Independent Installers Beating Big Box on Tech Support?
A study released by NPD reveals an interesting perspective on service and how consumers react to the big box offerings.
According to NPD, "Consumer technology products are becoming more advanced and more integrated than ever before, leading to a growing demand for services. But new information shows many consumers are opting to bypass retailers and purchase services from independent installers or manufacturers."
While the big box consumer technology retailers may be the first stop for consumers' initial purchases, the door closed when it came to various support options being offered by the big boxes. Installation is one area where consumers opted for someone other than the big box. Fifty-two percent of consumers who said they purchased installation services for their desktop computer in the past years did so from either an independent installer or directly from the manufacturer. Only 27 percent purchased the installation service from the big box retailers.
Big box retailers edged independent installers for flat panel TV installations, but the independent installers took their fair of the share of home theater installations, which is a far more lucrative market. Twenty-three percent of consumers surveyed who required tech support for their consumer technology products in the past year received it through local or independent shops. Even though the big box retailers have done a lot of promotion for their in-store tech support, only 12 percent of consumers surveyed said they had used those resources.
"Tech support and installation are solid ways to build customer service, branding and revenue," said Stephen Baker, vice president, industry analysis, The NPD Group. "The big guys are spending bucks to try and capture service dollars, but consumers remain unconvinced that bigger is better. In many cases they prefer the comfort and personal service that the locally based service providers offer."
One area that the big box retailers have captured is extended warranties, they have found a way to leverage their sales strength across major CE products including TVs, DVD players, digital cameras, to drive increased warranty sales better than any other channel.
As our electronic life becomes more complicated, research has shown over and over again consumers are willing to pay the tech guys to keep all the shiny gizmos humming happily. This is good news for the independents as well as the shrinking number of mom and pop stores.
So next time you walk into a big box and some sales associate starts doing their warranty dance tell them you read Audioholics.
My local high end shop charges best buy, circut city & internet direct customers for set up help when the instore people cant help them , im told it plays a large role in the overall income of their installers.