i3 - November/December 2018 - 59

Business

show consumers the differences they can
step themselves up to a better-quality TV. It is
hard to see the differences between a $399
55-inch TV and a $1599 model online.
Maloney: Our sales associates are very
knowledgeable. We provide them with
intensive training three or four times a year on
technology and product features. We explain
to our customers why the same size TV is $499
versus $1499. And we can match pricing from
Best Buy and Walmart as well as provide quick
delivery and installation. Online retailers can't
match us based on service. We also do a lot
of local advertising, internet ads and TV in our
markets on a consistent basis.
Stinson: The big difference is services. Mass
merchants focus on selection and price. We
focus on quality-curated products, services
and system design. We tend to focus [on
customers] who are getting into a project and
will have labor attached to it. That is usually
a higher-ticket sale involving products at the
top end of a manufacturer's line. Our customers appreciate getting the right product.
While we take for granted the differences
between OLED versus QLED or 4K versus
non-4K TV, consumers struggle with it, versus
our career installers and salespeople who live
and breathe the technology.

Q Industry executive Joe Clayton once said
if a retailer understands the price, volume,
mix and the consumers' wants and needs,
you can pretty much give them what they
want. Is that still true?
Willis: There is no question that qualifying the
customer today is more important than ever,
to find out what they want and need. We have
to help determine what their expectations are.
A vast majority of consumers who are disappointed with their electronics don't realize what
they were buying. We need to help consumers make the right decision for their needs.
Consumers are wary of making an incorrect
decision, so sometimes they'll make no decision. You need to be involved in a conversation
to find out what they expect and need.
Maloney: A lot of our customers want a faceto-face meeting for our sales associates to show
the differences between the technologies we
sell. Millennials like to go to brick-and-mortar
stores to see what they like and then order
online. The ironic thing is sometimes millennials buy online and try to ask us to exchange
what they bought [from an online retailer] for
something we have in our store. That happens
more than you would think. Our big thing is that
we can guarantee prices [on electronics] with
C TA . t e c h / i 3

There is no question
that qualifying the
customer today is
more important than
ever, to find out what
they want and need.

Ben Willis, executive merchandiser of
Queen City Audio Video Appliances

Walmart and Best Buy. And most importantly, if a
customer is in our store we can describe the features of the product, tell the story and explain it.
Stinson: If consumers want a less complex
item they will go online. But when consumers
go to brick-and-mortar they go because they
are confused and afraid to make the wrong
choice. Salespersons must guide confused
consumers. Sometimes they can make an
incorrect decision online. That's why manufacturers still need strong brick-and-mortar
distribution, as well as online. For many
customers this is a complex decision and
there is a lot of value for them to speak to an
expert. As for our online sales, we work closely
with higher-end brands that need to be online
but do not want to undercut [pricing] for their
brick-and-mortar distribution. We want a
healthy ecosystem, we want to perpetuate it
and are very concerned about it.

Q How do privately-held retailers and installers contribute to their communities?

Willis: Many studies indicate that plenty of

If consumers want
a less complex item
they will go online.
But when consumers
go to brick-and-mortar they go because
they are confused
and afraid to make
the wrong choice.

Walt Stinson, CT Hall of Famer
and co-founder of ListenUp

dollars go back into local communities from
independent retailers. We think of ourselves
as a retailer with a conscience. We provide
technology like TVs for local [charity] events.
And we try to contribute to our local communities and hire locally, especially since we
opened two stores in the past year.
Maloney: We do as much as we can to make
local charitable contributions, be involved
with the local Chambers of Commerce and get
involved in city programs where our stores are
located. Cowboy Maloney is built on relationships. When it comes to recruiting and hiring, if
we see a sales associate that shows real potential, we give them extra training and responsibility to make sure they grow and continue to be
better than the people down the street.
Stinson: We have a great story based on
our success in the industry and community
involvement. One of our vendors gave us a
"career builder" award for training people
who have left us yet remain in the industry
in key positions. Our company policy supports non-profits in the performing arts for
the public to get involved to experience
better sound in live music performances
and support local musicians. We provide
sound, video and overall tech support. It is
important for local companies like ours to
remain healthy to provide good jobs and
tax bases for the communities we serve.

Steve Smith was the former editor-in-chief
of TWICE.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018

59


https://www.cta.tech/

i3 - November/December 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - November/December 2018

Contents
i3 - November/December 2018 - Cover1
i3 - November/December 2018 - Cover2
i3 - November/December 2018 - Contents
i3 - November/December 2018 - 2
i3 - November/December 2018 - 3
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