Matt Frankel

Editor in chief of Dealerscope

To strengthen their cases with retailers and end-users, warranty companies are shoring up efforts on all fronts - marketing, customer support and sales training - while driving home the perennial "peace of mind" message the category has been built on.

Sales of extended warranties, despite a few glitches right before last year’s fourth quarter, seem to have stabilized going into the new year, due mainly to providers that have ramped up dealer programs and retailers who have discovered new strategies and leveraged market trends to push the coverage.

Maximizing a product sale nowadays means attaching an extended service plan, which is often challenging in this age of the penny-conscious, Internet-educated consumer. Sales associates need to be prepared with the right customer-qualifying gambits, all the necessary background information to answer questions simply and accurately, and a logical defense strategy to fend off arguments against spending a little extra now to avoid spending a lot more later. Some of the industry’s key executives spoke to us about how to perfect the art of the warranty sale. Tune in for Part II next month. What are the best strategies retail salespeople can use

Eight Decades of Advertising and Merchandising Consumer Electronics By Joe Paone and Collin Keefe You could say consumer electronics and appliance advertising and merchandising has been all about windows these last 80 years. Store windows stand as the ultimate synthesis of advertising and merchandising, attracting customers into the store and delivering marketing messages (advertising) while promoting and displaying products on the retail premises (merchandising). The windows of the 1940s were those of the family-owned independent dealers, stalwarts of Main Street, anchors in the commercial districts of downtown U.S.A. The windows of the late 1950s began to look more global, as Japanese manufacturers entered the

Still Looking for AnswersBy Tatyana SinioukovAlthough retailers are slow to realize the benefits of selling extended service plans online and they haven't yet penned down the online marketing strategy for the ESPs that works, the Internet did make the sales of ESPs more customer-focused. And, despite the gloomy economic forecast, ESP providers predict an increase in online sales. So how has the Internet changed warranty sales and logistics for the consumer electronics market? "The Internet serves two purposes. One is e-commerce, another is to provide a wealth of information," said Kharl Mena, vice president of new business development, Warrantech. "Today, with more people

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