What we expect to see featured at CES 2015
December 16, 2014
For most people, the lead up to the holidays is the most exciting time of year, but for the Shipwire team and fellow techies, patience is the name of the game. Over here, we not-so-patiently wait for January to arrive, and with it, The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
CES is the world’s gathering place for consumer technologies and we’ve been fortunate to attend for the past few years. It’s always exciting to see emerging technologies introduced and explored, and we have an annual tradition of predicting the latest and greatest innovations. Here’s what we expect to see take off at CES 2015.
More wearables: Earlier this year, the Apple Watch and Google’s Android Wear made their debuts. As wearable technology continues to evolve and expand, CES 2015 will see a number of new wearables and more innovates, particularly in smart watches. In fact, the smartwatch presence at CES is rumored to be twice what it was last year. We’ll be on the lookout for advances in things like GPS capabilities, health trackers, and music players. As markets grow, it’s also interesting to see new businesses join the arena — it’s not always all about the big names.
More 3D printing: It’s not just wearables that are scaling their presence this year. Reports suggest that floor space for 3D printing is doubling too, with more than 30 companies showing products. This has been one of the most exciting markets to watch — not long ago, the concept of 3D printing was foreign and fictional, and now the technology has developed to the point of being accessible to consumers. Desktop 3D printer sales are projected to surpass 67,000 units by the end of 2014, so we’re particularly interested in seeing what home-use innovations are in store for 2015.
Better TV: Each CES brings updates to the way we watch TV. Usually, we see things like bigger screens, higher resolutions, flatter models (or curved models, as with last year). With recent buzz and speculation around ultra flexible screens, cheaper 4k TVs, and smarter media such as the Android TV, 2015 looks promising in the world of home entertainment.
The best part about CES is that this list contains just a fraction of the cool technology to come from the largest annual technology conference in the world — virtual reality innovation, flexible smartphones, and smart homes are a few other markets expected to deliver big updates.
Prepare for the next step
In our four years of attending CES, we’ve noticed a continuous increase in the number of startups that come to compete with big brands. And while a state-of-the-art product is one thing, getting it into the hands of consumers is another.
- Don’t just focus on wholesale: This is fairly obvious by now, so I won’t go into too much detail, but the bottom line is that most brands need a strong online presence to be successful. There are tons of online store templates backed by strong platforms to choose from, so getting one started is easier than you may think. Create a category on your store that has your wholesale products and a form for small retailers. VAR’s (Value Added Resellers) want to know how to build a solution for small business or home market around your products; talk about this through a blog connected to your website. Blogging is another good way to generate interest, gain trust, and build a community around your product.
- Sell internationally: Overseas markets offer an opportunity for fast expansion. With a well-connected distributor, there’s tons of sales potential in bringing your product to foreign customers. It’s also smart to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket — by selling products in multiple markets, you build some stability in case one goes south.
- Small wholesale purchases, drop shipping, and vendor managed inventory: Strong distributors only make significant investments in proven products. For unknown or unproven products, they may ask you to drop ship to consumers (incurring costs of holding inventory, shipping, etc.) or consign inventory to them (so they only pay for what they sell). This lets distributors offload risk to you. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to drop ship or ship to their buyers. Like everybody in the supply chain, they are trying to simplify their process as well, so prepare to offer them simple solutions.
The above three strategies can be used by any smaller brand or retailer. Capitalizing on these strengths will not hurt your relationship with distributors, but will actually improve it. Since distributors have large networks and the market you’re going after is smaller, there won’t be a threat of cannibalizing sales for them. This will help you be efficient at getting your product out the door.