Just before the long July 4th weekend, The Edge Group announced a newly formed partnership with the Catalyst AV Distribution Network.
Catalyst AV features nine electronics distributor members, and through its existing AV manufacturer relationships, and The Edge Group’s existing strengths in the security and data markets, the Edge Group’s dealer customers will have more opportunities to grow their businesses.
“By aligning together, Catalyst AV and The Edge Group are delivering increased value to their members and suppliers with added strength in their respective channels,” states Ron Meyers, president and CEO, The Edge Group.
Further supporting The Edge Group’s move into the custom installation AV market is the recent hire of long-term audio-category veteran Jonathan Duran.
Serving as The Edge Group’s new vice president of sales, Western territories, Duran will also function as the group’s “AV guru.” Bringing his many years of market experience to The Edge Group, Duran, formerly of MSE Audio, Duran refers back to the recent agreement it signed with Catalyst AV.
“Just recently, a lot of your readers may have seen a press release where we partnered with another buying group called Catalyst AV,” comments Duran.
“So, first of all, Edge is a distributor buying group. We’ve teamed up with Catalyst AV to partner with them, and that’s a great example. Now, all of our members, which generally, a majority exist in the security and datacom worlds where they dabble in the AV side [of the industry], and they don’t have the full capabilities to really delve into the AV market. Just like a lot of AV guys don’t really have the full capabilities to delve into the security side. Now, all of our members have access to all of these lines.”
The Formula for Success is the Same Regardless of Core Skillsets
As The Edge Group transitions into its wider scope of products and services, Durand says open communications with dealers and manufacturers will be prioritized to ensure the best possible experience for all of the parties involved in these expansion efforts.
The keys to successfully enabling integrators from the AV, security and datacom markets according to Durand, is to provide dealers with high levels of support, access to products and services, training and product availability.
Coming from the manufacturing side of the market Durand notes that he has seen firsthand that those are the pain points for integrators.
“In all honesty, those four things are the Holy Grail of success for everyone,” he states.
“So if an integrator can feel confident, if the basics are being met, they can go out and focus on the real hard work they should be focusing on, which is providing that first-class service to their end user customers.”
The Edge Group’s custom installation industry objectives he continues is to focus on the middle portion of the market. This means supporting local and independent distributors; and working hard for dealers and manufacturers. So, the buying group/distributor will offer members Edge exclusive discounts, promotions; helping members with credit, payments.
In general, he adds, it’s all about giving members the power that national distributors have with the reach to help level the playing field.
Some of the products The Edge Group will offer members include Legrand’s family of brands such as Nuvo Technologies, as well as Vanco and its brands, which include Beale Street Audio and Evolution Audio. The group also offers the plethora of connectivity solutions manufactured by Metra Home Theater Group, and recently the buying group added the value-minded video company Hisense.
Adding the Catalyst AV group into the equation he says further expands the selection of solutions The Edge Group is capable of providing its members.
Further analyzing the way it does business, Durand notes The Edge Group used the downtime provided by the COVID quarantining efforts to organize its educational materials to form a “university” learning approach that organizes its education database in an easily searchable manner.
The buying group is also emphasizing its marketing services. Durand says the group can develop cut sheets, PDFs, banner ads and other materials through its virtual platform to aid dealers’ ability to market their businesses.
“We really want them to have that reach and the capability to quickly and easily get information out [to customers],” he stresses.
Looking ahead beyond these COVID times, Durand advises dealers to expand their products and services in order to better protect their businesses from the inconsistencies of the economy.
“Diversify … bridge that gap. I know we’ve been talking about it. We all have for a very long time in the low-voltage worlds of security, data, AV” Durand recommends.
“So, in my mind, AV dealers and distributors should be much stronger in their security offerings. One of the lines we have at Edge is Hikvision, and one of the new products they came out with recently that we’ve been doing really well with is—I can’t say post COVID because we are still in the thick of it—but Hikvision has body [temperature] cameras that have been huge sellers. We have done really well with our members because of situations that COVID has presented to people. That’s something that AV dealers should be getting into. Security is a very stable market. When all these societal happen, the economy goes this way or that way, security is a mainstay, it is stable, it usually grows in times like these.”