it was disingenuous because “we all generally know what a specialty retailer is”. Yeah well…  I don’t think any of the responses to the question were incorrect.  Indeed many specialty retailers exhibit many of the “definition points” identified by the members of this group.  That said I feel it might be useful for suppliers and retailers who seek to engage in business with each other to have a clear and predictable set of expectations about what a specialty retailer is.  This is especially true when these two parties are building business plans that include each other’s products and services. Just for fun; Wall Street considers Best Buy, Big 5 Sporting Goods and Fry’s Electronics to be specialty…
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Mobile electronics manufacturers succeed or fail based upon their understanding of the market as well as the quality of their retailer relationships, and here is where all manufacturers can improve their game. Just when you think you have a handle on what it takes to succeed, a more careful examination proves that you have much to learn.  I gained a lot of insight after reviewing and judging the Top 12 retailers in this year’s Retailer of the Year (ROTY) Award. In no particular order, I will share with you five lessons that every manufacturer should learn and understand from the Top 12: 1. The best retailers don’t rely on gimmicks to grow their business The Top 12 retailers all had very straightforward approaches to earning the business of their customers, starting with an honest assessment of what products and services are offered and how each retailer possesses true differentiation from other retailers.  No “fake deals,” and few, if any, giveaways.  Manufacturers need to collaborate better with their best dealers and understand that broad-based, one-size-fits-all promotions will not necessarily work with specialist retailers.  Having a flexible, customized approach will earn more of the specialists’ business.  2. The best retailers have commanded…
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