Boston Acoustics Boosted By Bassett Deal



Boston Acoustics will get a promotional boost and expanded customer base from its partnership with Bassett Furniture.

The audio supplier is embedding its soundbar technology into a series of Nvelop credenzas for flat-panel TVs.

Four Nvelop credenzas priced from a suggested $1,499 to $1,999 will be sold only through Bassett’s distribution channels. Floor samples are already shipping to Bassett- branded furniture stores and to other furniture retailers.

Boston’s name appears on the grill of each embedded soundbar solution, which delivers simulated surround sound and includes a separate downfiring subwoofer hidden inside.

In promoting the credenzas, Bassett will include the Boston Acoustics name in advertising to bring credibility to the audio solution, said Bassett retail marketing director Pete Morrison. Bassett will launch a series of ads starting Memorial Day weekend in the Wall Street Journal and provide ROP ads to retail stores. The credenzas will also be advertised in direct mail, web ads and on Bassett’s web site, which will sell the credenzas for fulfillment by local dealers.

Bassett’s web site will let consumers rotate pictures of the credenzas by 360 degrees and simulate the difference in sound quality between TV speakers and the Boston Acoustics soundbar embedded in the credenzas.

To support sell-through, Bassett offers an A/B switch with a big green button to switch between the embedded Boston Acoustics soundbar and TV speakers through which a DVD demo disc will play. Bassett is requiring retailers to hook up at least one switch, which is made by Audio Authority. Dealers who display four credenzas get a free switch.

The consumers who will get the demo will represent “a host of new customers exposed to Boston Acoustics,” said Eli Harary, Boston’s senior VP of global brand management. The Bassett channel delivers customers that Boston doesn’t get through its traditional CE channels, he noted.

Bassett customers, said Morrison, are interested in decorating, and “we are about decorating.” The credenzas “combine the beauty of furniture and the beauty of Boston Acoustics” without wiring up speakers that “detract from the beauty of the decor,” he said.

Harary called the products the “only furniture-centric products with high-quality audio built in.”

Past attempts by consumer electronics suppliers to sell through furniture stores have not been successful because people don’t go to furniture stores to buy electronics, he said. “That’s like selling lawn mowers in a Mercedes store.” What’s different about the Bassett strategy, he said, is that customers are coming to the store to buy a TV credenza, and salespeople can then subtly point out that the credenza solves an additional problem.

Bassett’s sales channels consist of about 100 Bassett- branded stores nationwide, half owned by Bassett and the other half owned by licensees. In markets that lack Bassett-branded stores, Bassett also sells through around 120 other furniture stores that have made a sizable commitment to displaying Bassett products. Products are also available through select interior designers.


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