TV Vendors: Independent Dealers Still Matter

Dealerscope recently talked to executives from several of the major TV manufacturers about how they are re-strategizing their businesses to gain profits and to help dealers capture higher-ticket sales and better margins through the rest of the year. Here’s the first of a series of outtakes from the interviews. Expect more in the coming days at See our July issue for the full report.

DEALERSCOPE: Relationships between independent dealers and TV manufacturers are more strained than they’ve ever been. Do independent dealers matter to you any more?

Michael Fasulo, Executive Vice President, Sales Operations, Sony: Yes, we have always been and continue to be supportive of independent dealers. Not only is their existence good for America and their success needed for a healthy return in this nation but also critical to drive excitement in the CE industry. Regional independent dealers account for more than a third of our business. They have the staff, the knowledge and the intimacy to provide one-to-one experiences to consumers while demonstrating the full benefit of today’s great products and services of Sony’s offering. They complete the value equation.

Jay Vandenbree, Senior Vice President, Home Entertainment, LG: Independents have always been important to the television business, and today is no different. Televisions are more complicated; I’d give anybody a dollar if they could define ‘smart.’ Every manufacturer has a different way of approaching what ‘smart’ is, and how they approach what 3D is, or different ways of talking about backlighting on television, or different ways of describing ‘thin.’ An independent retailer is best able to define many of those differences, qualify a consumer as to which are best for him and why, and then to service beyond that in installation and setup. They’re really trusted advisors, and I don’t think that’s gone away at all. Where things have changed a little is where independents have tried to be more closely aligned with national accounts and to have a presence beyond what normal independent retailers would have. That’s one of the reasons we chose to approach the third-party marketplace issue as a solution to some things rather than a unilateral pricing program.

Editor in chief of Dealerscope
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  • david

    These guys should be politicians. They talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Margins are non-existent on even the high-end models and many products are not available to the independent dealers.

  • Cap

    One might summarize the article on TV Vendors believing independent retailers still "important" as the tail wagging the dog. I’d say, "what dog?", only the tail is left. Buyers’ groups – do something real! Source your own products!

  • Tony Cuchiara

    The title of the story should have been TV Vendors: Regional Dealers Still Matter. Based on the content of the story that would have been more appropriate in my opinion.

  • Jim Feeney

    The comments of these vendors have a hollow ring to them. Sure they say they need independent retailers, but not one of them has created an environment that makes it virtually impossible to make a profit. These companies and their people are truly ignorant about what it takes to run a successful retail store. They know nothing of the costs involved. 70% of the independent retailers selling TV’s 10 years ago have stopped selling TV’s, why? They are not running charities, some profit is required. Collectively, the world’s TV manufacturers have gone down the commodity road and not one of them has proposed any viable alternative for their retailers or for themselves.