Retailers Discuss Market at CE Week

A panel session made up of a retailer, advertiser, content creator (Fox – not shown in photo below) and two manufacturers (LG and Samsung) took place at CE Week in New York recently. Not surprisingly, the upshot was that brick and mortar retailing is tough, but innovative competitors are finding ways to focus on profitable products and integrate the web into marketing and purchasing.

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Tom Campbell, who runs the store Video and Audio Center in the LA area, emphasized that they want to offer something better than the web-based buying experience. He noted that shoppers tend to evaluate products on the web, then they come to the store to see and touch them. But they may not buy in the store, however.

To address this, they have kiosks throughout the store to allow shoppers to look on-line for a better deal – and they will match the price if from a reputable retailer. They will then promise same day delivery and a 30-day money-back guarantee. That should make it easy for the customer to say yes, he thinks. “We want to have an interactive sales experience in the store,” stated Campbell. “Many retailer electronics stores are closing, but retail is not dead, it is evolving.” He may be onto something with his approach.

Dave VanderWaal of LG Electronics talked about a survey the firm did regarding in-store brand engagement. The results show that 46% were indifferent or rejected the brand; 58% had the brand on their long list of multiple companies to evaluate; and 68% had a brand on their short list (1-3 brands). The conclusion, not surprisingly, was that shoppers are more likely to engage with brands in-store if they were already considering them before entering. As a result, brands need to develop programs to engage potential customers before entering the store – but also reinforce that messaging and engagement in the store.

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VanderWaal then described the LG in-store “experience” kiosk that is designed to educate and excite – with a focus on both OLED and LCD UHD HDR TVs. This is currently rolled out only in BestBuy, but should go to other retailers soon.

Mario Natarelli described himself as an “agency guy” with a focus on understanding the bonds that develop between consumers and brands. He presented some data on brand intimacy that covered 6,000 consumers in nine industries across three geographies and 400 brands. That works out to 52,000 brand evaluations, so a very comprehensive survey.

Some interesting results are shown in the two charts below. Not surprisingly, Apple topped the brand list, but Samsung made the top 10. In terms of retailers, perhaps the most interesting aspect is the ranking by age groups. Take a look below.

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Steve Panosian from Samsung’s mantra was about consistent messaging for the new HDR, WCG, 4K and immersive audio technologies. He thinks this will benefit consumers, retailers and ultimately manufacturers. Toward that end, he has been working with the UHD Alliance, CTA, BDA and DEG organizations to try to forge consensus on these issues.

It was not clear if this consensus has been reached, but Panosian noted that Samsung is trying to ‘walk the walk’ on messaging. He later showed me a brochure that has simple explanations of UHD TVs, media players (streaming, Blu-ray or set top box), cabling, content and audio.

A speaker from Fox Home Distribution then spoke and noted that while ecommerce in movies and content is growing, it is still only 10% of the market. In-store retail remains extremely important and is the path to a transaction.

He said that as of mid-February, there were 10 4K Blu-ray titles available but that will rise to more than 20 by the end of the year. In addition, this includes five day and date Blu-ray releases so far, with more to come. Fox is now committed to releasing all movies in 4K and HDR so content will flow. – CC