i3 - May/June 2020 - 38

Business

By Steve Smith

T
REC
E TA
HI P
LO
ST
L IRCY
AT EG I E S

ProSource Adapting
to New Realities

D

ProSource, a group with retail sales of
businesses on a shoestring." He adds,
more than $5.5 billion and roughly 600
"While there may be short-term pain,
specialty consumer technology dealers,
you will eventually see a level of consolicustom retailers and integrators, is as
dation that will be positive for more
well-positioned as any to adapt to the sit- established [integrators] like ours."
uation. "With something as fast-moving
When asked about product shortages
and quick-changing as this, we're as preand supply chain problems, Workman
pared as we can be," Workman says of his
says, "There have been spot shortages,
members. "Our dealers are well-estabnot wholesale shortages. We have
lished businesses. They build reservoirs
advised members that there will be
[of resources] to weather things like this." some and to work around it." He
ProSource's four leading
explains that prior to
categories in dollar volume
Chinese New Year, manare: TV/video, audio, cusufacturers in China
tom integration, and lightstockpile components for
ing and shade products.
finished products to keep
Workman says, "There is
things moving. "If a
an argument to be made
receiver is assembled in
that our products do betMalaysia, let's say, some
ter when people cocoon.
come from
While there may components
You can point to online
China, there will be a
be short-term hiccup regardless of
sales which has become a
pain, you will
staple for many ProSource
where it is made. It will
retailers that will be a pos- eventually see a have an effect."
itive. Depending upon
level of consolilocal restrictions, retailers
dation that will New Opportunities
will have to watch floor
audio may become
be positive for Hi-res
traffic in stores and see
a bigger part of the
more estabwhat happens."
group's business. On the
lished [integra- content side, he says,
As for ProSource custom integrators, he says,
tors] like ours. "Consolidation is occur"Those clients are mostly
ring. Hi-res is relevant in
Dave Workman, president
and CEO of ProSource
going to freeze committhe way people consume
ments on large projects
content, which is streamuntil they get more direcing. When you see
tion" from the markets. He believes a
Amazon with 150 million subscribers
slowdown on the custom integrator
making streaming available at such an
business will "take out the weakest,
inexpensive price it pushes the opportuworst capitalized startups that run their
nity so we can tell the story. If we do a
38

MAY/JUNE 2020

i3_0520_Business_RetailStrategies.indd 38

multiroom audio system, you should
have hi-res audio and we have the
brands to provide it to you."
Virtual Reality (VR) is a new asset for
ProSource members. Workman says,
"We are not so much selling it, as using
services like Modus, which has a VR
showroom which was at our show. You
can do a walk-through and create a virtual home setting and [consumers can]
picture what it will look like as customers and integrators design a system.
"Lightning For You," Workman says,
"Is a remote diagnostic company and is
the coolest thing. You have a technician
in a home that you can actually see what
they see using a tablet. It's amazing. It's
a subscription-based product that allows
you to centrally manage technicians and
help them out of a jam. It got a big
response from our members."
VR products that enable custom
integrators to demonstrate to consumers what their installations will look
like and being able to demonstrate and
sell profitable AV and smart products
at retail are a big focus. "There are
many places where consumers can
make transactions, but few places
where you can create a unique experience for the consumer like our members can," adds Workman.

Nil Image/Getty Images

ave Workman, president and CEO of the
ProSource buying group, has navigated
through his share of economic downturns, but never one like COVID-19. He says,
"We have a disruption of the normal flow of life."

I T I S I N N O VAT I O N

5/7/20 11:26 AM



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