Surpassing Category Leaders
Powerplay Rep Group
Established in 2005, tech21 has been changing the game in tech protection for years by specializing in shock-absorbing accessories for phones and other devices. As a UK brand, they secured global distribution with Apple, however needed to carve a path to the US mass retail and direct to consumer channels.
Key Issues Faced
- tech21 faced intense competition in the category and limited retail real estate on the sales floor.
- Compressed margins as a result of the specialized nature of their product materials and manufacturing process posed a challenge for retail.
- An international supply chain made the prospect of retail placement even more challenging.
- tech21 partnered with Powerplay Rep Group in 2014 and helped with the launch of key SKUs at both Best Buy and Target for Apple and Samsung devices.
- Propelled by their existing success with Apple and placements at Best Buy, tech21 was able to secure incremental retail growth at carrier stores, regional and specialty retailers and department stores.
- In 2019, Powerplay Rep Group secured placement in Walmart, rounding out placements in the top three US mass-retailers.
- At their sales peak in 2019, tech21 surpassed the decade-long industry leader, Otterbox as the #1 selling phone case brand in the US.
As momentum in the retail channel continued to build, tech21 looked to take on the direct-to-consumer market. Soon faced with inconsistent management of the brand through Amazon’s Vendor Central, pricing challenges and unauthorized sellers, tech21 became aware of the severe issues that would need to be addressed to grow in the channel.
Key Issues Faced
- No authorized seller agreement in place at the distribution level, there was no prevention of future product disruption in the space.
- Consistent MAP violations from unauthorized sellers had negative margin implications in the retail channel.
- An outdated Amazon storefront did not communicate a consistent brand experience and listings we were not relevant or competitive enough in the saturated Amazon marketplace.
- tech21 partnered with Powerplay Direct in 2018 to leverage the team’s established Amazon expertise.
- The team quickly implemented a buy/sell model across the full tech21 assortment.
- Provided guidance on authorized distribution partners and “do not sell” lists to avoid channel disruption.
- Powerplay Direct content specialists optimized the listings to align with the brand standards for a consistent customer experience that was relevant to the channel. Then, linked all listings back to the brand storefront and reviewed listings to ensure they adhered to Amazon’s stringent policies.
- Powerplay Direct implemented the Brand Protection Monthly Maintenance program that that removed over 70% of unauthorized sellers and enforced the tech21 trademarks globally.
- In addition to cleansing and taking control of the channel, Amazon soon became an outlet for excess and end of life inventory while reducing noise in the marketplace.
- In response to the global pandemic, we adjusted messaging in the listing and advertising campaigns to highlight the anti-microbial technology making the product hyper-relevant to consumers.