Best Buy’s Mohan on the Importance of Exclusive Product Launches
Dealerscope recently spoke with Mike Mohan, president of Best Buy’s Home Business Group, during the launch of LG’s CURVED OLED TV ($14,999) at the Magnolia Design Center in Richfield, Minn. He spoke about the importance of having first dibs on major product launches, marketing and merchandising strategies around new products, and the need for an educated retail sales forces. Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Dealerscope: Best Buy’s Magnolia has an exclusive deal, at least for a couple of months, to be the first retailer in the country to sell LG’s CURVED OLED TV. How important, in terms of overall sales and attracting customers into the stores, is it to have first shot at this?
Mohan: It’s what best buy stands for. We believe what we bring to consumers is a compelling place to shop for consumer electronics. We stand for the latest and greatest. Working with a great partner like LG to get a chance to introduce OLED TV is really important. It’s part of what we’ve been doing over the course of the last few years: to make sure that when new stuff is available we’re out there first, telling consumers about it and creating a great experience in the stores so people can understand what is new about the technology we are showing.
Dealerscope: How many of the CURVED OLEDs do you expect to sell within a year?
Mohan: I don’t even have a point of view on that. It’s a brand-new technology in a price point that hasn’t existed in televisions in a very long time.
The success of the product won’t be deemed on its sell through, it will be deemed on its consumer interest, brand advocacy for LG, and potential overall LG business, which we’re quite happy with right now. It’s a first-generation (product). What it will do is create value, not in terms of a discount but in terms of a higher performance TV that consumers can appreciate.
Dealerscope: Talk about your marketing and merchandising strategy.
Mohan: We’re bringing it out in 10 markets across the U.S.A. LG understands how important new technologies are to Best Buy. So the value of Magnolia Design Center is with its dedicated sales professionals and qualified installation teams. We feel that merchandising OLED TVs inside the design center as the launch strategy is the best chance for consumers to be aware of the technology and to get a really high-quality demonstration of the technology. We think it’s a good way for the industry to leverage a part of Best Buy to get new technology into the market in a way that’s responsible and effective.
Dealerscope: Will the CURVED OLED take a lot of education and handholding on the sales floor or is it something that will it sell itself because of the nature of the technology?
Mohan: It’s going to appeal to a certain customer set given its price point. For that client, when they see the television set, it willsell itself. The performance is stunning. It’s a unique design that will sell itself in that space. It also shows you the art of the possible, where the TV category will be going over the next two to three years. It’s exciting because there are a lot of people who still want to put new TVs into their homes. It’s still one of the most sought after CE items, despite where we are at the adoption curve.
Dealerscope: When will the CURVED OLED be sold on the floors of general Best Buy stores?
Mohan: I don’t’ know when that will happen. It’s based on a number of factors, like inventory availability and consumers response. But what you will see is that Best Buy in general has been accelerating new technologies through our broader store base faster than ever because consumer expectation is that the latest and greatest will be in their Best Buy stores. We believe (OLED) is here to stay. It’s the first generation of the product, but as it evolves I believe all Best Buy stores will have some assortment of OLED TVs in the future.
Related story: Why LG Bypassed Specialty Retailers on OLED TV Launch