Best Buy’s Mohan on the Importance of Exclusive Product Launches

Best Buy's Mike Mohan
LG chooses Magnolia as first CURVED OLED launch partner

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

Related Content
  • Steve Brown

    Good luck with that one, LG and Best Buy! LOL

  • David Munzlinger

    A display of this performance level, technology and price point is almost always sold or integrated into a sophisticated custom home theater system that involves, multi channel amplification,often comprised of separate monoblock components connected via balanced XLR, sophisticated surround sound processors, digital audio front end D/A converter components with separate power supplies, multi-room, audio/video distribution components all often controlled by a custom Crestron system with integrated macro programing. I would not be interested personally in shopping for a display of this magnitude with Magnolia Hi Fi in that I would not trust them to integrate the TV into my existing system. I would trust this installation to a custom home theater specialty store that deals with products of this ilk and technology level constantly and has trained installers that are experienced and comfortable with products that comprise the balance of my home theater system.

    LG can get people to come to BEST BUY Magnolia to view the product but as far as getting true early adopter, esoteric home theater consumers to actually purchase it there… I just cant see it happening because these stores do not have or are certainly not perceived as having the service level and skill necessary to perform the install in many instances.

  • Glendonious

    Mr. Mohan states a good case for Best Buy and their partnership with LG. The interest BB and LG generate for this compelling new technology will be a rising tide that lifts the boats of TV makers, retailers and custom instatllers alike.
    He is a smart guy and the industry needs folks like that!