Minneapolis, MN–Communication to group members remains a top priority for the Home Entertainment Source (HES) as independent retailers work through the challenges presented by a volatile flat-panel market.
The A/V specialty division of Brandsource recently conducted its board of directors meeting in Minneapolis, where its seven-member board including group president Bob Cole met with group GM Jim Ristow and his staff of five regional managers, worked to review and analyze its business plan and long-term goals.
While many of the market assumptions initially established remain true, there is no doubt that the market has become more dynamic and volatile than expected,” Ristow said. “Outside of Best Buy and the independent retailer, many are struggling to remain profitable in CE.”
Ristow added that many of the business models in the vendor community have changed dramatically over the past two years with many video manufacturers de-emphasizing a direct relationship with the smaller independent retailer.
“This is where HES has been able to carve out a unique niche as the best alternative to a ‘National Retailer’ to the vendor community,” Ristow added. “No other group is in a position to forecast out their business, write the purchase order, offer one billing account, and three ship-to locations. This not only allows us to efficiently plan out our scheduled business but also puts us in a position where we can take advantage of spot buys, putting our members in a position of strength in their local markets. This positioning allows them to effectively compete against other independents and national retailers.”
In recent times the video industry has gone from an allocation position to an over inventory situation. With new suppliers entering the market, a surplus of inventory, manufacturers cutting price, and flat-screen technologies battling against each other, the biggest challenge independent retailers/integrators face today is knowing which technology, brands and models to focus on. That is why the group-to-member relationship has morphed into a consultative role. Because of this HES will continue to improve communication to members by utilizing its five regional managers to conduct in-field visits. This face-to-face interaction provides HES with an opportunity to further demonstrate the value of their group. Ristow estimates that HES regional managers have conducted over 250 store visits since last summer and plan to surpass that number for calendar 2007.
In-field visits not only offer HES the opportunity to deliver its message, but also gives the members a voice so that group executives and suppliers better understand their needs. It is through this understanding that Home Entertainment Source continues to improve the products and services available to their membership.
To learn more about HES membership, please contact Home Entertainment Sources corporate office at 714.502.9620.