NEW YORK — More mobile devices are being bought by than ever before, but to have consumers understand and fully capitalize on the second-screen trend they need demonstrations at retail and online.
That was one of the points participants made at the “Selling The Second Screen at Retail” held June 27 during the 2nd Screen Summit here, produced by the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance, and NewBay Media’s TWICE, Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News.
The panel, moderated by TWICE executive editor Greg Tarr, featured Ben Arnold, industry analysis director of The NPD Group; Shawn DuBravac, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) chief economist and research senior director; Jeanette Howe, executive director of Specialty Electronics Nationwide, a division of Nationwide Marketing Group; Brian Siegel, direct operations VP of Sony; and Shane Higby, TV marketing director for Samsung.
DuBravac said the installed base of portable devices is important to understand. He said that 40 percent of U.S. households have tablets, up from the prior year’s 22 percent; more than 50 percent of households now own smartphones and the “density” of those products in the home – the number in each – is also increasing dramatically.
Arnold said, “The second screen is growing,” but the applications are at an early stage yet. “A huge part of this is social and people know about Twitter and other sites, but with the number of connected screens growing in the home, second screen will grow.”
The two manufacturers on the panel had interesting responses on the second-screen phenomenon and how each approaches it.
Siegel of Sony said, “We have been focusing on multiple screens for a long time with Vaios, TVs, phones. We engage the second screen together, and we see new opportunities [for the devices] to interact in new and interesting ways. The applications are important, but the hardware involved also has to be made more useful.”
Samsung’s Higby said his company is “in the third year of communicating second-screen technology [to consumers]. We try to mirror apps and functions from tablet to TV and vice versa.”
He added that Samsung has done bundled promotions “offering our Galaxy III with upscale TVs.”
Howe addressed bundling, saying, “[Bundles] are good if they are profitable for the retailers. Sometimes margins come out of the product [with bundles] and since our members have consultative sales floors and other investments, [bundles can be] difficult.”
Howe made a point on how tablets have changed the dynamic of retail sales.
“Tablets can be disruptive at retail. Consumers research a couple of SKUs at home and become experts in those products,” she said.
She noted that the custom systems that her members are selling now, and in the future, “operate by smartphones and tablets. Apps are going to be the key. The ‘art of the demo’ is still the key.”
Speaking of retail Higby said, “The Samsung Experience at Best Buy is big move for us with second screen. We provide a hands-on experience [at retail] explaining second-screen connectivity on the [sales] floor using actual Galaxy tablets.”
Siegel of Sony said that it demonstrates the capabilities “at our 27 retail locations ... and have a field sales force to [explain it] to other retailers. In our experience people don’t spend money on a TV, tablet and phone all at the same time. What we do is put NFC tabs in our stores so consumers can tap info from NFC-enabled remotes put on the screen and read.”