Almo’s Chaiken on Pricing, 3D, Tablets and the Economy

Dealerscope’s Stephen Silver sat down this week for an exclusive interview with Warren Chaiken, Almo’s president and COO, at the recent Mid-Atlantic Expo in Cherry Hill, N.J. In the interview, Chaiken discussed the state of the industry, pricing, the economy, and hot and not-so-hot product categories.

Q: What are the trends that you’re seeing this year in the CE industry, that you’ve been seeing in discussions with dealers?

A: First thing is pricing. As you’re aware, we’re seeing a lot of manufacturers changing their pricing model to make sure that there are opportunities out there for the dealers to make money. The UPP pricing that, in our world, Samsung has instituted, has been for the most part very well accepted by our dealers. And so far it seems to be sticking, and what we’re seeing is that a lot of dealers are starting to come back to the TV business because they see an opportunity to make money from that.

Bigger is better- if you look at the TV space today, I’d say the shift continues to 55, 60, 65, 70, and 80-inch TVs on the consumer side, and that’s where we’re playing more and more today. Years ago our warehouses were full of smaller TV screen sizes, today they’re extremely large TVs that we stock in our warehouses, because that’s what customers are asking for.

Q: Do you still see 3D TV as a viable selling point?

A: I call it the PIP, or the picture-in-picture of 2010 or 2012. Great idea, execution didn’t work well. There was no content available when the product was introduced, and there continues to be very limited product there. It’s not an easy thing for a customer to use, because if you have more people than you do glasses, that’s an issue. And even streaming content is extremely difficult, because of the bandwidth that it sucks up. Though it’s been adopted into many TVs, as we’ve seen from the different industry information, I think the execution or what people are actually using, has not been that strong. At this point I’d say I don’t see this as a viable product, but the industry has always been evolving, and we’ll see what happens in the next couple of years with that kind of product.

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