Little Cottonpicker Uncle Jim ONeal’s Words of Wisdom May 2017

On the Pacific Road…

During the past four weeks I blazed a path through England, Scotland, Germany and finally Southeastern China. I visited a number of music shops, dozens of musical instrument factories and participated once more in the frenzy of the Frankfurt Musikmesse. There are a lot a changes taking place in the business landscape out there that are requiring the attention of musical instrument retailers.

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Supply: The regulatory fiasco of recent months is almost certain to cause supply shortages in any instrument model using Indian or Indonesian rosewood. In January container loads of instruments were already piling up on loading docks as governments and manufacturers were trying to figure out what to do. Until things are sorted out, the result will almost certainly be shortages of the products that you need—and of course the ever present overstock of product that is not moving!! Remember the advice that I got from the Little Cottonpicker, Uncle Jim O’Neal, “Richard. You cain’t sell watermelons from an empty basket!” It’s time to stock up on product that moves.
  2. Big Box Retailers: If you think that you’re having problems with online competition, think about the pain and sorrow that the large chains are experiencing. (I can’t imagine that you’re shedding tears at this moment!) These mavens of commodity products and pull-brands are the ones really getting hit by the backwash from internet giants. Almost every week there is another notice of a chain of 170 stores shutting down. Last week it was the women’s clothing retailer Bebe. Do you think that the Big Boxes in the Music Industry are wearing bulletproof vests?
  3. Demand: Your customers are still looking for innovative products. You know how to tell the story. If you don’t know the story give us a call and ask for Lloyd. He will be glad to tell it to you!
  4. Commodity Products: This was the low hanging fruit for mail order businesses in the past and internet behemoths today. Avoid overstocking commodity products.
  5. Innovative Products: The real advantage that the music retailer has, is versatility. You are able to respond to bumps in the road quickly and turn problems into opportunities. Make innovative, quality products the cornerstone of your business!

The pages of our Retail Music News are the place to begin your search!

Richard Keldsen

San Francisco
May 2017