EMOTIVA. A VICTIM OF THEIR OWN SUCCESS?
Dan Laufman started with just one simple question: “Why can't we have amazing audio and video- at prices that don't threaten our mortgage?"
As the CEO of U.S. based brand Emotiva, discovering the answer to that question led him to the creation of one of the most affordable but very capable outfits in audio-visual today.
Credit where it’s due, the brand has been an entry point into high quality two-channel and surround sound home cinemas for many customers around the globe.
That success hasn’t come without growing pains however.
Upon launch back in 2004, the company’s direct sales business model caused many an industry member to raise an eyebrow. A model many manufacturers have contemplated but in most cases, have been reluctant to implement.
If you wanted to buy Emotiva in Australia at the time you would have been bitterly disappointed at checkout. You couldn’t.
Then, you could. But the grossly inflated shipping costs meant you probably wouldn’t as the value proposition dissolved.
Since then, manufacturing has shifted back and forth between the U.S. and China, the result of Emotiva obviously trying to maintain low pricing and battling consistent supply and reliability. That has led to many products running out of stock and long lead times for keen consumers.
Bucking the manufacturer-direct sales philosophy in 2015, Emotiva announced its products would be available via local distributor, Final Link Audio.
This news was well received by Aussie fans and local specialist dealers who saw the value in the Emotiva brand. A comprehensive dealer network was quickly established and the brand enjoyed early success in Australia throughout last year.
But what could be the final nail in the coffin for Emotiva in Australia came with Final Link Audio’s announcement last week that they will no longer distribute the brand.
In a letter sent to dealers Final Link stated:
Due to consistent supply delays, lack of communication and a recent announcement that Emotiva will be selling direct to the world market via their own website and other online medias, made it a very simple but difficult decision for us to terminate any distribution with Emotiva.
StereoNET understands that for more than six months there have been supply issues. Dealers have also said that backorders are going unfilled and customers have had to be refunded.
According to sources, Emotiva responded with a note posted on their Facebook page stating that customers from Australia and New Zealand could now checkout directly from the brand’s website.
However, when StereoNET attempted to test this, prices were being shown in US dollars and we could not proceed further once we selected Australia as the shipping location. On the second attempt, exorbitant shipping charges once again remove most of the value that comes with buying Emotiva products.
Final Link Audio told StereoNET that they had worked tirelessly to keep costs down for consumers by bringing regular, large shipments into the country, and that prices would likely increase when purchased directly from Emotiva.
Repairs are also a nightmare for Aussie consumers. As with all electronic products, failures are par for the course. Via the manufacturer-direct model once again, the potential cost and requirement for a consumer to ship a faulty product back to Emotiva will likely spell the end of Emotiva’s popularity in Australia.
StereoNET's Founder & Publisher and still buried deep in the review room auditioning everything from docks to soundbars, amplifiers and headphones. Marc is also the founder of the annual International HiFi Show.
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