The Stereo Shop Gets Creative During the Pandemic

AUBURN HILLS, MI (05.13.2020) – Just 25 minutes outside of the heart of Dallas sits The Stereo Shop, a mobile electronics retailer and installer that has serviced the Garland, Texas community for 10 years (formerly under the name JM Kuztomz).

Like most 12Volt retailers during the COVID-19 environment, owner Julio Murillo has had to think out-of-the-box in light of the recent “shelter in place” orders.

Alpine Brand Representative Mark Sartain and The Stereo Shop partners Julio Murillo and Edgar Cruz (L to R) are pictured in an area in the new showroom.

“When COVID-19 happened, I thought, ‘If we’re going to shut down for a few weeks, then I’m finally going to update the store,’” Murillo recalled.

Murillo, an Alpine Authorized Retailer of three years, contacted his Alpine team, including rep Mark Sartain, to begin work on a $12,000 update to the shop.

This 2019 Alpine Electronics of America Dealer of the Year Award is prominently displayed in The Stereo Shop showroom.

“Alpine is their biggest consumer draw and their highest premium line,” explained Sartain. “They see a big value in the local and national support they are receiving from Alpine.”  

The focus was on the main display board in their lobby, previously occupied by a different brand. In its place, stands a larger-than-life display, spotlighting the Alpine Halo9 9-inch displays, as well as speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers from Alpine S, R, and X-Series lineup. 

The Stereo Shop was able to reopen, as they have a minor mechanical permit that deems them as an essential business (although they are still taking safety precautions by doing most installations through drop-offs and maintain social distancing standards.)

Not shortly after he reopened, Murillo started to see the fruits of his labor, particularly with the main display board. 

“The first day, we set up a Halo9 display in the showroom with the Alpine branding. The second day, after we opened, we sold three [Alpine Halo9s],” said Murillo. “We were already selling this product fairly well, but three on the first day was crazy!”

In addition to the main display board, The Stereo Shop now has three dedicated Alpine displays in the store that include an OEM Integration Display, a dedicated S-Series display (their highest selling product, according to Sartain) and an R and X-Series display. 

“Alpine is a sound quality company, so naturally, having functional displays that can be used to allow their consumers to experience the products helps the consumers make a faster emotional connection,” Sartain explained. “Consumers come to their store to hear, touch and feel the products. The displays empower the salespeople because they can demonstrate the products to the consumer.”

Murillo explains the value of a display that can show the customer the head unit and speaker together, claiming it’s a lot easier to sell when they can sell the entire package.

“Display the functioning products; not products in a showcase or a box,” said Murillo. “When the product is on a display, where people can touch it, feel it, and know how it works – that’s half the sale!”

However, Murillo’s sales efforts didn’t stop at the shop door. The Stereo Shop is also active on their social media platforms, like Facebook, often posting installation jobs up to 10 times per day.

Murillo attributes Facebook as the root of 50% of their walk-ins. Recently, he’s noticed his clientele are coming from 1 – 2 hours away, as Facebook is helping them reach customers that are looking for a shop that sells Alpine and speaks Spanish (the Alpine brand is well-known to Hispanic customers, according to Murillo).

Murillo also adopted a new way to share the products in his store. Instead of posting a product, or taking a picture of the box, Murillo has started to show pictures of completed installation jobs, highlighting the features of each product.

This more personalized approach to “selling” Alpine products has boosted The Stereo Shops engagement rate, as they receive more inquiries from their Facebook page.

“We’re not trying to sell the product through Facebook; we show the product installed in a car and talk about the features,” explained Murillo.  “When the customer can see the head unit and speakers installed in the car, they can relate to the product because they might have the same car.”

Murillo’s advice to fellow mobile electronics retailers would be to stay safe and offer drop-off services for customers, making sure that every car is cleaned before returned. If possible, he suggested investing in loaner cars to provide to customers 

“Our shop has three loaner cars for customers to use during installation,” said Murillo. “That way, there is no pressure for the customer waiting to get their car back.”

He also urges others to increase up their social media presence, explaining that people are on social media more than ever before.

While adhering to the CDC guidelines, Sartain recommends getting more attention to your store through social media.

“On social media, promote a no-touch transaction with your customers to show that the store cares about both your consumers and your employees,” Sartain advised. “Focus on keeping the purchase process easy and fast.”

Even now, as more shops are beginning to reopen, it is essential to have a plan of attack when returning to work, including new marketing strategies, adhering to CDC guidelines, and establishing better communication with the consumer.

Alpine encourages its Authorized Dealers to reach out if they need assistance before or during the process of reopening.

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