Should drones be a specialty item?
Expert Drones, with three mall-based stores and an e-commerce site, claims to be the first brick-and-mortar retailer dedicated to the sale of unmanned flying machines. The upstart believes it has notable advantages over the mainstream sellers of drones.
The stores carry a much larger selection than the big boxes, department stores and tech specialists, like Brookstone, also hopping on the drone trend. Expert Drones is an authorized dealer of several high-end devices. Overall prices range from $40 to $4,000.
The stores come with an expert staff to offer advice, and contain service departments to handle any operational issues. Speaking to the risks and regulations soon arriving for drones, training classes are offered.
"People can pay to get an expert to come out and show them every function of the drone," Brett Velicovich, one of the founders, told nj.com.
With a focus on high-end shoppers, the stores are located at better malls, such as Tyson’s Corner Mall in McClean, VA; Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale, AZ; and Houston Galleria Mall. A location in Westfield Garden State Plaza will open in spring 2016.
The chain concept arrives as drone sales are expected to surpass 700,000 this year, up from 400,000 sold in 2014, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Beyond hobbyists, the growth is being driven by commercial use by the real estate industry, farmers, broadcast professionals and other industries.
With drones projected to be a huge holiday seller, the FDA is racing to impose new regulations, including requiring drone owners to register the devices. The regulations are meant to address the danger from drones flying too close to airports and other reported incidents.
Currently, hobbyists can fly drones as long as they keep them under 400 feet, at least five miles away from an airport, and never over crowds, sporting events or emergency vehicles. Many owners also don’t know a pilot license is required for commercial use.
"Regulation is a good thing," Mr. Velicovich told nj.com. "It protects consumers."
- Expert Drones
- Drone retailer to open at N.J. mall to feed growing market – nj.com
- Drone retailer to open at NJ mall to feed growing market – nj.com
- Holiday drone sales are big boon for producers – CNBC
- Feds not so happy about toy drones coming to town this year – New York Post
- Unmanned Systems Take Flight at the 2015 International CES – Consumer Technology Association
- Aerial photos, surveys most popular business uses for drones, industry finds – USA Today
- Drone gridlock over Jersey, as FAA seeks registration for unmanned aircraft – nj.com
- Risk to Aircraft From Drones Being Debated – New York Times
Should sales of drones be reserved for specialty retailers with strong product knowledge, advice and service? Do you see regulations putting a damper on the opportunity for retailers?