BRAND SPOTLIGHT: Smart Lights

With a revamped, robust and colourful range lighting up bike retail, Fisher Outdoor Leisure brand manager Rob Handoll tells Jonathon Harker why stocking Smart lights is a bright option…
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Can you give us a brief history of the Smart brand?
Smart was established in 1993 by an Electronics Engineer called Kevin Chen. Based in Taiwan, Kevin is a man obsessed by building products of the very highest quality and this commitment to being the best has become synonymous with the Smart brand. Over the years Kevin has forged enduring relationships with some of the biggest distributors in the world that now sees Smart lights being sold into over 17 countries worldwide and manufactured out of ultra-modern Smart-owned facilities in both Taiwan and China.

Which sectors does Smart cater for?
Smart lights primarily target the aftermarket leisure and commuter market in the UK. What is less well known perhaps is that a ‘not insignificant’ proportion of sales also come from reflectors and lights built for those European OE markets where it is mandatory to put lights on bikes at the point of assembly.

What does Smart offer that other light brands don’t?
The Smart range is extensive and as such there are a number of key selling points that are worth highlighting. The key USP though is that all Smart lights are built to the very highest standards and to withstand the toughest treatment and the most adverse weather conditions. Whether it is an £8 entry-level rear light or a £55 top-of-the-range light set, the retailer and consumer alike can have total peace of mind that they are getting the best possible value for money. Reliability wise, Smart is one of the best in class with just 0.01 per cent of Smart lights ever being returned with a fault.

How large is the range?
It is certainly comprehensive but you will be pleased to hear that it’s not bewilderingly large or confusing in any way.

There are two main sub-brands within the range called Lunar and Polaris. The Lunar range is all about performance with a choice of four front lights from ten to 35 lux, designed to both see and be seen out on the road. The rear lights are either half or one watt in power output and are super bright.

The Polaris range is targeted towards urban riding where it is more important than ever to be seen by motorists and it includes four and seven Lux front lights, as well as a choice of three rears. Price points range from £7.99 to £54.99 across the Lunar and Polaris ranges so there is a perfect light available for any budget level.

How have Smart sales been over the past year?
Smart light sales continue to grow year-on-year but have really taken off this last season after we completely revamped the product range with exciting new colours and graphics whilst, at the same time, adding some high performance products to the Lunar range.

Our ongoing marketing and PR campaigns have also helped to fuel the sales success by creating a real desire amongst the buying public for the products. This can only be a good thing for our retailers as we help drive footfall to their shops.

How tough is it to balance light performance with battery life?
It is quite difficult, to be honest. Consumers rightly want more and more powerful lights and the trade-off is often in the battery life.
There are some incredibly bright LEDs on the market now that are not much larger than a pin head and these lend themselves to being put into sleek light shells, so it is important to keep the batteries small and few.

With this in mind, all Smart front lights use just two AA batteries and rears just two AAA, so they don’t take up much room on the bike or in your pocket. They are all optimised to give the maximum power output with the most efficient use of battery.

Has it been difficult to keep prices down for the new season?

As the lighting market grows ever more aggressive we face increasing pressure to remain price competitive. For this reason we closely scrutinise the lighting market to ensure for retailer and consumer alike Smart lights offer the best value for money for the quality of the light you get… bar none.

What’s next for Smart? Any surprises up its sleeves?
We have many exciting new developments coming through for next season that we can talk about nearer the time, but I’m sworn to secrecy until then… watch this space.

What incentives and benefits are there for potential stockists?

There are many and we’d welcome the opportunity to discuss these in person with any retailers out there who would like to experience these benefits for themselves.
These include fully inclusive stockist deals to suit all retailer budgets and fantastic margins with virtually zero returns for complete peace of mind. We also offer in-store point of sale and 100 per cent supply for the whole range.

www.fisherb2b.com

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