Fewer Demos For Advanced TVs: Report

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Westlake Village, Calif. - Salespeople at leading CE chains tend to demonstrate 3D and smart TVs less often than more familiar technologies, a J.D. Power and Associates study has found.

According to its 2011 Television Mystery Shopping Report, only 44 percent of sales associates provided a product demonstration of a 3DTV's features, while just 34 percent demonstrated or even discussed smart TV with the marketing firm's undercover agents, and actual offers to demo smart sets averaged 7 percent.

Most simply provided verbal descriptions of the newer technologies, J.D. Power said.

This compares with 56 percent who provided demonstrations when asked to explain overall differences and features among various TV models, brands and technologies.

The report also found that salespeople who are more aggressive about closing the sale are more likely to provide product demonstrations.

The study is based on the on-site evaluations of more than 600 trained mystery shoppers who visited various CE stores between April and June. Chains included ABC Warehouse, Best Buy, BrandsMart, Conn's, Costco, Fry's, hhgregg, PC Richard & Son, Sears and Walmart, as well as members of the Progressive Retailers Organization (PRO Group) buying group.

PRO dealers, along with ABC Warehouse and Best Buy, had particularly high demo rates for smart TVs, the study showed.

"Among retailers included in the report in both 2011 and 2010, IPTV demonstration rates have tripled from 4 percent in Q4 2010 to 12 percent in Q2 2011, but this is far from what we'd expect to see for a newer TV feature and leaves significant room for improvement," said Tim Fox, account manager at J.D. Power and Associates.

He noted that retailers can "boost both demonstrations and sales rates by providing sales staff with the training and information they need to be comfortable showing features and technologies to customers."

 The report also found that LED technology is recommended much more frequently by salespeople than LCD and plasma displays. More than half of mystery shoppers (55 percent) indicated that a salesperson recommended LED technology, while 25 percent and 16 percent of mystery shoppers received recommendations for LCD and plasma technology, respectively.


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