The Harvey Experience
Video has been the driving force of late in Harvey's growth, as audio is more of a challenge. Karp explained that because plasmas and LCDs have been such a hit, customers will drop a lot of cash on those technologies, and the salesperson will often undersell audio, in part to make sure he or she doesn't lose the plasma sale. Karp doesn't think that's the way to go, so he's reinforcing to the sales staff the importance of selling good audio. "The truth is, if a person has $7,000 to $10,000 to spend on a plasma TV, they've got that much or more to spend on audio; that person didn't crack open a piggie bank to make the purchase," he said.
So Harvey is now re-emphasizing audio as just as fashionable and discrete as flat-panel TVs. A new direct-mail campaign, targeting customers who recently bought plasma TVs but not audio products, asks customers to come back to the store to listen to audio demonstrations, and offers them special deals on systems.
As for new audio technologies, Harvey does sell SACD and DVD-A players, but they don't exactly fly off the shelves. Sales staff use multichannel formats for audio demos, and everyone is trained on them, but, Karp said, "[SACD/DVD-A formats] are still perceived by a lot of customers as like selling razor blades, and they don't necessarily get it yet…you have a problem when you have two formats."