Tech Distributors Prep For 5G Evolution & Reflect On Circuit City

Another tool in the retail toolbox

Few would argue that distributors are the lifeblood of the consumer tech industry. Just as red blood cells carry life-giving oxygen throughout the body, distributors bring revenue-driving products from manufacturers to dealers across the country.

And the same way white blood cells keep us healthy by fending off invaders, distributors help keep retailers competitive with how-to seminars, product trainings and virtual assortments for their websites.

Given their special role as the bridge between vendor and dealer, they are in a unique position to experience the latest and greatest products and technologies, while understanding the needs and challenges of the merchants that will ultimately sell them at retail.

To tap into those insights, TWICE reached out to some of the industry’s leading distribution lights. Our mission: to get their take on 5G, and how best to prepare their retail customers for the coming mobile evolution, if not revolution.

And while we were on the subject of retail (and hearkening back to the life-blood analogy), we inquired into the health and well-being of their brick-and-mortar clients, now that 10 years have passed since Circuit City’s demise. Their thoughtful reflections follow.

Dennis Holzer, PowerHouse Alliance: 5G will begin coming to market shortly. Manufacturers have been and continue to be in the development process of a whole generation of new A/V and consumer electronics products that dealers, integrators, and technicians will need to be educated on and prepare for.

5G is expected to be around 200 times as fast as the current 4G standard, and the most interesting improvement over 4G is the speed, significant depth and clarity of images. I anticipate that 5G’s increased speed, bandwidth, and clarity are all factors that will cause a major shift and increase in how we use mobile devices to connect and communicate with the IoT, and our day-to-day electronics.

Though the market has changed, brick-and-mortar continues to be an important component along with the integrators of our business. Today, all dealers know they cannot just open the doors in the morning and expect customers to be lined up waiting to enter. Instead, they’re adapting and catering to today’s online and ultimately impatient customers.

At the distributor level, our members are meeting integrator and dealer needs by in stock will call, same- and next-day shipping as well as extended pick-up and will-call hours. Aside from supporting inventory, our 39 locations are also used for hosting manufacturer events and demo days, sit-down design services for dealers, and our award-winning training programs that provide local dealers with ongoing education on all things A/V, consumer electronics, security, networking, automation and commercial applications and installation.

There are other creative ways to ensure dealers are engaging with their customers, such as the do-it-for-me (DIFM) approach. Communicating regularly with their existing customer base for check-ins and to let them know about new technologies they can add to their existing system, are another way that dealers can get repeat revenue from past existing business. System upgrades are an excellent way for dealers to maintain customer relationships, take advantage of repeat business, and encourage customers to walk through their doors.