Monday, December 7, 2009

Audio Manufacturers: The internet is not the enemy, bad retailers are.

Let me present you with a scenario:

Audio store A receives a phone call from a potential buyer. The Buyer was doing some online research on an amplifier, and ran across the store's web site. Since the Buyer had no local dealer, the salesperson took the order, and everyone was happy.

Scenario 2:

Audio store B receives a phone call from a potential buyer. The Buyer was doing some online research on an amplifier, and ran across the store's web site. Since the Buyer had no local dealer, the salesperson took the order, and everyone was happy.

What is the difference between these two scenarios?

The difference was audio store B had a web site that was "eCommerce enabled", and the other had a web site that was not. Both dealers had showrooms, both played by the rules, both made sales.

In 2009, there are still audio equipment manufacturers that won't even consider offering a dealership to a retailer who's web site happens to allow online purchases. Even if the online purchase option can be removed from the manufacturer's product pages. The very word eCommerce has them putting their fingers in their ears and screaming "la la la la, I can't hear you..."

It is an irrational, illogical fear. Manufacturers Read this: The internet is not the enemy, bad dealers are.

It is your job as a manufacturer to set forth rules, territories and guidelines. Things like no advertised discounting, no "buy it now" buttons, no ebay stores, etc. if that is how you want to represent your brand. Any good dealer, eCommerce enabled or not, will respect your rules.

Once again the audio industry handicaps itself, keeping tech savvy internet users from discovering their product. Limiting themselves to a shrinking market of aging audiophiles, wondering why revenues are shrinking, and blaming everything but themselves. Lame.

/rant

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