Todd Girdis | RowOne | Part 2 by Maureen Jenson
I recently caught up with RowOne CEO Todd Girdis to talk about why no dealer should lose the entertainment/home theater seating sale to a furniture store and how RowOne is being referred to as, “the vendor brand launch success story of the pandemic year!” Part 2 (Part 1 Here)
Maureen Jenson: What types of benefits and incentives does RowOne offer new dealers signing up?
Todd Girdis: We believe it is incredibly important for consumers to touch, feel and play with furniture in making their home entertainment and home theater choices. We generally offer a display incentive to CI/CE retailers that have a showroom available to display our products. When a retailer agrees to display our products on their showroom floor, we will provide them a swatch book of all the different coverings at no charge. All authorized retailers are included in our referral program so that when homeowners call us, we ask where they live, and we refer that business to the closest available retailers to that geography.
MJ: What about retailer support? How do you go above and beyond to support your CI/CE retailers?
TG: We fully back our products for one-year with a bumper-to-bumper warranty (can’t help the bumper-to -bumper description, I’m from Detroit, the automobile capital of the US!). And we provide 3-years on motors and mechanisms.
We are also the only home entertainment seating company in the channel that is stocking inventory. This means we can reach any retailer in the Continental US within 7-10 business days and any residence in 15-20 days. This is going above and beyond to ensure our CI/CE dealer’s success in a very competitive market of home entertainment/home theater seating. There is no reason a dealer should lose the home entertainment seating / home theater seating sale to a furniture store!
RowOne Seating install courtesy of HTSA dealer Gramophone, Maryland
We just launched a new fully mobile-optimized website with a dealer login portal (upcoming) to make placing and tracking orders easy. This portal will also provide access to Audio Advice’s Home Theater Designer Tool which enables dealers to spec-in audio, video and seating into their rooms with gear configurations and room dimensions responding in real-time (very cool!). The tool incorporates all our Revolution seating designs and we are the only seating company featured in it.
MJ: Any great dealer or distribution success stories you would like to share with our readers?
TG: We have several big announcements!
This month RowOne began doing business with Best Buy. Initially 152 US Magnolia Home Theater In-Store showrooms have put our Direct Collection entry-level Galaxy II and step-up level Prestige chair styles on display with additional stores being added in the future. Best Buy offers the industry-lead CE/CI brands and their Magnolia Home Theater staff are experts in technologies and trends. Having been fully vetted to meet the stringent requirements of this #1 CI/CE retailer, we are very proud to be approved as a vendor partner.
Another success story is noted HTSA association North Carolina-based home theater retailer/integrator Audio Advice. They started out as a small display retailer for us and in 2018 expanded to become a gallery retailer of ours. This led to their decision in 2019 to increase sales and begin to purchase large inventories from us.
On the distribution side of things, we have two exciting announcements. We just entered into an agreement with the Nationwide Marketing Group giving their 250+ Home Technology Specialists Nationwide (HTSN) division dealers access to our seating. We also inked a distribution deal with Next Level Distribution (formerly Audio America) as part of their expansion phase into home entertainment seating.
These deals are in addition to the great progress we have been making with our HTSA, AiN Group and AVB/BrandSource programs here. In less than 6-months’ time we have shipped hundreds of recliners. I don’t know of any other CE/CI channel vendor that launched during this tumultuous year that is exhibiting the kind of success that RowOne is! We are being referred to by our partners as “the vendor brand launch success story of the pandemic year!”
MJ: What silver lining do you see for our industry during the time of Coronavirus?
TG: Because of the ‘stay at home orders’ and related ‘cocooning at home’ across the majority of the nation, the CI/CE industry has enjoyed incredible sales of outdoor home entertainment.
Because of the next surge in COVID-19 cases and cooler outdoor temperatures across most of the USA, consumers essentially are now more than ever advised to stay at home and indoors. Many of the CI/CE channel retailers have been in business for more than 10 years – there’s never been a better time for them to examine their sales history for opportunities to upgrade existing home entertainment systems that they’ve sold. The combination of using their past database and upcoming cold weather creates the perfect storm for indoor home entertainment sales including home entertainment and home theater seating over the next few months.
MJ: Anything else you would like our readers to know about RowOne?
TG: Value, reliability, features and innovation are virtues that we focus on at RowOne.
For us, part of ‘having a vision’ means we are always looking for the next unique tech… hint: stay tuned for the next innovative features and styles from us coming this holiday season and in early 2021!
We don’t focus solely on the ‘home theater seating opportunity’ per se; we remind our dealers how the seating can be configured not only as rows for home theater seating but also configured for unique sectionals of furniture, standalone loungers and the unique features that our line can bring to their clientele.