t's hard to believe it's April and we're already one third of the way through the year. It seems like only yesterday we were all talking about the Christmas season and what, if any, affect holiday sales would have on your stores.
That said, it's spring now and the season is off to a good start. This month we are going to focus on the most popular radio control item in hobby stores. There is absolutely no doubt quads are dominating sales. These things are for the most part inexpensive, especially the micros. Provided the quads are flown as intended, they will perform admirably. The entertainment value for the dollar investment is hard to beat and almost everyone who's flown one of these gems has a smile on his face. Amazingly, provided these little devices aren't abused, they'll last much longer than the price would suggest.
Of course it is extremely important dealers offer the potential purchaser instructions on what is proper behavior and what is considered illegal activity. With all of the press, much of it bad, the UAS has brought into the public's eye, the last thing we want is more negativity associated with the hobby industry. Like almost everything imaginable, if done properly, with due restraint and within the guidelines of common sense (not to mention the law), everyone involved will have a good time. As hobby dealers you sell entertainment and distraction. Let's keep it this way, so we can enjoy our pastimes far into the perceivable future.
This year, April also brings with it the most important of all the industry trade shows. The NRHSA Convention and Table-Top Exposition is a must attend for every hobby dealer. Everyone associated with the show has at one time or another talked about the entertainment value of the venue. It's been mentioned repeatedly about the social gatherings and mixing on the casino floor after hours. Oftentimes, we fail to stress the most important aspect. Too many times it's simply been taken for granted that dealers realize the purpose of the show is business.
This is the show where dealers make the contacts that will affect their store's operation for years to come. I realize there are a number of dealers who have grown accustomed to the order by number computer screen, but there is a horrible downside to this practice. For those who are new to the industry, let me stress there is nothing like human contact. The computer might tell you about some volume deal, but it's usually a byline at the end of the order sheet. I personally feel when distributors eliminated the order representative it had a negative impact. And at the other end of the spectrum, if as a distributor you don't feel a pleasant voice explaining pricing and incentives has nothing to do with the amount of product ordered, you need to take a look at your business practices as well.
The NRHSA Show is where you make personal contacts and establish friendships that will last for years. This is an extremely important aspect of your business also. As an example, and even though I don't own a hobby store, during this year's E-Fest, I got a really nice smile and hug from a distributor's employee who was present. The conversation started with, “Gosh we haven't seen each other since last fall, what has been going on, how is everyone?” As mentioned, even though I don't own a hobby store, if you don't think our friendship and this type of human contact, compared to a computer screen, wouldn't have an impact when it was time to place an order for similar products from competing distributors, you are sadly, very sadly, mistaken. HM
Until next month,