If you’re already doing business with Core Brands, you might want to do a whole lot more. The Nortek (Nasdaq: NTK) organization that includes Elan, SpeakerCraft, Niles, Xantech, Panamax and other custom-installation brands has created a dealer portal that makes it simple for dealers to shop, order and earn rewards for their purchases – not just for Core Brands products, but for select products from other Nortek brands.
Those brands include NuTone (central vac), GoControl (Z-Wave home automation products, but not yet 2Gig security panels) and Omnimount (mounts). It also includes Gefen, which re-joined the Core Brands clan in August, after spending a few years in Nortek’s now-dissolved ProAV group.
The new portal makes its debut at CEDIA Expo 2015, where dealers can demo the Website first hand at the Core Brands booth.
Core Brands has been trying for years to present a more unified front, encouraging dealers to offer a fuller selection of brands, and creating a network of independent reps that promote all or most of the brands, sometimes at the expense of competitive brands.
The efforts are coming to fruition with the new dealer portal, a key initiative of the Joe Roberts administration. Roberts, who took the presidential reins from Bill Pollock in 2014, founded the online service eLaunguage, so he is well versed in the ways of the Web.
“With his e-commerce background, it’s one of the first initiatives Joe started when he came in,” says Joe Lautner, Core Brands director of business development, in an interview with CE Pro.
The new site, Lautner says, is “very powerful, with great products, quality brands and aggregated business programs.”
He claims the new Core Brands portal rivals the best in the custom-installation business. Dealers can place orders for any of the products they are authorized to sell. They can access literature and support materials, as well as training videos.
When any given product is selected, the site recommends companion products. For example, order an Elan multiroom A/V system and Core Brands might recommend some Panamax power products.
And, “if you need a rough-in kit for a certain product, you will be prompted,” Lautner says.
Lautner says he expects dealers to create product bundles that work for a majority of their customers.
“Say every audio project you do includes a rack, an audio component, power management and IR emitters,” Lautner says, noting that these products might come from Omnimount, Niles, Panamax and Xantech. “You might save those three things in a bundle and start every new kit with that.”
Through their own dashboards, dealers can monitor their status with Core Brands, including their orders and their incentive programs. If an integrator needs to spend $25 more to reach a certain level, for example, he might toss some Xantech IR transmitters into his shopping cart.
“When you buy Panamax, Elan, SpeakerCraft and now NuTone central vac, Omnimount … all the program dollars go into one bucket,” Lautner says.
Not only is the purchasing platform a huge convenience for dealers, Core Brands is offering a “market-leading” incentive program that “really offers a great value to dealers,” according to Lautner.
It should offer a great value to Nortek as well if, as expected, the new dealer portal encourages Core Brands customers to shop other Nortek brands, such as GoControl, NuTone and Omnimount.
As for Gefen, Lautner couldn’t be happier than to have the A/V distribution company back: “They bring really nice video and HDMI offerings to the mix.”
He adds that Nortek’s moving Gefen back to Core Brands is “really a big shout-out for our group and what we have done. Nortek wouldn’t have put this in our group if we weren’t strong.”
Indeed, for Q2 2015, Nortek reported a dramatic reduction in operating losses for the AVC (audio, video, control) segment, which includes Core Brands and the now-dissolved ProAV group. That group, which had included Gefen and the video-processing companies TVOne and Magenta Research, had been a financial drop on AVC.
In July, Nortek divested TVOne in a management buy-out.
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