Mom-and-pop music retailers in brick-and-mortar stores face an extremely difficult business environment, as the major national music chains and online powerhouses devour ever-larger slices of the music business pie.

Two oft-overlooked categories of equipment could give brick-and-mortar music retailers a significant sales and profit boost: DJ equipment and lighting. In any setting in which music is provided—family parties, business meetings, clubs and restaurants, etc.—the music is just as likely to be delivered via a DJ as via a live band. Music retailers should not turn their backs on what could be a major portion of their overall business.

“Music” and “DJ equipment and lighting” are really just different sides of the same coin. It’s all about equipment and performance, whether done professionally for a crowd, at a party with friends and family, or even alone and just for fun. Whether it’s DJ and lighting gear or traditional musical instruments, it’s all about skill, practice, enjoyment and technique. The same attractiveness and attributes that apply to music gear also apply to DJ equipment and lighting. You already know this customer.

A valuable subset of the lighting category for retailers to consider centers on PA/DJ speakers with built-in DJ lighting. DJs and musicians need speakers anyway, and music retailers already stock and sell conventional speakers. They should also stock and demonstrate speakers that have built-in DJ lighting, catering to those situations and customers for whom separate equipment and purchases don’t make sense, either from a space/setup standpoint or from a cost perspective.

Only at a brick-and-mortar retailer can a customer actually try, see and hear the instruments and equipment. Does the piece have the right features and performance? Does it “feel” good? A good retail salesperson can teach the customer how to use the equipment, what the “hidden features” are and what the tricks to getting the most out of the piece are. Only an in-person retailer can do that, while also conveying the excitement and specialness that accompanies this kind of gear.

Yes, it’s a far more competitive landscape right now, and “showrooming” is a constant threat to brick-and-mortar retailers. However, training seminars for customers, special package deals, after-the-sale support and trade-up allowances (especially special promotions for customers who had previously purchased online), if used wisely, can easily put the brick-and-mortar retailer in an advantageous, and highly profitable, position.

Paul Buckley is Director of Marketing at inMusic Brands

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