Retail Innovators – Tony Schreiber, Pedal Genie (2018 Summer NAMM)
During “Retail Innovators” at 2018 Summer NAMM, Tony Schreiber of Pedal Genie discussed his company’s unique business model with NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond. Founded five years ago, Pedal Genie is a subscription-based effects pedal service. (Think Netflix for pedals.) It’s also part of Florida-based music retailer Gear Hero HQ.
According to Schreiber, Pedal Genie’s model works because of a deep, shared pedal inventory with Gear Hero HQ. Also, pedals are small, durable and, as he put it, “value-dense.” In other words, they’re readymade for a subscription retail model. “And coincidentally, we’re in a renaissance of pedals, so that was the perfect product,” Schreiber added.
Early on, Pedal Genie promoted primarily through Facebook ads. As that channel became more saturated, the company turned to podcasting to get the word out. This includes sponsoring podcasts and even creating its own: Pedal Sniffers.
“When we first launched in 2013, our most successful channel was Facebook ads,” Schreiber said. “The targeting of the ads was perfect. It was bringing exactly the people we needed. That seemed to kind of saturate over the first few years or so, and we’ve now migrated to online magazines and sponsored podcasts. And then we’ve now felt it was time to do our own podcast.”
Customer retention can among the biggest challenges of the subscription model. Schreiber said the company combats this with its deep selection. Plus, it reminds customers that you can never have enough pedals.
“There’s always room on your board for another pedal,” he said. “There’s always room to knock one off. And there’s always room for another board.”
And according to Schreiber, the company’s customer base isn’t limited to guitarists with pedalboards either. “One of my favorite customers is a saxophone player. Guitarists are, of course, meat and potatoes, bread and butter. But horn players would probably be the next highest group.”
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