The more retailers we talk to the more it seems pure CE retail, one without some type of service model attached, is quickly becoming a thing of the past. As outlined in the two stories that make up this month’s cover package (beginning on page 38), as well as a handful of other stories throughout the magazine, it’s clearly been a rewarding ride over the last year for the retailers that have taken a risk or at least the extra steps to redesign stores, revamp Web sites, reposition product lines, add new training initiatives and increase their consulting, installation and integration services. We love to
Editor In Chief
Affordable front-projection home theater systems could be the next solution that differentiates your business by broadening value-added service offerings, improving overall margins and increasing customers. Until now, front-projection theater solutions weren’t much of an option for specialty and broader CE retailers. Most consumers considered them beyond their budgets and were unfamiliar with the choices. Most manufacturers didn’t market the full solution as an affordable option, and most retailers didn't have the sales and installation capabilities to sell and support the systems. Two stories that bookend this month’s issue—our first Pipeline story on Epson’s new Ensemble package and our case study on Theater Xtreme (p.
You can tell something’s taking hold in the retail channel when, without actually looking, it hits you from all sides and from a variety of sources. The overall message became clear while I was editing the stories for this month’s issue: To survive in this tough environment, in which competition increases as fast as margins fall, retailers of all stripes must take the initiative to recommend full solutions to their customers and clearly explain the services they offer to optimize, maintain and upgrade those solutions. Ignore the full solution—the combination of hardware, software and services—and you’re leaving dollars on the floor. This isn’t new. What
The Pro Group recently announced a “virtual distribution” model with Panasonic, calling for the latter to tie the participating retailers’ point-of-sale systems into its Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment system. One of the most important pieces of the program, however, seems to be the dedicated sales rep Panasonic will assign to each account, providing the human contact and one-on-one consulting that no electronic system can replace. Retailers constantly tell us they do the most business with the vendors that provide them with a trusted, readily available single point of contact. There’s no reason Panasonic shouldn’t see the same results if the program is executed