Whether your store carries a full line of DJ products, just a few or none at all, it’s hard to dispute that these products have carved a major indentation in the MI marketplace. Technologies often change more rapidly than some other areas of MI do, so there can be increased excitement exhibited by customers walking into your stores. But with that excitement comes one potential burden: a constant need to learn about the new products. To offer some dealer advice, as well as fill you in on their hottest-selling products, are Alfred Gonzales, national sales manager for American DJ; Roy White, MBT Lighting product manager; Albert Chauvet, CEO of Chauvet Lighting; Neil Altneu, director of sales for Denon DJ; and Frank Luppino, director of sales and marketing for Irradiant. We asked each three questions for our annual DJ update.
1. Have you see an economic recovery in the DJ/Lighting market?
“There definitely is an economic burst in the lighting world,” said Gonzales. “One of the main reasons is because more consumers out there are educated with the LED technology. It has taken a couple of years, but manufactures such as us have put endless time into educating our dealer network as well as the consumers. We have done this at various dealer trade shows and consumer shows like the Mobile Beat Show and DJ Expo. We also did the ADJ on Tour when we visited most major cities and not only educated our dealers, but their customers, as well. In addition, the market has finally accepted the LED par can versus the conventional par can using halogen or sealed beam light bulbs. One of the main reasons is that the LED technology can now produce bright enough LED fixtures that can compare to the conventional pars. Also, with the DJ lighting effects, many new products do not have moving parts or motors. This of course gives you a longer life and a more reliable product. Another reason is that there is more product out there that does not require the use of fog. LED effect fixtures can light up dance floors with unique patterns. The LED par cans, panels and bars can light up all types of venues, from a small event to any type of large event.
As far as the DJ and the gear go, most DJs have seemed also daring to take the technology step by using USB playback programs and devices. They also are choosing to go with playback products that have multi-playback options such as CD, USB and some even have SD cards (all in one unit). They also have converted to the powered speaker world to make set up time more efficient. Whether it is a working DJ or Club DJ, computer software programs have finally crossed over to both worlds of the DJs.”
“Sales are fairly steady, but there is still some reticence about inventory investment, which has affected sales with some retailers,” said White. “Lighting can be a very productive and profitable category for music retailers, especially during this time when everyone is looking for new ways to stand out from the competition.”
“I would say for us the DJ market is still down compared to 2008 but better than in 2009,” said Chauvet. “Bear in mind that 2008 was our best year ever and that in 2009, although business was down, we continued grabbing market share and were not as negatively impacted as some of our competitors. Sales continue the upward trend started at the beginning of this year, but it’s too early to call that a full recovery.”
“I think that the business is still there,” answered Altneu. “It’s just in a new form of configuration. We are seeing a decline in single tabletop player/controllers and mixers and growth in “all-in-one” combinations. The fact that many DJs are migrating to music management software has had a major effect on the traditional player/mixer configuration. The hip manufacturers understand this and have reacted with product planning road maps that are in tune with this change. A manufacturer that has their fingers on the pulse of the market needs will be immune to the economic downturns in the market. Remember, people need to be entertained, especially in bad economic times.”
“The DJ market to me has not seen a recovery yet,” said Luppino. “I believe within the next year we will see that start to trend upward. Lighting in general has seen a steady recovery. Because of new LED technology lighting, there are numerous projects throughout the country that are turning green friendly. We are seeing budgets open up and dollars spent in this category.”
2. What’s your hottest-selling product?
“In lighting, our hottest selling products are effect fixtures such as the Vertigo Tri Led, Revo 4, Aggressor Led and Galaxian 3Dm,” responded Gonzales. “Up lighting or stage fixtures such as our Mega Bar Series, Mega Bar Led, Mega Bar 50RGB, Mega Pixel Led, Mega Panel Led and the Mega Tri Bar. Also, our LED par cans such as the 38B Led Pro, 64B Led Pro and the Propar 56 RGB & CWWW. In audio, our SD players such as the SDJ-2 are very popular. Our all-in-one systems such as the CK-1000MP3. Powered speakers such as the DLS-15P and the XSP-12A are hot sellers.”
“The LEDGIGPACK introduced at Winter NAMM. In fact, we’ve had to triple orders and production on it to keep up with the demand,” answered White. “Success for the LEDGIGPACK led to development of the new LEDGIGPRO (brighter and more feature-packed). It is due to arrive (this month).”
“Our SSDL-3201RGB three-in-one moving wash. Also, our VIVID WASH II and the new three-in-one VIVID WASH III,” said Luppino. “For the DJ market, it’s our LED BAR LDL-RGB-001.”
“DJs are looking for highly mobile, complete and versatile lighting systems and products such as our best-selling Colorstrip or our newer 4Bar and 4Play systems,” Chauvet said. “Such fixtures are the closest to recession-proof products I can think of.”
“By far it’s our DN-S3700 player controller,” said Altneu. “It provided the artist with a very flexible suite of capabilities; retains the performance factor via the active platter, it’s very reasonably priced and is made in Japan which accounts for its high standard in quality and reliability.”
3. Any tips to help MI retailers better sell DJ/Lighting products?
“The best advice I can give to retailers is to display the products any way you can,” said Gonzales. “Obviously, a showroom is the best way to display products. But sometimes you are limited on space. One way with lighting is to use the lighting as a source to highlight musical instruments. Lighting products such as our 38B Led Pro and our Profile Panel RGB are the perfect products to use for this purpose. The rich and saturated colors with LEDs will not only light up your musical instruments, but, at the same time, will give lighting more exposure throughout a retail store. Another tip is to make sure you are stocking the top sellers. These are the products we heavily market to drive consumers into our dealer network of retailers. This type of product is an impulse purchase and, if you have it on display and in stock, the sale is a closed deal.”
“Due to the highly technical nature of new products hitting the market, it’s well advised to have dealers’ salespeople well versed on all the capabilities of these new high-tech products being offered by manufacturers today,” said Altneu. “Dealers should ask manufacturers for additional sales training on new products that they decide to bring to market. Most manufacturers will jump at the chance to provide this service either on an individual basis or a full-blown clinic promoting the dealer and the products to the end users.”
“Lighting is visual,” said Chauvet. “Retailers should do their best to have a showroom, no matter how small, that is well maintained. They should display their products properly in the color boxes we provide and not in the outer brown box they come in. There is a direct correlation between our best-selling distributors and the right presentation of products on the sales floor. There is also a strong correlation between success and a knowledgeable staff. Lighting is technical, so you need to have a knowledgeable sales staff to guide the client. Dealers should seize every opportunity from manufacturers such as Chauvet to train their staff in lighting.”
“This may sound obvious, but many retailers don’t do it,” said White. “Take the lighting products out of their boxes and display them just like you would a guitar or drum set. Dealers that have lights on and operating (or at least ready to demo with the push of a switch) are much more likely to turn that inventory quicker than ones who have boxes stacked against a wall. Use lighting products to highlight other items in the store. You know that lime-green drum set that’s been sitting in the show room for six months? Put a stand with flashing par cans next to it, shining on it, and watch that kit roll out the door. The lights make it special! Lighting also offers rental possibilities for churches, schools and bands. Rentals quickly pay for the equipment and often lead to sales, as well.”
“The day of stocking every item from every manufacturer is over,” Luppino said. “Pick core items from suppliers to keep on the shelf. Have one of every popular piece on display from suppliers that have ample stock to fill your orders. We are happy to be well stocked on a majority of our products to meet this business model for our dealers.”
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