TV Vendors: Independent Dealers Still MatterJune 27, 2012 By Nancy Klosek
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 dealerscope.com. 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.
Henry Hauser, Vice President of Merchandising, Home Entertainment, Panasonic: Independents are very important to us. We’ve really refocused on them. To be specific, we have a variety of products in plasma, so there’s been a big investment from our factory to provide the proper products for proper channels. Each product has a unique selling proposition and features that allow a step strategy. And we feel that only independents can demonstrate some of these key features and the value-added that they represent.