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SnapAV Aims to Double Dealer Profitability

The manufacturer (no, they're not a distributor) sells over 500 SKUs direct to dealer at savings of 30 to 60 percent.

SnapAV showed its wares -- and crunched the numbers -- for dealers at EHX Spring.
Julie Jacobson · March 17, 2009

Dealers are talking about SnapAV, but few of them know what the company actually does.

SnapAV looks like a distributor but it isn’t. Instead, the company is a manufacturer that happens to offer a wide range of A/V products including speakers, cables, cabinets, racks, screens, amps, mounts and more.

SnapAV designs the products; contract manufacturers overseas create them.

The company sells direct to dealer, eliminating mark-ups from distributors. Internet sales are not permitted, and SnapAV does not sell to consumers.

“We protect dealer margins,” says VP of marketing Adam Levy. “We don’t sell to big boxes, there’s no Internet sales, and we don’t cut deals with buying groups.”

Doubling the Bottom Line

Founded by former integrator Jay Faison a few years ago, SnapAV is all about profitability for the dealer. The company mantra is that customers can double their bottom line with SnapAV.

The numbers are easy to follow, especially for integrators who visited the SnapAV trailer parked outside the convention center at EHX Spring 2009.

As Levy explains, about one-third of a dealer’s cost of goods sold (COGs) goes towards electronics. One-third goes to labor, and one-third goes to “other stuff” like cables, mounts and speakers.

“We’re in the ‘other stuff’ business,” Levy says.

He says that dealers can save at least 30 percent on the “other stuff” that SnapAV sells, and in some categories the savings amount to as much as 60 percent.

Saving that kind of money on other stuff can double the dealer’s bottom line.

You can’t get that kind of return, though, “if I’m just saving you 50 percent on mounts,” Levy says. “You need to do it again and again and again.”

And that’s why SnapAV offers so many products – about 500 SKUs – in several categories.

Is SnapAV ‘Stuff ’ Any Good?

Levy (and some dealers) insist SnapAV delivers good-quality products.

During EHX, one high-end integrator who recently became a SnapAV dealer said he was impressed with the quality of the vendor’s mounts and other gear.

The dealer, a loyal Stewart Filmscreen customer, says he could not pass up the opportunities that SnapAV affords. “I always start with Stewart” on A/V bids, he says, “but if I need to, I will go down.”

VP Marketing Adam Levy explains the SnapAV advantage during EHX.

SnapAV realizes that dealers have to try the gear to believe it.

“With low cost comes the expectation of low quality,” Levy notes.

To get integrators to try its wares, SnapAV provides a demo kit at 50-percent off.

More on the SnapAV Business

While SnapAV takes product quality seriously, the company’s biggest push is on the business side.

Particularly in this economy, dealers need to protect their margins and SnapAV is showing them how.

Former CEDIA president Steve Hayes, now VP of dealer profitability for SnapAV, presented a keynote at EHX entitled “49 Gutsy Survival Tips for Integrators.”

During the presentation, Hayes rattled off tips to help dealers maintain profitability.

“Right now we’re making a lot of sense to a lot of people in this industry,” Levy says.

If integrators are reluctant to try SnapAV, it is for these two reasons: patriotism and product quality.

There is a perceived lack of quality of Asian-manufactured goods, which is entirely unfounded, says Levy. Virtually all product sold by integrators has at least some component that is manufactured overseas.

SnapAV has a full-time employee in Asia that oversees quality control. And SnapAV doesn’t simply import finished goods, rather it designs them in-house and contracts out the production.

Levy notes that business would be a lot simpler if great products were readily available for importing from overseas, “but they’re not,” he says. “We have to design them ourselves.”

The other sticking point among integrators is plain old patriotism.

“I was a buy-American guy,” says Herb Stride of Audio Visual Design Group, Franklin Lakes, N.J. “I’d like to buy what I can in this country, but you have to do what you have to do.”

SnapAV Products

SnapAV sells over 500 products in the following categories:

  • Cables
  • Baluns/video distribution
  • Mounts
  • Speakers
  • Bulk wire
  • Film screens
  • Cabinets
  • Power products
  • Structured wiring
  • Amplifiers
  • Multiroom audio
  • IR products
  • Racks and lifts
  • Installation tools

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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