Percy's Gets Stimulated
First off, Lavine met with his top appliance vendors, including Samsung and Frigidaire (the two that offered the most support), as well as Whirlpool and GE, at the Nationwide PrimeTime conference and buying show at the beginning of March. He took advantage of every deal, secured the right inventory and worked with the vendors on additional rebates and marketing support.
Percy's then prepared a six-page circular to run in the local and regional papers. It clearly listed on the front all of the steps consumers had to take to become eligible for the rebates (a complex process in itself), including the phone number and Web site for the state program, as well as the paperwork they needed to bring to Percy's.
The circular also included loads of door-buster dealers, like 18 free Whirlpool dishwashers, deep discounts and mail-in rebates, on top of the Appliance Exchange rebates. Since only a little more than 100 of Percy's customers became eligible for the rebates, Lavine wanted to make sure he could leverage the event to draw and satisfy consumers who weren't eligible. (Here's how he worked the math to figure out how many customers to expect and how much inventory to order: If a customer was eligible for $625 in total rebates and there was about $5.5 million in Massachusetts' rebate pot, that meant the program was open to 8,800 Massachusetts consumers. About 240 state-wide dealers of all sizes registered to participate, which would average about 37 customers per store. Lavine figured Percy's would draw about three times the average.)