The Power of Partnerships
Hats off to LG for recently choosing Video & Audio Center, an independent three-store CE specialty dealer based in Lawndale, Calif., as the launch site for the vendor's 84-inch Ultra-High Definition 4K TV. After the lackluster rollout of 3D TVs through big-box retailers - who didn't have much of a clue about how to explain, demonstrate and maintain those sets - we hope LG's 4K launch serves as a memorable example and strong reminder why the specialty dealer channel is the best venue for introducing new technologies.
Jay Vandenbree, LG's senior vice president home entertainment sales and marketing, and his crew couldn't have chosen a better dealer for the big event (see p. 14 for full story and Dealerscope.com for the slideshow). A few weeks leading up to the event, Video & Audio's Joseph and Mayer Akhtarzad used traditional local media and online platforms to tout the launch of one of first big-screen, mass-produced 4K TVs. The event was coupled with a storewide sale on almost every product in the Lawndale shop. Hours before the store even opened the line of curious and deal-hungry consumers stretched around the block and never let up during the day. Inside, it seemed as if every customer who walked through the door ended up at the front of a register with a PO in his or her hand. Not only did the 4K set receive the attention it deserved (including about 20 units sold by the end of the day and some valuable coverage from the national press), but consumers received great deals and Video & Audio chocked up big sales.
We realize that these types of vendor/dealer partnerships are not new and occur every now and then in the channel. DISH's recent partnership (http://www.dealerscope.com/blog/dish-joe-clayton-launches-internet-service-cowboy-maloneys) with Cowboy Maloney's on the launch of a rural Internet service was a great example. But during the last five years or so, they have not happened enough. The downturn forced vendors to cut back on marketing resources and shift their business strategies (however necessary or misguided, depending on how you look at it) to focus more on volume than on value-added sales.