Lead Hikvision Ezviz Direct-to-Customer Sales

Author: Brian Karas, Published on Oct 10, 2016

Hikvision continues to ramp up its direct-to-customer sales.

And you can lead the team.

In this note, we examine what Hikvision is seeking, what they are doing to advance their direct business and their chances of success.

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Comments (26)

If HIK is selling this kit for $199, and amazon is making a cut ($20?) after manufacturing and shipping, how much could HIK possibly be making on this? Let's say they make $100. Wouldn't two or three tech support calls eat up this profit if you are paying your tech support staff $20/hr? I can't imagine an end-user NOT needing tech support at some point, especially trying to configure motion-triggered recording or port forwarding/reader QR code for auto-setup.

What's the end game here for HIK? These kits are fixed at 4 cameras, you can't add more, so they can't be looking for upsales. I don't understand the strategy - at least with professional IP cameras, you can expect to sell more, or sell upgrades etc. It seems like the Home Kit market has zero possibility for more revenue after initial sale and almost guaranteed future costs to support from HIK (tech support). What is going on here?

You start to see why the Chinese Government conspiracy theories make more and more sense.. Maybe this is just a way to get inside every network in every home in America. Will the payoff be one gigantic DDOS attack in a few years?

Will the payoff be one gigantic DDOS attack in a few years?

Or a million small local ones, taking everyone offline.

Thats why the Chinese goverment is putting money to Hikvision. Sooner or later they will not be able to keep it on this way... They are totally destroying the market and not just in the US.

Wooooow... How does anyone in the industry sit comfortably with this? Hikvision sure knows how to burn us all down the the ground in style.

What's next, Hikvision displays at Best Buy and Hikvision certified installers? Invading Magnolia and cutting everyone else out altogether?

Jesus... and they sit on enough cash to buffer the overhead for all of that too.

Winter is coming to Westeros.

Edit: Spoke too soon. They're even already at Walmart/Maomart.

Either we collectively have to find a way to shut out the retail options and let Hikvision play alone in the dirt, or we're all getting dragged into the mud.

Where you been, Robert?

Dahua and Hikvision have been in Big Box for years now.

Before it wasn't literally themselves directly. Trust me, I sold Swann and Q-See. Now Hikvision wants to cut them out altogether. It's why Swann dropped Hikvision as well. The Dahua I've seen in retail box models seem to be older stock. I don't see any of our current lineup in current box kits.

Before it wasn't literally themselves directly.

Oh, I agree. I jumped to the conclusion that you were championing the integrator here, lamenting the on-shelf retail availibility of 8 ch kits for $400, etc. I didn't consider the OEM angle. Apologies.

Yes, Hik thru Ezviz is a slap in the face to their OEM partners.

Though, Ezviz provides at least a thin cover to real Hik integrators thru its multi-colored schlocky branding.

Dahua on the other hand, just looks like Dahua.

Btw, I ran into a fully stocked Dahua retail case not that long ago in a Mom+Pop hobby store.

I ran into a fully stocked Dahua retail case not that long ago in a Mom+Pop hobby store.

Any idea if that is US Dahua or grey market Dahua? Just curious given their distribution 'options'

Not sure. These are the models they had out ~ 9 months ago... (can be zoomed for detail.)

This is the future - Made by Hikvision , Sold by Hikvision , installed by Hikvision.

Distributors - what are they ?

Not every client wants this level of product. The ones that do probably wouldn't be a client I want anyways. I know it lowers expectations for the industry overall, and that is my main concern. But, generally speaking, the DIY capable guy probably wasn't going to pay me thousands more anyways.

You may be correct in the market as it exists today, but think about trying to buy a good quality camera and recorder even 5 years ago. Prices were much higher, selection was more limited, and it was harder to know if a given camera and recorder would work together as desired. Add to this the fact that if you did find a place to purchase equipment, their return policies might be overly strict if the equipment did not work out.

Now, a simple 4 or 8 camera system, where all the components are guaranteed to work together, is about the price of a single 1080p camera not that long ago. And, you can buy from Amazon or Walmart, places that have excellent return policies.

These kinds of kits, and direct sales, are growing the DIY market at the expense of what would have previously been customers of you and other integrators. Surely there are some DIY types that will wait for prices to drop before they ever hire a pro, but there are also people who would have previously hired a pro (and been a "great" customer) and will now buy a kit instead.

Jon, where the problem comes in as follows:

1. Customer A wants cameras installed. Customer A receives a quote from a qualified integrator for Axis M series cameras. For a couple thousand less Customer A could go with some Lorex camera system and DIY. At that point the customer is making a decision as to whether the qualified integrator product is worth the cost differential. They may, and likely will still go with Costco special but even post-DIY install there will be some doubt in the mind of Customer A.

2. Customer B receives a quote for rebranded Hikvision cameras from a qualified integrator who insists the low price and quality combo can't be beat. Customer B then sees the Hikvision kit on a Walmart shelf for 1/3 the price of the install. It's the same cameras though, right?

Under option 2 the position is less defensible. The integrator has to default to "our install quality is greater than DIY" arguments. At a certain point it is likely that a customer will realize that it doesn't take an artisan to make what essentially amounts to long patch cables reliably.

Ezviz system is not on par with the pro systems. They don't officially support VMS so even if it works, you will not get support for it.

The cloud connection is P2P so the connectivity is not stable as using DDNS.

If you are thinking about using the browser for the DVR/NVR system, you have to use their cloud solution which doesn't support device configuration and setup menus.

You can't login to the DVR via web browser for admin function. You have to logon to the actual DVR/NVR.

Ezviz is geared a lot towards DIY consumers.

I agree that there are definite differences between Ezviz and the pro Hikvision systems, the lack of the web interface being one of them. It makes fine configuration difficult, as you have to use the local interface, since most parameters aren't exposed directly in EZVIZ.

However, I'd say that that suits the market it's intended for, home and SMB DIYers, as many/most would get lost in menus and don't know how different options impact their video, anyway. There are a lot of consumer/DIY focused systems that don't give these options, allow direct access to bitrate, DNR, gain, etc., as it adds confusion for less experienced users.

Also, I haven't seen stability issues in using P2P cloud connections, whether that's Ezviz, Dahua, Nest, Canary, or other platforms. If anything, it has seemed simpler to deal with. Requiring port forwarding in DIY-centric systems is difficult, as many users again simply don't know what they're doing.

Dahua's P2P is ver unreliable. Sure, it works when you set it up, but a month later it won't work.

Is this similar to Hikvision selling IP cameras on Amazon (by company Hikvision) versus buying from an authentic distributor at a 30% higher cost?

It burns those installers/integrators that are trying to be competitive, only to find out that the cameras are cheaper online.

At Amazon, "by company xxxx" mainly refer to product manufacturer. The actual seller is shown after "Sold by....."

Anyone shocked by this article has had their head buried in the ground. Hik has always been this way and you turned a blind eye because you were reaping the profits of grossly overcharging your customers for substandard products.

Grossly overcharging? So what's an acceptable profit margin? Do you like the race to the bottom? Are we all supposed to only sell cameras at China's pricing? Last we checked this is not just a subsistence industry.

Do you understand all the effort that goes into bringing products from overseas, selling them, supporting them, and installing them?

Hikvision, as much as they ARE my competition, the product itself is standard. Not extraordinary, sometimes pretty damn good, but certainly not substandard across the board. There's MUCH much worse quality wise. Have you heard of Longse? I mean seriously.

Hik has always been ready to screw anyone and everyone over for market share, that's for sure. However, it's not because Hikvision's products are garbage that everyone's complaining. If they were just another cookie-cutter waste product manufacturer, then we could easily write them off. It's because they have tons of money from being government sponsored and they don't care that they're only making less than 20% profit all for the sake of market share AND their products can't be so easily dismissed by the security industry as nothing more than just a joke.

This sucks for EVERYONE! If we are going to beat our competition, we have to give them the respect level they deserve at the same time as a formidable product line that we have to contend with at more than just the price level. Their products follow a rapid pace of development and they can hang with the just about everything else in the industry. Never discount that.

Now, back to the grossly overcharging thing. Are you accusing the security industry of overvaluing themselves? Members of IPVM? Are you suggesting that somehow we're bleeding people by selling at the prices we sell and that support for these products is cost free to us?

I would actually say that generally speaking HIK has the superior products right now in most categories, with the exception being some of the Axis PTZ cameras.

The fact that HIK is also the cheapest is insane! Make money while you can, because as more and more integrators switch to HIK, the "race to the bottom" will transfer from manufacturers to integrators and things will start to get ugly. In the same way that camera manufacturers will need to reinvent themselves or go out of business, larger integrators will need to find new revenue streams or start laying off staff as newer leaner and more nimble smaller companies compete on price like never before.

I appreciate your responses as there is much truth to what you both said. I was referring to the almost decade long past of Hik Tactics whereby offering customers the same products as the higher-end manufacturers at half the price when I mentioned substandard. Yes, recently Hik has caught up on all fronts but this is the monster that our own industry has created.

If you bought and sold Hik products under your own oem brand and didn't have the foresight to know that they would be coming after your market, your customers and everything else, then I do not know what to tell you. They've been doing that in other markets like Latin America for many years now.

It's not so much as a race to the bottom but rather taking a fair approach and not jumping on the lowest price possible band wagon. Let's be real, integrators/installers do seriously over charge for their services. The price of installation has long been higher than the price of the product for a long time now. It used to be that an installer would buy the system for $2,500-$3000 and charge the customer $5k for the products and install. Then Hik came around and installers started buying the products for half the price or less and still charge the $5k. I see it happen here in our local market all the time. That is what I meant by grossly overcharging. But hey, you reap what you sow.

Robert we don't know each other but I too know what the process is like of bringing in products from overseas, selling/supporting etc.

An installer would buy the system for $2,500-$3000 and charge the customer $5k for the products and install. Then Hik came around and installers started buying the products for half the price or less and still charge the $5k. I see it happen here in our local market all the time.

Maybe you are not seeing the other 9 times that consumers demand internet prices and then expect to pay less than those discounted prices for installation, or else they ruin the good deal they are getting on product.

Hi Undisclosed,

In reference to your statement, that's where we come in as security professionals and explain to the customer that if they buy the product online, it may be cheaper but they will be without support. Ask your customer if they've ever tried calling a manufacturers support line and experienced the customer support quality. A lot of companies even charge for over the phone support after 3 months of purchase date. The general consumer does not know how to set up their cameras on their phone or open ports on their router etc.. they will need a professional to help them with these tasks.

Yes, the product you're selling may be more expensive than online prices but that's because you let them know that you have their back.

At the end of the day, we can't win them all. I've had customers leave me for cheaper alternatives only to come back later and admit that the level of support provided by other companies is not worth the cheaper prices.

Once you make that shift from industrial to consumer, the commodification of cameras will be all but complete - and it's coming soon.

You better be selling and creating a solution that is knowledge and culturally based. SIs will scrap for every advantage and price is always the 600 lbs Gorilla.

Won't let distributors sell to public but doing it them self ?, watch out distributors as you may no longer be needed.

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