The way consumers buy electronics has undergone a seismic shift in recent years. However, companies in the space are are having some trouble keeping apace with the changes.
With the bankruptcies of brick-and-mortar retailers Radio Shack and H.H. Gregg, and the heavy push by Amazon into its own consumer electronics lines, CE brands are facing a “mass realignment” of their digital sales, says Grant Torres, who recently authored L2 Inc.’s latest Consumer Electronics Report.
“The only [brick-and-mortar] retailer remaining is Best Buy. Amazon is the new giant in this space,” Torres, who is a senior analyst at L2, tells Marketing Daily. “It is imperative that brands have an effective strategy that drives consumers to both online retailers and in-store locations alike. This is particularly important for the CE consumer who demands a seamless shopping experience and access to expert knowledge throughout their entire path to purchase.”
Yet with this mass realignment, some companies are hurting themselves with outdated digital strategies, according to the report. For instance, while more than two-thirds of consumer electronics companies linked from their sites to third-party online sellers (69%), about a fifth of them (18%) create an unnecessary hiccup by linking to a seller’s home page, rather than their specific product page. Not linking directly to their products forces consumers to make another search and potentially exposes them to competitors.
The importance of linking to proper product pages is increasing as more consumer electronics companies move away from direct sales to consumers. According to the report, 13% of consumer electronics brands have removed e-commerce functionality on their brand sites.
“A lot of sites are being less direct-to-consumer focused and more about pushing toward third-party retailers,” Torres says.
Consumer electronics companies might want to think hard about where they sell their products online as well, he says. While Amazon is the top marketplace for online sales, the company heavily promotes its own CE products (television streaming devices, personal assistants/speakers and Fire tablets) on its site, making it hard for others to break through, he says.
“You’re not going to compete with those product if your playing in that space,” Torres says. “Amazon is [also] a hard place to gain visibility because of the broad number of lesser-known [products] that rise to the top based on price.”