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Marketing Strategies : Dealing With Competition & Complexity

Dealers overcome holiday challenges with new marketing strategies

September 2011 By Janet Pinkerton

Retailers this holiday selling season face an even more complex dilemma than in the past: figuring out how to profit from mobile electronics amid heavy price competition and a double-digit rise in Internet sales. The problems sound similar to last year's, but they will be more intense this year given the beleaguered economy, weak consumer confidence, the drop in TV sales and the decline of general ASPs.

Specialty dealers and buying group leaders have spent the summer coming up with ways to fight the problems. They dug hard to uncover all possible leverage points to capture the holiday shopper in the face of stiff competition.

Among the more popular strategies planned during that period was the development of new product displays and sales techniques designed to create a customer experience that would deliver two crucial things:

• Quickly and effectively explain complex technologies, such as 3D TV or moving content between tablets, TVs, smartphones and digital cameras.

• Move consumers and margins beyond price competition into value-added sales.

CE retailers are also trying to figure out how to make money from selling intangibles, like content, services and apps in physical and online environments, along with the low-margin products that tie all those together. With that comes the challenge of finding the right merchandising and marketing approach to sell the full solutions that connect consumers with their hardware, content and the cloud. "Everybody is still at the infancy of how to make that work," said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD Group.

New holiday planning shows how some of that is taking shape, as retailers are working to put convergence technologies front and center in consumer's minds and hands during the fourth quarter.

Datavision, for example, recently retooled the entire lower level of its Manhattan showroom, positioning digital cameras in the front of the store, installing branded headphone listening stations, and creating separate displays for iPads, other tablets and Sony's Signature Series line. Many displays are planogrammed by brand.

"There's going to be a lot more room in the store for manufacturers to do demos and promotions," said Albert Liniado, company president. "We're creating more floor space and, at the same time condensing, a lot of the product."

Across town in New York City, Adorama is leveraging its camera heritage by showcasing and explaining digital imaging's interconnectivity with computing and CE technologies. Ahron Schachter, Adorama's director of strategic planning, said building relationships, not transactions, is the goal. Adorama's in-store displays and new online learning center are designed to create a complete and integrated customer experience.

 

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