TWICE: Do you see branded departments as a new CE retail trend?
Tim Coakley, Ingram Micro Consumer Electronics: As manufacturers continue to diversify their product offerings in order to create a superior customer experience with convergence of the different technologies, the trend of retail brand departments is a great resource for the consumer to become more informed about the product.
Jerry Satoren, DSI Systems: I don’t see it as new. Many brands that hold leadership positions within their industries have been at this for quite some time. However, most have taken a dual approach by opening their own retail outlets in addition to branded departments on their retail partner’s floors.
This gives them the control they seek for every aspect of their brand throughout the entire supply chain. Clearly, the apparel industry is a leader in this approach, and in our own industry, Sony and Apple have been at it for a while.
I believe that Samsung’s move is a smart one as this initiative gives them a national footprint in a much quicker and less costly way than opening their own stores. My view of this as a distributor is positive. These branded stores allow consumers to see more products displayed and merchandised in a way they would not otherwise be exposed to.
This creates desire for more step-up products, accessories and even products they didn’t know existed. This only makes for a more informed and motivated consumer which is good for all retailers.
Dennis Holzer, The PowerHouse Alliance: I think branded departments are good for business and will continue to expand at all levels of retail, not only in big-box style stores. These branded depart dealer on his floor to the consumer.
Next, this concept allows floor sales personnel to discuss the benefits and demonstrate the advantages of buying different types of product from the same manufacturer.
Lastly, this is not a new trend. Whitegoods vendors have required this approach for years, not to mention Apple has done this in their stores very successfully with an updated approach. To me, we are getting back to what RCA, Zenith and other vendors required to sell their line in the old days!
Fred Towns, New Age Electronics and Jack of All Games divisions of Synnex: Branded departments are a strong tool for retail. More and more consumers want a reason to come into a retailer for an experience they cannot get online. Manufacturers can deliver on this by commanding a good visual experience in showcasing new technologies. Creating a unique display or presentation on their hottest products only better helps the retailer’s sales team demonstrate how this manufacturer’s solution would work in the home environment.
Curt Hayes, Capitol: I’m optimistic about the trend, especially the Samsung department at Best Buy. Everyone in the marketplace is rooting for Best Buy to keep growing over the next several years.
Jeff Hayes, D&H Distributing: We encourage retailers to think outside the box and find new ways to differentiate themselves in order to combat the showrooming trend. This branded department strategy is a way for retailers to inject additional value into the retail experience, giving consumers a new reason to visit a physical store. This strategy has been employed in other areas of such as department stores — and not always successfully. We also encourage our retailers to leverage bundles promotions and accessories sales to increase revenues, in addition to any experimentation with vendorbranded mini stores.