The Specialty Retail Advantage
It is not just an urban legend that customers have been repeatedly told in some of the major chain stores that the gas leaks out of plasma displays and needs to be recharged periodically. This kind of misinformation is not good for vendors who have placed enormous resources into developing new technology and manufacturing facilities.
You can avoid this by upgrading your installation department. Almost everything specialists sell becomes part of a system. The big-box stores have recently discovered custom installation. We will see what success they have over the next few years. Luckily, most of us have a head start in this arena, but we must keep that lead. Properly designed and installed systems create customer satisfaction that drives repeat sales for not only the retailer, but the vendor as well. CEDIA is a great resource for training your installers, and for adding another certification process to tout to your customers and vendors.
Sometimes supporting vendor efforts to launch new technologies requires taking a deep breath. Not every product launch goes flawlessly, but specialty retailers, with their higher level of customer support and rapport, are better suited to deal with product failures and service issues. The last thing a vendor wants is to lose a customer, and the way in which problems are handled can turn a disaster into an opportunity. Specialists are often an early warning system that allows vendors to correct problems before a new product goes into mass distribution. Vendors absolutely need this partnership. Let them know commitment has costs and risks.