Exertis Unlimited’s Glenn McClelland discusses the growth of its audio division and how the sector is set to evolve in the future.
Tell us about your role at Exertis.
I am the commercial director responsible for all Exertis UK consumer audio (CA) brands and own-brand accessory lines. My role is to support these brands in the marketplace and provide services that make it easier for retailers to do business with Exertis and for their consumers to buy audio products. Our aim is to be the one-stop shop for audio category brands and to provide services that differentiate Exertis and add value to our retailers.
How has Exertis’ consumer audio division grown in recent years?
Exertis has always distributed CA brands in the UK but through organic growth and acquisition of companies like Computers Unlimited, Kondor and more recently Jam Industries, we have expanded this category in terms of brands, expertise and global presence. In addition, our Exertis Pro AV Solutions division, recently enhanced by the acquisition of Stampede, also provides audio solutions for the B2B market, with Jam Industries targeting the pro audio production sector.
In the UK, our premium audio collection comprises of 35 market-leading and award-winning brands across every major audio category. We have increased resources with dedicated teams of audio brand managers and sales (both internal and external) – duplicated globally in Exertis’ other countries and subsidiaries.
We now have audio showrooms in our Exertis office in Harlow and our Kondor facility in Christchurch, where our customers can experience and listen to our brands.
Furthermore, we have used the expertise of our teams to design and develop our own brands of attachment accessories (for example, speaker wall mounts and floor stands) that enhance the audio experience for the consumer and provide incremental profit for our retailers. These products are then sold around the world in partnership with multi-national audio companies. We currently enjoy about 21% of the UK market share and about 6% of the world market including all Exertis companies.
What is your team working on at the moment?
We currently offer a growing range of value-added services, alongside our traditional distribution model – in-store category management, merchandising, POS design, PR and social media, data insight and reporting, bundling, website design and hosting, life cycle management, virtual warehousing, customisation, training, digital services, pop-up stores, and finally, finance and credit lease programmes. Our aim is to ensure more of our retailers take advantage of these services to grow their business.
What are the best things about working in tech?
It’s constantly evolving. We love hearing from existing and new audio brands about their product road maps and potential new products. We like the creative environment: new ideas, new unique selling points, new routes to market, new marketing assets, new off-line and online strategies, and even whole new categories of products which consumers don’t yet know they might want to buy! Picking the winners and succeeding is very satisfying. We also share a passion for music with a personal interest in our brands.
What are you hoping to see in the consumer audio market in 2019?
There will be a continuing trend towards wireless products, Bluetooth, multi room and sound bars. The headphone market is still growing and, of course, the great disrupter is voice-enabled speakers and other connected home products. More accessories with a demand for unique lifestyle and higher-end products. Less me-too and more innovative designs.
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