Sonos’ Value to Dealer Xssentials Business is Immeasurable

James Alexander, COO of Xssentials, says that Sonos offers premium products that he can confidently show clients that want home theater and whole-house audio systems.

Sonos’ Value to Dealer Xssentials Business is Immeasurable

Denver-based Xssentials drives its business through the sales of Sonos' popular line of audio products.

It can take years for a business to build a reputation for quality within a local market. Conversely, a reputation can tarnish in seemingly a blink of an eye if a business isn’t careful about how it conducts its daily affairs.

Denver-based Xssentials operates several offices in the Rocky Mountain region, and for more than 30 years the company has delivered state-of-the-art home audio, video, control, and home networks.

Contributing to the company’s growing success over the past several years has been Xssentials’ partnership with Sonos.

Trying to sum up Sonos’ contributions to the company’s growth, James Alexander, chief operating officer (COO) for Xssentials, says it is difficult to quantify, but it is sizable … and undeniable.

Opening Doors for Xssentials

Alexander says that Xssentials has offered the Sonos product line for at least seven years, and he says that when he analyzes the consumer electronics industry, manufacturers can be categorized into a few groups.

Some brands he points out are highly respected within dealer circles, but they have little consumer awareness. Other brands, he says, have high levels of brand equity with the public, and Xssentials has been able to leverage consumers’ knowledge of the brand to help grow its revenues.

“Sonos is a ‘draw brand’ with consumers because it offers powerful, easy-to-use technology that brings consumers in who may not know who we are. We are able to bring in mid-level and higher end customers because they know about Sonos,” he explains.

“Sonos also does a great job in marketing so it makes marketing easier for me.”

With nearly 30 years of industry experience Alexander says that he is amazed at the level of integration Sonos provides the company’s sales staff. The ability to specify the Sonos product line allows Xssentials to strip out the challenges of other, more complex products to focus on issues that are important to consumers such as ease-of-use.

One of the major challenges that Sonos eliminates according to Alexander, is the learning curve that’s associated with the installation of new electronics systems. Alexander notes that because Sonos is so intuitive to use they often don’t have to explain how to use the product line to customers.

Another benefit of the Sonos product line, he says, is that once clients open the app, the system is up and running quickly and customers can immediately start listening. He says that aspect of the product line is easy to overlook, but it provides a high level of comfort to the Xssentials sales team.

The topic of ease-of-use also affects Xssentials’ technicians, he continues.

“What I find with Sonos is it takes the complication out of the sales equation. Users can focus on their favorite aspects of their smart home, without the need for complex products to make it all work together. Sonos plays a great role in that. Sonos also has a great app—I can’t say enough about how easy Sonos is to use,” says Alexander.

“Sonos definitely provides ease-of-use on a number of levels, including installation of their products. They work well, I know what’s going to happen, and the support side is fantastic. I am opening a new showroom and this is one of the reasons we are leading with Sonos in the showroom.”

The Importance of Reliability

Using his background as an electrical engineer to assess the true value of the Sonos product line for Xssentials, the top factor for using Sonos, Alexander underscores, is the products’ reliability.

Alexander stresses the reliability and the ability to service products are high priorities for the Denver-based integration firm.

“When you go from a 2% to a 20% service rate, you can’t make money there,” Alexander emphasizes.

“That’s off the top. That’s net. Service and reliability, ease-of-use and easy deployment are key factors for us when evaluating whether or not to carry a product line. If a manufacturer answers the phone and someone that understands the product on the service side responds, that is what we are looking for … Sonos has people that back the product.”

He adds the costs to a business like Xssentials to service an installation far exceed simply the expense of replacing an amplifier or powered speaker. The costs not only affect the reputation

of the company he asserts, but they also impact the bottom-line expense of having to pay his staff to swap out defective products for new, working components.

“What does it cost to roll a truck … but if I put Sonos in, it’s an easy sell, and if I put 1,000 units in the market without service, why would I bother to put other products in the market that require 20% service. It’s not a great idea. Happy clients are what it’s about,” says Alexander.

“The attachment rate is high with Sonos—it is substantial. In fact, if we didn’t sell Sonos I could see our revenues easily falling by 25% because of what it brings to our business.”

About the Author

Robert Archer
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Robert Archer:

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Binda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; both schools are located in Haverhill, Mass.