For some people, spare parts are only something they reach for when something goes wrong. This category of people could be known as the prebuilt crowd.
When they buy a product, they want it fully assembled and set up, ready to go as soon as they get it out of the box. If individual parts need replacing or installed, they’ll likely hire someone to do it – or even change their overall product selection beforehand if they know that installations will be needed.
There are others who could be known as the tinkerers. They love creating setups, swapping parts, and building their own configurations of components. This could be true whether they’re choosing a central processing unit/graphics processing unit pair for a computer build, or a speaker set/subwoofer set for a sound system.
But whether you’re buying a part for a product or looking for a full setup, going to a specialty organization is important. For those seeking something like audio equipment, finding an industry expert can lead to a better experience.
An Audio-Focused Organization: Who Are They?
Parts Express is a company that brings to mind high-quality parts just from the name. They seem like an all-purpose tech location perhaps akin to a company like Newegg. But the key difference here is they have a specialty: audio equipment.
From sound systems to theater equipment to custom products, there are plenty of industries Parts Express appeals to. But how does this company rate in terms of their customer feedback, inventory, and overall status as a reliable vendor?
In this review, we’ll examine the company’s history and consider how they hold up. Are they a company that you could consider doing business with and feel comfortable spending your money on? Or are they a specialty company that really has nothing special to speak of?
Who is Parts Express? Key Facts, History, and More
Parts Express has been in business since 1986. The Ohio-based audio equipment company has a 120,000 square-foot facility, and over 18,000 audio components with hundreds of brands represented.
They have several specialty areas within their audio equipment focus. There’s home audio, for those people who enjoy having a nice speaker system, a soundbar, or some surround setups in their living/dining/entry rooms. Then there’s a selection of commercial audio for companies who know a good workplace is one where instructions and feedback can be clearly transmitted and received.
There’s also professional audio and lighting equipment for live presentations, whether for business or pleasure, and of course, tech for mobile devices. This makes them a great company from a perspective of inventory selection – at least categorically. More on individual products later.
But what about how the company rates in terms of the buying experience they offer customers? It is important to remember that this experience can be just as important as the products themselves. Good companies know that repeat business is key for consistent revenue and growth. The company boasts a customer-focused culture, which they say helps them maintain an excellent reputation among customers.
It is worth noting the company has come a long way. In their humble origins decades ago, it was just a small team located on the floor above an old automotive plant. That’s a small beginning, and the team has been around for long since – which, in itself is a testament to their longevity.
But the company’s status as a local company may cause some to wonder why they didn’t expand as a chain if they were successful enough in their unique industry. Technically, Parts Express has expanded. But rather than going to new locations, they’ve worked with various other industries and groups to help increase their business’s presence.
They work with multiple private companies and work in unique areas like the gaming industry and amusement parts. These types of customers can sometimes have trouble finding audio equipment for their unusual needs. Big box retailers and electronics stores sometimes carry audio equipment – even good equipment – but they simply don’t stay geared for customers who don’t come around that often.
Rather than working with these options yearly or monthly to fulfill their needs, these kinds of customers are sometimes better off finding a local specialty company to work with. Parts Express also works with various public organizations like schools. They’re involved with churches, charities, and plenty of other groups that appreciate good audio equipment. But in terms of you, their potential customer, what can they offer?
Let’s look at this from the perspective of a newcomer who goes to the company’s site to browse their product line – what will they find?
Products and Product Categories from Parts Express
We can see Parts Express focuses on a certain type of buying experience. The lavish showroom full of equipment, the trained staff who have specialized knowledge to match the company focus, and of course, a number of ongoing partnerships that mean repeat business.
But what about their product line? Let’s go by the main categories listed on the organizations’ website, breaking down what you can expect to find in each category.
This category immediately presents us with plenty of options for fixing up a place of residence. Home audio amps, stereo receivers, and digital audio/video converters are some of the first options listed. This is followed by a speaker selection consisting of subwoofers, floor/standing selections, and bookshelf speakers. They even carry in-wall speakers, ceiling speakers, and the kits you need to install said devices, including brackets and grills.
You can also find a lot of the other components you need to fix your system that don’t even factor into audio. This includes TV stands and mounts, including shelves, brackets, and mounts. Combined with their wide selection of connectors and adapters, this makes them a great source of audio accessories. Cable and connector options include HDMI, DVI, VGA, RCA, and 3.5mm audio.
They also carry headphone and headphone amplifiers for private sound quality. As for the cable/satellite section in this category, includes splitters and connectors of various types. There’s also similar accessories for mobile/tablet, as well as multi-room audio distribution systems to spread the sound around. And finally, there are power connectors and surge protectors to help you manage your setup safely.
Parts Express wouldn’t be a true audio company if they didn’t have a specialty area dedicated to speakers. Sure, you’ll find some in the previous category, but this one goes a bit more in depth.
You can find woofers for all types of frequency ranges and even full-range drivers. There are speakers for guitars, basses, and many other types of equipment. You can turn your sound setup into an audio research lab with the selection of audio measurement tools – or you can build your own setup with speaker wires and cabinets. It’s like we mentioned at the start – parts companies know some people like to build their own setup, so they offer everything you may need.
There are cleaning and maintenance products for your speakers, including dust caps, grill clothes, re-foam kits, and more. It’s a smart product selection – after all, anyone who spends money on a good sound system deserves the equipment to maintain it and protect their investment.
The Pro Audio section has some overlap. You’ll notice the speakers for musical instruments here, as well as woofers, speakers, plus more. But there’s also a selection of other equipment you’ll almost always find used in the context of a live show.
PA systems, power amps, live sound mixers, mics, and more – it’s all offered in this section. There’s a variety of other parts you can use to help line out the stage. From fog machines to laser lights, there’s everything a customer could need when they’re setting up a stage show or throwing a party.
Last but certainly not least is car audio. This is a smart category pick. If the most common place to find a sound system isn’t a living room or a party, it’s an automobile. There’s something about being able to feel like you’re in a concert hall when you’re driving down the road.
This section offers car speakers for dashes, doors, and decks, as well as subs complete with a variety of boxes. There’s also a wide selection of installation accessories including harnesses, mounting adapters, baffles, sound dampening foam, AM/FM receivers, mobile receivers and LCD monitors, review cameras, power cable terminals, and car audio capacitors.
As we can see, Parts Express has the inventory selection on lock – despite being a specialty company, they’ve been able to split their inventory up into even more distinct sub-categories, effectively increasing their reach and making it easier for customers to find the things they want.
But there’s also an important factor we haven’t talked about yet. While Parts Express has a great history, a business plan centered around a great buying experience, and a wide selection of products, it is also important to take into account customer feedback.
How Does Parts Express Do in the Review Category?
It may be hard to believe now, but there was a time when people didn’t think customer reviews would be a model to go off of. While it seems intuitive, feedback systems weren’t always what they are now. But various sites now exist to rate an organization’s performance, so let’s look at a few of them.
If we go to Yelp, we can see there aren’t a lot of reviews. But the catch is, the customers have deemed the company worthy of visiting, resulting in an overall rating of 4/5. But we also find Site Jabber, we see more reviews. In this case, there are eleven in total. But the overall rating is lower, falling to a 2.5/5.
But the biggest telling audience in terms of review is usually those who weigh in on their experience on the company’s Google page. Despite being known primarily for their search engine, Google has done a lot of good with all the things that come with their engine, namely local listings for companies like Parts Express, which list direction, hours, and a place for customers to leave feedback.
Here we see the company has over 180 reviews – and their overall rating is a 4.3/5.
That’s a telling number, and it shows the organization has mastered their field to the point of giving customers the right experience from beginning to end. It is one thing to be involved in a specialty field in terms of just having the inventory. Having the right team matters, too – but even that isn’t the whole story.
Companies who are able to put everything together usually do the best in terms of customer service. Their professed buying experience wasn’t just a clever marketing statement. Parts Express has a lock on their industry in their area, and they have the positive customer feedback to back it up.
Final Verdict: What Can Parts Express Offer?
For some people, their quest to buy audio equipment ends as soon as they see the first decent speaker set at their local retail chain. Even the additional adapters they need, or the spare parts they require for their newest project, are often ordered from various vendors through online shopping sites. How is it possible for a specialty company in a limited location to expand?
Parts Express knows their industry, and their continued focus on a broad and diversified product line within the confines of their field has given them many opportunities. But it is their focus on providing a good customer experience that has truly helped them expand. Their broad market is an evidence of this. With customers in the private and public sector, ranging from ongoing to ad hoc, they’re a company that keeps multiple revenue streams.
Audio equipment is an important part of everyday life. Our vehicles, our favorite stores, our local organizations – all of them depend on transmitting sound to listeners in the right way. With a company like Parts Express, anyone in or around the Ohio area can find great audio equipment.