Matt Daly, head of brands at Eurosimm Distribution, offered his thoughts on the rise of wearables, how having 50 Cent on a product boosts sales and more in our interview.
The company is the exclusive distributor of the Fifty Cent branded range of SMS Audio headphones. SMS Audio also recently launched its first BioSport fitness wearable headphones in conjunction with Intel and are preparing for the release of the next generation of Star Wars headphones created in partnership with Lucasfilm.
PCR: How is business in 2015 so far?
Matt Daly: Eurosimm is growing, in every conceivable way. We’re in healthy fiscal shape with turnover increasing each year and we’ve invested in our team with larger, bespoke offices.
We are not just excited by the size of the market, but also by the shape it’s taking. Bigger is no longer always better for brands, especially when it comes to retail. Eurosimm’s boutique strategy and high-value approach is having very exciting results.
Concerning 50 Cent’s SMS Audio headphones, what difference does having a name like his on a brand actually make to sales?
50 Cent is a huge strength for us but SMS Audio’s products are great as well and so the challenge for us is to use both these assets to our fullest advantage.
We want to build up the SMS Audio brand around the product, and when people try out the headphones they see that SMS Audio is serious about sound quality.
A great example of this is the success we are seeing with the BioSport headphones, these headphones are exciting, they are at the front of a wave of wearable technology that augments our lives and trying to mix that message with 50 Cent’s name can be confusing, so we let the headphones do the talking.
How do you think they will compare to the success of Dr Dre’s Beats headphones?
Beats has validated the premium headphone market and we are big admirers of what they are doing. But as you can see from our work on BioSport we have also got more of a heritage when it comes to innovation.
SMS Audio is already a massive force in the US headphone market and we are seeing a lot of interest in the new heart-rate sensing BioSport earphone, which is pushing the envelope of what we expect headphones to be able to do.
SMS Audio also focuses on superlative sound quality. SMS stands for ‘Studio Mastered Sound’ and the brand’s sound signature profile has been engineered with input from Timbaland to make any genre of music - from rock to RnB to classical - sound as good as it did when it was recorded.
When are the new edition of the Star Wars SMS headphones coming out, and what are your sales expectations for them?
We are really excited to be distributing the second edition Star Wars headphones in Q2 this year.
The first edition Star Wars headphones were a run-away success, the projects for the first quarter sold out in two days. With new Star Wars films on the horizon we are quietly confident there are a lot of Star Wars fans out there who are looking for a pair of headphones that advertise their passion.
What product categories are selling better than others this year?
Naturally, education becomes more tech focused every year and it’s been fascinating working with teachers to find and develop a portfolio for young minds (as part of our work with ProWise).
Often that means getting back to basics whether that’s in practical and ergonomic terms or in coding and language skills.
We love finding new products that have that ‘Wow, I can’t believe we hadn’t thought of this before’ factor with quality sewn in.
On the opposite side of the scale are the brands pushing the envelope when it comes to advanced innovation and SMS Audio definitely falls into this category.
Sport wearables have ventured far beyond the old adage of ‘boys and their toys’. This is serious computing meets trend-defining fashion. It’s enough to get anyone’s heart racing.
Why do you think that is?
At Eurosimm we can see two main reasons for the rise of the wearable. The first is that personal health stats are just that - personal. From heart rates to pedometers, people don’t have to wait for an appointment or invest in a personal trainer to get important information about their own well-being.
We can take control, we can create work-out plans, we can challenge ourselves and we can monitor our own successes.
The second is sport. Until recently performance monitoring that helps make your technique sharper and your game better has been the domain of the professional athlete.
But now this data is available to the amateur athlete by wearing a wristband or a certain set of headphones. SMS Audio is making the devices that give athletes a level playing field.
Which companies that you work with are performing well at the moment?
Obviously SMS Audio is up there along with our Multi Touch Screens from Prowise and Tryten Computer and Laptop Security. Three very different products with three very different journeys; Tryten has been a world leader for more than twenty years now whereas Prowise is a relatively new brand.
That’s why a one-size-fits-all approach to distribution is a seriously outdated model that offers no additional value. Expert industry knowledge is what counts.
Have you noticed any changes in the tech industry recently, if so what has changed and why do you think that is?
The tech market is moving away from ‘price and positioning’ to ‘pedigree’. The reviewer is king and vendor-centric marketing that helps end-users form a positive opinion of the product is much more powerful than a low-cost sticker.
At Eurosimm we use this as our philosophy for choosing our own portfolio – if it doesn’t provoke us on an intellectual level, if it doesn’t compliment our existing brands, if we can’t contribute to the brand journey then it doesn’t get in. Period.
What partnerships do you have in the pipeline at the moment?
Eurosimm’s method of boutique distribution is starting to gain us a good reputation with companies looking to build a brand in the UK. We are currently developing some of these opportunities within our retail and education sectors.
Are there any other companies that you would like to work with in particular?
Absolutely. We see lots of value within content and curriculum-aligned products within our education product range – these products can really maximize the impact of new technologies in education.
Retail in 2015 is proving to be all about wearables. We are talking to some incredibly exciting and innovative partners that complement the current SMS Audio/Intel BioSport product range.
How has the rise of e-commerce and m-commerce affected your business?
E&M commerce have enabled us to play to our strengths in offering added value and end-to-end service to our partners.
The ability to bring a product to market quickly with an aligned marketing drive really helps us develop a brand’s consumer image in a sure-footed and controlled way without sacrificing any speed in terms of distribution.
Do you have any predictions for your business and for the tech industry in the coming year?
We have some really interesting partnerships in the pipeline for SMS Audio that will be tied to key trends and franchises.
Planning is already underway on some very interesting and out of the box events to help the SMS brand cut through the noise – pun intended.