Is Ebuyer on song with its audio push into rival retailers?

PCR asks MD Stuart Carlisle about its new strategy
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Ambitious online retailer Ebuyer.com has big plans in the audio category.

The company launched its own Sond Audio brand earlier this year and has started supplying the Bluetooth speakers to other retailers – including direct rivals such as etailer Amazon and potentially the likes of Argos. But what is its ambition in this space and how could it affect the market?

“We’ve been very happy with the uptake of Sond Audio over the last few months. It has filled a hole in the market for affordable quality audio,” Ebuyer.com MD Stuart Carlisle tells PCR.

“Sond Audio is currently stocked on Amazon at the moment but we are looking to other channels and are in early talk with a few retailers. We wanted to create a product that enables retailers to maximise their margin without having to sell budget or low-grade stock.

“I’m a bit of an audiophile, my background is in music production so I knew there would be a market for the higher quality audio tech if it could get to the retailers at the right price.”

While it’s not the first time Ebuyer has launched its own items (it has own-label cleaning products like screen wipes and air dusters), PCR understands some tech distributors who supply audio goods to UK retailers are upset over the move. With Ebuyer owning the Sond brand, it is theirs to do as they like, even if that means pushing it to other retailers and possibly taking up shelf space that similar products may have filled from audio vendors already established within the market.

The Bluetooth Sond products – including the £39.99 on-ear foldable NFC headphones, £59.99 over-ear headphones, £49.98 portable NFC speaker, £69.99 Soundbar, £69.99 wooden speaker, £99.99 50w speaker and more – are available to purchase now on the Ebuyer.com website

A selection was also on display at the Gadget Show Live consumer event in April, where visitors were able to purchase the products direct from Ebuyer’s stand.

This move marks the first time Ebuyer has sold goods physically over the counter – and could hint at the shape of things to come for the etailer in the future. Carlisle revealed exclusively to PCR in early 2014 that Ebuyer was considering opening its first High Street stores, and the success of its trial at the Gadget Show Live could mean this may happen sooner rather than later.

“The Gadget Show Live was a great success, we had lots of customer interaction and feedback which is something we are always wanting to improve on,” Carlisle added.

“Customers at the Gadget Show Live were also pleased with the design and sound quality [of the Sond products] which is always what we strived for.

“It got pretty hectic over the weekend so it was a great trial for our payment system. Product sales were also very high, which is always a bonus when an online retailer goes to a physical unit. 

“We are still a long way from opening any stores, but for the time being everything is looking very positive and we will continue our trials and tests.”

Ebuyer had a host of vendor partners on its stand at the event, including Nvidia, Optoma, Asus, Acer, Seagate, Crucial and more. A couple of system builders also made an appearance on Ebuyer’s stand including YoYoTech and PC Specialist who were showing off their systems.

Time will tell if and when Ebuyer may open its own High Street stores in the future, but the message is clear. The etailer wants to grow further – and it is doing so on its own terms.

Could it mean Dixons Carphone will have newfound competition on the High Street this time next year? Watch this space.

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