How consumer electronic retailers & manufacturers can stand out in this hyper-competitive marketplace.
The consumer electronics market has changed drastically over the last few years. Consider, yesterday’s hot items like GoPro cameras, smartphones, and iPods are today’s everyday products. Kindles and tablets are routinely given as gifts – to children. Not to mention, consumers are shopping the electronics market in completely new ways. As a result, retailers and manufacturers have had to up their game in order to compete and win their share of the audience.
To win greater sales begins with understanding the customer. Studies have shown that it takes consumers weeks, even months, to make a consumer electronics purchase. Since many of the products are big ticket items, consumers spend a significant amount of time doing research, checking online reviews, and maybe even going into stores to see it in person. By the time they are ready to make a purchase, they know exactly what they want. What’s left to decide is where to buy it.
If you’re like us, there’s a good chance you’ve gone into a store to test a product, only to head to Amazon shortly after to make the purchase. And we’re not alone. In recent years, the consumer electronics category has become the largest online shopping category in the United States, accounting for 21% of total online sales according to market research firm Euromonitor. Though this obviously benefits online retailers like Amazon, the zero-sum nature of shopping means buying online costs traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Best Buy, h.h. gregg, Inc., and even Sears.
In order to survive during these times, brick-and-mortar retailers have had to rethink their business models and marketing efforts. Some have changed their focus to building their own online business. Others have partnered with key suppliers to offer a store-within-a-store, like the “Samsung experience shops” at Best Buy. And pretty much all retailers have taken steps to improve the in-store experience by making it easier for consumers to navigate their stores and enhance their merchandising and marketing – all in an effort to drive more robust store traffic.
This change in the industry has had a major impact on manufacturers as well. Manufacturers need to be more cautious about the products they go to market with, knowing that retailers are being more selective and savvy when it comes to their purchases. Brands today need to communicate key differentiators through their marketing efforts, while creating compelling merchandising messages and displays.
Here are a few suggestions we would offer to retailers and manufacturers looking to stand out through their consumer electronics marketing within this overcrowded marketplace:
The biggest advantage brick-and-mortar stores have over online retailers is the experience. When you shop, you have the chance to touch, feel, and experience the product. Retailers and brands should seek any and all opportunities to get their products in the customer’s hands. It’s a lot harder to head online when your hands are full.
If you want to see how well incentives work, look no further than Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Each has become a holiday unto itself, and it’s for the simple reason that shoppers love getting a deal. Try implementing promotions such as “Online October” where certain items are price discounted to match major online retailers. You can also offer consumer discounts for shopping in-store vs. online, or exclusive coupons. Though some retailers are doing this, making it a regular occurrence will condition your customers to not consider online shopping immediately.
Brands need to take more chances. Walk the aisle of any major electronics store and you’re hit by product after product, each with their own small info card. The studies show consumers do the research. What they don’t show is how you get someone to research your product in the first place. A disruptive, attention-grabbing display is your first chance to make an impression. Be bold. Remember, you’re competing against not only other brands, but time as well. You need to make this sale while your product is still hot.
Build a Lasting Brand
Apple has created many products that have failed or become obsolete within months of their release. Yet, Apple maintains market share because people love and believe in the Apple brand. When people love your brand, they’re far more likely to believe in the products you release and will look for your products first. Yes, this is not an easy thing to achieve but is essential if you’re looking to make your mark in this marketplace.
Success in the consumer electronics marketing space isn’t easy, nor is it especially lasting. Consumers are fickle folk, prone to changing minds at the drop of one bad online review. Winning customers and keeping customers is a commitment that can seem impossible, but by providing clear and concise reasons why a person should choose your shop or product, you’ll give your brand its best chance at success.