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February 03, 2006
iPod Accessories: No Signs of Slowing Down
Interesting story today in the New York Times about the health of the iPod accessory business. That's certainly the view of Larry Mondry, the CEO of CompUSA Stores (a quick aside: this guy evidently likes to own electronics as much as he likes to sell them. Larry's got THIRTEEN TVs in his home--even though he says the only show he habitually watches is 24.).
Anyway, he confirms that the iPod ecosystem is alive and well. He says that out of the jillions of products sold at CompUSA stores, the single biggest selling product, in unit sales, is the iPod FM transmitter. And he says the market is showing all the signs of remaining a major opportunity. "A year ago, people would buy an iPod and leave," he says. "The salesman would have have to say 'did you know you can get a speaker with that?, or whatever? Now, that's all changed. Now, most customers ask, 'which speakers should I buy with this?' We must sell 20 different kinds of speakers."
So what is his view of Apple, the competitor? He admits he had his doubts when Apple decided to begin opening its retail stores in 2001. "Before seeing the stores, I didn?? think a manufacturer could create a great customer experience. But once I saw the first store, it was clear they?? done their homework. They blended the cachet of the brand with the cachet of the products."
Indeed, he does not hone to the view of most retailers, who complain that the stores are stealing sales and shoppers. Rather, he says Apple's products have created so much new demand, that there's enough to go around. "Where they have opened stores, I'd bet they've actually made the market bigger," he says. "I hate admitting that, but it?? probably true."
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Tracked on February 16, 2006 04:00 PM
"They blended the cache of the brand with the cache of the products."
Not to nitpick but shouldn't cache be cachet.
Posted by: sdr309 at February 3, 2006 09:24 PM
That would be "cachet" and not "cache".
Posted by: Frederic Kam-Thong at February 3, 2006 09:47 PM
I have an Apple Store within one mile of my house. I have a CompUSA store within 2 miles.
The Apple Store is indeed beautiful and serves the brand very well.
The CompUSA store is messy, ugly, dirty and the Apple goods (with the exception of the iPod) are jammed into the back corner.
But, I buy my Apple products at CompUSA for two reasons:
1. The Apple employee who works at CompUSA is smart, friendly and very knowledgeable about all the Apple hardware and software.
2. You can inspect the hardware you want to buy BEFORE you actually buy it. Something that you can not do at the Apple Store. For example, my recent purchase of a 23-inch Apple display involved taking it into the repair shop at CompUSA and hooking it up to a Mac and loading my software (MonitorTest) so I could spend 5 minutes checking the Apple display for defects. I found none and bought that display.
Posted by: Dave Barnes at February 6, 2006 10:38 AM