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Keeping Track Of Rebates A Major Concern

8/17/2010 09:07:00 AM

The industry has to manage the instant rebates (IRs) for HDTVs because the myriad of plans and paperwork by manufacturers are driving retailers crazy and hurting them financially.

Retailers have said they are so tough to keep track of, they should be dropped. The situation is such that the demise of some retailers in the past year has been blamed on late rebate payments in this depressed economy.

At this week’s Nationwide Marketing Group’s PrimeTime! Convention in National Harbor, Md., Mike Decker, Nationwide Marketing Group’s merchandising senior VP of electronics, discussed the subject with TWICE.

“The industry has to get control of rebates. This is a cash-flow issue for the independent retailers. The timing of rebates must be improved to two weeks to 30 days to get paid. [Rebate programs] need to be improved by all major manufacturers. It has been destructive to all independent retailers in the U.S., and it should be improved.”

And rebates are valuable because they “drive significant footprints into stores. They will drive traffic into stores,” Decker added.

He noted that LG “has listened and improved its process. They have done it better than anyone else we have done business with.”

Some retailers have taken it upon themselves to “hire specific individuals to track their rebates [by manufacturers] because rebates from all suppliers end at different days of the week. If you don’t have dedicated people to keep track of the individual sales, you will lose money.”

Decker has come to the conclusion, “The vendor that comes up with a turnkey solution [for rebates] will be a real winner.”

With the economy going the way it is and the industry anxious to create more store traffic — and web hits — rebates aren’t going away any time soon, so a smooth way of keeping track of them is vital.

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