By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Form factor, features, and price were the key ingredients in the success of VTech's 2431 multihandset cordless-phone system, retailers agree. Nonetheless, some master retail chefs supplemented the recipe with their own touches to add zest to the 2431's sellthrough.
Vinny Servello, Staples senior buyer, attests to the phone's appeal. "It's a very versatile phone [that] allows customers to create a phone system in their home or home office using one phone line," he said. "It's affordable and has good features and good sound quality."
Within Staples stores, 2431 sales also likely benefited from the VTech brand's in-store visibility. Last year, Staples expanded its selection of VTech and VTech-made AT&T-brand phones to 75 percent of its phone SKUs to gain logistics advantages, VTech said.
Other retailers were also aggressive VTech promoters. Not only did Best Buy aggressively advertise the product, but it did a killer job of explaining the benefits of expandable multihandset systems to consumers in its circulars, said product manager Brad Pittman.
At Target, buyer Bob Fust said the chain "segmented off the new 2.4GHz product into its own display area," helping drive 2431 sales. Nonetheless, he said, "at the end of the day, it's the product with the features at the compelling price that carried the day."
Also aiding VTech sellthrough, he said, was VTech's early time to market. The company "was one of the first companies to jump into 2.4 GHz and introduce the multiple handset systems to mass merchandisers," he said. The 2431 was the company's lead price point item with Caller ID and dual keypad speakerphone, he noted. "Well-styled and leading edge, it gave them a jump on the other leaders in technology, Sony and Panasonic. We brought it in early in 2001 as soon as it hit the market, and used this item and its companion accessory handset to drive 2.4GHz sales through the first half of 2001. It continued to perform even as competitive offerings hit the market later in the year."Top 10 2.4GHz Cordless Phones May 2001-April 2002
|Rank By Unit||Brand/Model||Rank By $ Sales|
|1||General Electric 27930||4|
|6||Southwestern Bell GH2400||15|
|8||General Electric 27910||20|
|Source: NPDTechworld©TWICE 2002|
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