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Would You Like An LCD With That Washer?

I’m no merchandise manager, but I’ve often wondered why manufacturers with more than one core competency don’t do more to leverage their multi-category strengths with retailers — and why dealers don’t take better advantage of same.

I’m not just talking about bundling Blu-ray players with TVs or cameras with PCs; those are obvious adjuncts. I’m thinking specifically here of CE and appliances. Sure, detergent and flat-panel displays would seem to make strange bedfellows, but countertop LCDs are now fairly common in and around kitchens and laundry rooms.

The official line, at least from vendors like Samsung, LG and Haier that supply both categories, is that their product teams merely mirror the way merchants organize their buyers. So the TV guys talk to the TV guys, the appliance guys talk to the appliance guys, and never the twain shall meet.

Until now.

The traditional barriers were recently brought down at LG, where John Herrington and Peter Reiner now respectively honcho sales and marketing for both businesses. And while I’m not sure there’s a direct cause and effect here, Best Buy is presently bundling a 22-inch LG LCD with the vendor’s premium steam washer/dryer pair for $2,880, a savings, it says, of $800 for the package.

Will somebody please pass the remote — and fabric softener?