Small Business Saturday – Benefits For Your Business All Year Long

Small Business Saturday

The biggest weekend in retail starts on Black Friday, but one of the most important days for our customers is Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 to encourage consumers to shop small and local. Oftentimes, consumers are going to big-box retailers and e-commerce stores on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get significant deals on products they’re looking for.


Did you know that 84% of consumers who are aware of Small Business Saturday said the day makes them want to shop small and local all year long, not just during the holiday season? (2017 SBS Consumer Insights Survey)


Your biggest asset as a small business is that you’re part of the local community. You can build relationships and become a trusted source for your customers. In addition, you have the ability to provide personalized, hands-on customer service.

What are the benefits for your business?

  • Promotes your business as the local expert in your industry
  • “Shop Small” branding leverages the promotion of your business
  • Increases selling opportunities
  • Builds partnerships and relationships with other local businesses

Related: Small Business Saturday – Be The Expert


What resources are there to promote your business on Small Business Saturday?

American Express originally created Small Business Saturday, and they have a lot of free marketing materials and tools you can utilize (even if you don’t accept AMEX at your business). Check out their Shop Small Studio for more.

How to promote your business on Small Business Saturday

  • Distribute flyers to customers in your store
  • Utilize the AMEX social media content and take/post fun pictures of your staff/business promoting the event
  • Hang Small Business/Shop Local signage throughout your store
  • Consider inviting other local businesses to participate to turn it into a bigger community event that you can all promote
  • Add Small Business/Shop Local badges and logos to your website, emails, and other marketing materials
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The Benefits of Selling Smart Home Products

The market for smart home products is growing rapidly, and now researchers are looking at trends in that market to determine buying patterns and growth potential. In a recent article, Brad Russell, Parks Associates research director, connected homes, stated, “The buyer journey for smart home households is important to study and understand, as we see one purchase frequently leading to a second and third, with householders acquiring devices incrementally rather than all at once.”

For many households, smart thermostats are the starting point that lead to the purchase of more smart home technology. According to the research firm, only 16% of these thermostats are purchased through HVAC dealers, which means there’s a lot of opportunity for home technology retailers to provide these products to consumers. “For smart thermostats, a household that buys this device frequently moves on to a smart speaker with a personal assistant as their second or third smart home purchase,” said Brad Russell. Nearly half of smart thermostats bought in 2017 were upgrades to older models as well, so not only does a smart thermostat sale mean a potential future smart home product purchase, but that they’re also likely to upgrade their current technology too.

Smart thermostats are operating as the gateway to more smart home device purchases, and the industry is reaching the point of crossing over from early adopter consumers to early majority consumers. With 26% of U.S. broadband households owning at least one smart home device, there is a lot of room for home technology retailers to jump in and grow with the smart home technology market growth.

By filling your customers’ needs with convenient and efficient smart home technology, you can become a trusted smart home device expert your customers choose to rely on.

Smart home products provide a growing product segment and customers that are likely to become repeat business.

Social Media 101: What Retailers Need To Know

Between all the hustle and bustle of your everyday business, it’s hard to find all the time you need to dedicate to marketing your business. With social media, it became a bit easier to build a rapport with your customers and market the great work you do…but where do you even begin?

Step 1: Determine which social media platforms make sense for your audience.

What are your customers looking for? Showing photos of the work you’ve done (especially before & after photos) can help show the credibility of your business, but it’s also important to provide value to your customers/followers. Are they looking for information about what makes one window tint better than another? Are they trying to compare two smart thermostats to determine the best option for their home?

Social media platforms have different purposes – Instagram is a great option for sharing quality photos of the work you do. You can also share photos on Facebook, along with other content you create and/or share – such as an article relevant to your industry. Twitter is great for sharing industry/business news and interacting with vendors and customers. Although many platforms can overlap in purpose, it’s important to have a presence on the platforms that are relevant to your customers so they have a way to reach out to or learn more about you.

Step 2: Create an account on each social media platform you chose in Step 1.

Facebook pages

For Facebook, you’ll need to create a business page from your own personal profile. You’ll manage the business page from your personal Facebook account. For the majority of other platforms, you’ll create a profile under the name of your business. Use your logo as the page/profile picture (you can find exact dimensions for each platform with a quick google search), and customize your page/profile with information about your business. The more info you can provide the better.

Step 3: Create a plan for what you’ll share and how often you’ll share on each platform.

This can be something you plan a week at a time or a month in advance, but having some kind of plan or calendar in place will help keep you on track so you don’t forget about keeping social media up-to-date. This also helps keep it manageable so it isn’t stressful or overwhelming. Set time aside regularly to brainstorm new ideas for posts (blog topics, photos to capture, graphics, ways to get people to interact, etc).

Step 4: Monitor your social media accounts regularly for comments, messages, reviews, & more.

Social media has become a common way for customers to get in touch with businesses, whether it be questions they have, business feedback, or something else entirely. Social media is more personal, so it does help build a rapport with your customers, but it’s also good to have the reputation for being easy to get in touch with, and that includes monitoring your social media accounts for messages/comments/etc.

Step 5: Encourage customers to follow your business on social media and/or leave reviews.

Social Media Follow UsIn order for your posts to even be seen, people need to be following your accounts. Oftentimes, your customers won’t think to follow your business. It’s up to you to put the idea in their head and cultivate a following. Put up signage that includes “Follow us on social media” with account information and mention it to the customers you speak with. There are many ways to encourage a person to follow and interact on social media, including giveaways and games. Once you have a handle on regular posting, consider innovative ways to get your customers involved on your pages. These days, it’s unusual not to have a business page/account, so it takes some effort to stand out amongst the rest.

A few notes to remember…

  • Social media is more casual – have fun with it! It’s a way to show off the personality of the business, but remember it does affect your reputation.
  • Don’t be afraid of social media. Negative comments/feedback don’t have to be seen as negative – it’s a time for you to show your professionalism and ability to handle a problem when someone isn’t happy (don’t ignore the problem!).
  • Think before you post. Consider how someone viewing your social media page could interpret a post (ex: you post a before photo of a project you’re working on that another business butchered – avoid trash talking the “before” and focus on the improvements you made to the project).
  • Check your spelling! A misspelled word here or there isHashtag bound to happen, but you don’t want to mistype something embarrassing either. You can edit posts on some platforms, but better safe than sorry.
  • Use hashtags and tags when relevant. Think of hashtags like a filing system. Hashtags are searchable so people can find posts about certain topics. For example, if you post a photo of a SONY sound system that you just installed, you can tag Sony’s account (@sony – this sends them a notification that they’ve been tagged) plus use hashtags to “categorize” the image (#SONY #sonyaudio – include specific product hashtags, city/state hashtags, your business hashtags, etc).

RingCentral has offerings to fit every business: Office Essentials

RingCentral has a wide range of offerings, including a lower priced, simpler (but still impressive) Office package called “Essentials”. This tier is for businesses with up to 10 users who are looking for a less advanced feature set than the other Office Tiers.

RingCentral is continually listening to the market and their customers and adjusting accordingly. The “Essentials” tier is just one example of that. Many small businesses are still learning about the inevitable transition from traditional phones to cloud based systems. Sometimes, business owners would prefer to keep things as similar as they were before in order to avoid a large learning curve for their employees.

RingCentral Office Essentials is a basic edition of a cloud based communications platform that still offers much of the versatility that is treasured with RingCentral along with a lower price offering.

Here is a link to the Plans and Pricing page: https://www.ringcentral.com/office/plansandpricing.html

Contact Javad Farjam, DOW’s VoIP Account Manager, for more information about partnering with the best VoIP platform in the industry (RingCentral Partner Program):
(813) 235-0940
javad.farjam@dowelectronics.com

RingCentral’s “Channel Harmony” Makes Selling Simple & Easy

RingCentral has clearly established itself as a market leader in the VoIP industry. The VoIP industry has proven that it is here to stay and is entering a massive growth phase. This makes the idea of partnering to sell RingCentral extremely enticing. Not only does the product sell itself with an all-inclusive feature set and consistent reliability, but the sales process has become so easy that the partner can have a hands off approach if they would like to.

Enter “Channel Harmony”, RingCentral’s genius method to make selling the platform simple and easy. When a partner registers a prospect, RingCentral will call either the customer or the partner and begin the sales process. From start to finish, the RingCentral Partner Program offers skilled sales representatives to walk the customer and the partner from start to finish.

I’ve personally witnessed the effectiveness of this program with a partner that closed a large deal (customer’s monthly bill was approximately $6300 per month). The partner handed the lead off to RingCentral and the reps worked it for months. Within a few months, the partner was informed that his deal was closed and he received upwards of $20,000 deposited directly into his account.

With incentives like these and a process so smooth, it’s no wonder why the RingCentral Partner Program has become a major part of the company’s growth. The Channel’s portion of overall sales throughout RingCentral jumps from year to year. With the VoIP posed to become the standard in telephony within the near future, becoming a RingCentral partner is an obvious choice to grow your revenue.

DOW ELECTRONICS ANNOUNCES EXPANDED DISTRIBUTION OF SONOS

Creates Opportunity to Meet Growing Demand from Custom Integrators

TAMPA, Fla. (June 1, 2018) – DOW Electronics, the leading Consumer Electronics distributor in the South, announced today that it has reached an agreement to distribute Sonos throughout its 11 state territory in the Southern United States.

Sonos is a leader in wireless home audio, focused on their goal to fill every home with music and make listening a valued experience again. Since their launch in 2002, Sonos has continued to innovate and improve the listening experience. Recently, Sonos integrated Amazon Alexa into the new Sonos One, giving users a smart speaker that delivers rich sound and voice control. Sonos continues to expand the developer platform allowing more products to earn the “Works with Sonos” badge, and creating more opportunities for custom integrators to design fully integrated smart home systems.

“We have had a wonderful relationship with Sonos over the past 5 years and are very excited to get this opportunity to bring their products to all of our retailers,” stated John Yodzis, DOW president and CEO. “We believe getting the full strength of DOW behind Sonos will create growth for both DOW and Sonos.”

Added Eric Friedman, DOW strategic sales manager- custom integration, “Our team is excited to meet the demand for Sonos that we hear from our customers in every state. Our customers have seen great success with Sonos, being able to create systems for every budget and every project.”

The full line of Sonos products are now available for online ordering and available to be shipped throughout DOW’s territory. The products are also available for pick up at all six DOW Electronics’ locations.

To learn more about DOW Electronics or Sonos, please visit www.DOWElectronics.com or call 1.800.627.2900.

 

About DOW Electronics:

Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., DOW Electronics is one of the largest independently owned and operated electronics distributors servicing independent retailers in the Southern United States for 58 years. With six locations serving  Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, DOW Electronics focuses on providing consumer electronics that enhance the customer experience.

DOW Electronics’ six areas of business include:

  • Car and Marine Audio/Video • Custom Integration/Consumer Electronics
  • Satellite Broadband • Satellite Television
  • Surveillance • VoIP

 

About Sonos:

Founded in 2002, Sonos® creates the leading whole-home sound system. Once a tech startup populated with nerdy engineers and brilliant designers who love music, Sonos has grown into a global music brand dedicated to transforming the experience of listening out loud to music in the home. Its wireless home sound system makes it easy for everyone to listen to the music they love in every room of their home, and appreciate it all with the highest sound quality.

Sonos is now in more than 60 countries, with dozens of streaming music providers, through thousands of retailers, and in millions of homes. With a constant investment in software and services, Sonos is improving the experience customers have with music in the home for years after they buy it. Sonos is changing the way people listen to music – one home at a time.

Sonos, Inc. is a privately held company, headquartered in Santa Barbara, California with additional offices in Boston and Seattle, as well as in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and China.

Small Business Saturday – Be The Expert

Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the start of holiday shopping for families around the Nation. With an estimated 164 million U.S consumers expected to begin their shopping according to the National Retail Federation. These numbers include Cyber Monday in addition to Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Small Business Saturday.

For many of our retailer partners, Small business Saturday is a big deal. With millions of consumers expected to shop on November 25, encouraging shoppers to support their local business is important. Whether it is local electronics stores, boutiques, or restaurants, small business Saturday brings people together to celebrate the small businesses that make up their communities.

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Shop Small: What does it mean to “Be the Expert”?

This Saturday, choose to be the local expert. Being the Expert in your community is an opportunity to show off the extensive knowledge and great customer support that you’ve developed in your small business. Taking advantage of the attention given to small business owners this weekend by showing customers what they get from dealing with the local expert, and what they’re missing by simply ordering online. On this day, consumers are approaching YOU for deals, product expertise, and great customer service. Give shoppers an unforgettable experience with expert solutions and personal service.

Here are 3 important ways to stand out as the local expert in your community this Small Business Saturday: 

  • List and Claim

Make Sure People Can Find You: Most shoppers start their day off looking for stores they want to visit online. You want to make sure that shoppers can find you, so claim your business for free on websites like Google, Bing, or Yelp. Make sure that your hours of operation, address, and business phone number are all updated so people know how to get to you.

  • Share. Retweet. Repost. 

Get The Word out About Events and Sales: Social media is powerful, using Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great ways to promote yourself for SBS. Take advantage of advertising and marketing tactics to set yourself apart. Create content, Q&A’s, use hashtags such as #SmallBizSat, which is promoted by American Express to get traffic to your store or get creative and use your own hashtags. Giveaways also encourage shoppers to stop in and see what you’re all about.

  • Work Together

Get together with nearby stores and make a pact to send customers to each other on small business Saturday. This can be easily done by sharing each other’s information whether it be a flyer or business card. This is also a great way to give out percentages off deals at different stores, i.e, and lunch at a restaurant, free coffee, free manicure, etc.

These are all ways to make the most of the day. Feel free to submit pictures of all the exciting moments occurring during the day.

From our Family here at DOW, to yours, Happy Holidays!

Why Vivint is the better choice for FASTER response times

Every day, more and more homeowners are considering home security for both safety and peace of mind.  Consumers get bombarded with solicitations from all sorts of security companies, and at the end of the day, there’s just one facet of monitored security that a homeowner should be concerned about – Response time.  After all, if an alarm is tripped due to a break-in, how fast will the authorities respond?  Will they respond at all?  These are valid points that need to be addressed before considering any monitored security service.

Monitored security companies are using a common term, verified response, to address authority response time.   A verified response comes in the form of a sound or verbal communication that a crime could be occurring.  When an alarm is activated, a monitored station must “verify” that the alert is true and not tripped as a false alarm.  Up until now, the most usual means to determine if the alarm is real is to call the homeowner using any phone number they have on file for that particular customer.  What happens if a client can’t answer the call from the monitoring station?  You guessed it; that call goes to the bottom of the dispatch list.  As a false alarm, chances of the authorities showing up to assess the home for a burglary are slim to none.

Vivint’s two-way voice feature on the Sky Control Panel allows Vivint’s monitoring station to physically listen for a sound or verbal communication that a crime is occurring.  Sounds that can inhibit a verified response include yelling, voices, glass breakage, the movement of household furniture, etc.  This feature alone awards Vivint one of the fastest response times in the industry and, simply, the most obvious choice for monitored security services.

When assessing the security service your business wants to partner with, compare other company’s response claims to Vivint’s verified response capabilities. Which do you want your business to stand behind?

To learn more about Vinvint and its innovative technology contact our Vivint Sales Manager at craig.parrot@dowelectronics.com. 

 

 

 

Best Practices in Hiring

We all know how difficult it is to find and retain top talent in any industry.  While that is certainly a challenge, it is just as important to be mindful of putting the right steps in place to validate that the candidate you selected to work at your company has the experience, education and background you were searching for.  Here are some best practices to follow:

Use a Standard Employment Application

Every employer, whether big or small, should have each candidate complete an employment application.  The application allows for employers to give consistent, due consideration to all applicants about prospective employment opportunities.  It also gives an employer the opportunity to pre-screen and pre-qualify applicants based on the information provided.  Make sure the information you request/require for your applicants is the same across the board regardless of the position they apply for.  It is also important to keep in mind that there are federal and state laws that mandate how long employment applications should be retained for.

Check References

On the employment application, you should ask for a minimum of 2 personal and 2 professional references.  Take the time to contact at least one reference to reconcile the information provided by your candidate about their previous work history, salary, work habits, etc.  If you are not using an employment application to collect this information, it’s ok to ask your candidate to present you with references independent of an employment application.  Pay attention to the tone of voice that the reference uses when answering questions about your candidate.  That may be more important than the content of their words.  For example, when you ask a reference if they would ever consider re-hiring the candidate, listen for pauses.  If they pause and take a deep breath before answering the question, you should listen very closely to their answer.

Background Check

If you are not currently running a background check to verify information about your candidate, you should seriously consider doing so.  There are many background check vendors that offer a la carte services that would be suitable for your business.  If you decide to use a background check as part of the pre-hiring process, remember to ensure that you are following the protocol as established by the EEOC (“Equal Employment Opportunity Commission” – www.eeoc.gov.).  Most companies see an increase in applicant quality when using background checks which allows for less discrepancies with information provided by your candidates.

In addition to those best practices, some employers will ask their candidates to participate in a pre-hire drug screen.  This, too, is helpful in making sure that the person you are hiring is going to be a good steward of your company, use good judgement and most importantly, be reliable and available when they are needed to work.

Remember, a resume is just a marketing piece presented by your candidate.  Verify the information they provided you is accurate.  You can’t go wrong putting one or more of these best practices in place for peace of mind for the success of your business.

Tune in next month for more tips and information on recruiting and retaining your best and brightest employees.

Are you offering landscape audio solutions?

Now that we’re past Memorial Day, your customers are frequently utilizing their backyards for activities and outdoor entertaining. While you may have set up whole home audio systems for them inside, did you add on a landscape audio system to complete their audio experience? Landscape audio systems offer many benefits for your customers and for custom integrators.

For your customer, a landscape audio system offers the best listening experience outdoors. Small speakers are spaced out around the yard providing music throughout the area at an even volume no matter where they are. Unlike centralized speaker systems, the music will not be overly loud in one area just so that it can be heard in the corners of the yard. The speakers can be placed inconspicuously so that they are not interrupting the landscaping or hanging off structures. A below ground subwoofer provides depth to the sound while being hidden in the foliage.

A customer’s neighbors will also appreciate the landscape audio system. Instead of the sound emanating out from the house towards the yard, the sound points from the outer edges back towards the house. This minimizes the amount of sound that spills into a neighbor’s yard interrupting their music, conversation or serene quiet. Also, as mentioned above, the overall volume of a landscape audio system can be lower while still reaching all corners of the space.

A benefit for the customer and integrator is the scalability of a good landscape audio system. Customers get a system that can be designed specifically to fit the shape and size of their yard, maximizing their enjoyment. Integrators get a single system solution without needing to worry about mixing different products or systems together. This makes it easy for an integrator to design a system and estimate the costs and labor.

Lastly, but not least in importance, landscape audio systems offer great margin opportunities plus installation revenue. Landscape audio is not a typical DIY product, customers want a quality, professional installation. Increase your revenue this summer by adding landscape audio to your company’s offerings.

At DOW, we believe landscape audio has great potential for our customers. To help integrators, DOW has free demo loaner kits available that can be used to prove the amazing audio quality. Experience landscape audio yourself so you can speak confidently to your customers.