Advice from a retail standpoint

Discussion in 'Displays' started by bud green, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. bud green

    bud green Auditioning

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    A few days ago ( for those who read it )I unleashed what did seem to be more of a rant than constructive advice from a retail tv mgr. Some days you feel more like strangling customers then you come home and fire the stress on the web..LOL

    I wanted to bring up some things to help arm you guys and gals in your purchases of new tv's. I have 14 years with 4 retailers..a manager at some point at all of them to date.

    First off web vs. b&m store. I suggest to deal with the smaller regional stores when trying to get closer to web prices. Please remember that some times a bit better service can be worth a few bucks. It is very much a fact that many of the items online in dlp/lcd/crt projo are refurbished or grey goods.

    What is grey goods? An example is ( you own a store and sell Sony XBR TV's and you buy $10000 lots and get what is called 3rd level prices. If only your buying power was stronger..your cost would lower to compete with those bigger nationals! Your cost for a 42" plasma may be $2900 but if you could just buy more of them it could be as low as $2600. Mr. Internet contacts you and wants to help you increase your orders, lower your cost in exchange for some of the units to go sideways to him. So you get to make $300 more on the ones you keep and he takes the rest off your hands! You will take care of any units he needs fixed so it is all good. Then stuff happens...the business goes under & or a defective units serial number from a TV sent into Sony with a weird receipt is traced to your store as the buyer? Next thing you know you lost your license & the internet guy loses his connection. Now the internet guy decides to dump his units at $100 over his very low price to another company who can't get them even that cheap. They take them (as is) and choose to handle their warranty internal should one they sell go bad. Some times when you call online stores they say if you have a problem just send it back to us not the manufacture! So it goes on and on. Now most customers do not know Sony will tell you the only authorized XBR internet dealer they have is Crutchfield. Hmmm ? You some times roll the dice.

    Extended warranty is not as sneaky as people think. Buying a new DLP,DILA,LCOS,LCD, or Plasma? You think that nite owl $20 hour tv shop down the street can work on one? You end up out of warranty paying $100 per hour and the parts are very high. My tech ordered a new light engine for a Sony 55" LCD ($2800 tv)..he showed me a $1150 invoice for it. I have seen $400 bills for DLP chips and wheels. Plasmas that just can not be fixed and we write them off and exchange ( under extended warranty situations ). Also make sure the warranty is FIRST PARTY , Insured & underwritten by some out side agency. Last make sure bulbs are covered and what is the lemon policy? Some places require 3 or 4 failures of the same part while others 3 of any prob and you get to exchange. Some pro-rate your old set for a low dollar value and some give you ever dollar you spent towards a new one. Also another thing B&M stores can do and you should ask....if your tv is down for say more than 3/4 weeks..can you get a loaner? We do loaners all the time..we only do it though if you purchased the premium service warranty. Also warranty contracts do have a $$$ cost..it is not free money.

    Brand tips! Hitachi and Mits make almost all their parts and both are great choices in brand. Sony on the other hand takes the longest to get parts from but people are hooked on the name. Toshiba & Samsung are not bad but usually a Mits or Hitachi are in the same price range and rated higher in customer satisfaction. It is very true that the Panasonic bigscreens do have great pictures for the money and I see more Sony's break than Panasonics. Mits usually offers special finance to their customers and your retailers make a little more money on Mits..kinda like Bose. They make the LEAST on SONY and only carry the brand because they have to in order to appear in customers eyes as a good selection store. JVC and Panasonic are probably the next most profitable units.

    ASK FOR REASONABLE DEALS. Most retailers can not toss in $400 warranty , $150 in cables and free delivery. I'm amazed at how many customers come in when we are 10% off and are offended that we can not do that. Wait until you have everything picked out and then see the total price and go with this formula. Take 1/3 of the warranty $ , 1/4 of the cables and stand $ , and about $50 dollars for delivery. Add all of that up and ask for that much of a discount if you buy it all as a package today. If you happen to be looking at Home Theatre..shoot for 15%-20 off the RETAIL price of the system when purchased with a nice TV package. Following this advice will get very close to about the best deals you can get under normal circumstances.

    Be reasonable. If by some chance you do not buy any service and your tv goes out after 3 months do not expect retailers to just give you a new one. Most manufacture lemon policy are around 30 days. If your buying a floor model do not expect 50% off. Also remember that if you want the bottom dollar do not put it on the stores interest free charge card. When we do 18 months interest free it cost us like 5% or more.

    What is the best bang for the buck? Hands down Panasonic HD tubes. Then I would say any Mits or Panasonic bigscreen. Last..if you are going micro display...Hitachi and Panasonic.

    Later

    BG
     
  2. KenWong

    KenWong Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, Bud, I work for a retailer as well, and I totally agree with you. I want to also add though one part, as much as you are a customer and hows there the policy of "customer is always right"... there also goes the saying, "we don't get paid enough." Not to be mean, but generally, if you're being a dick to the employee, he can be one right back when it comes to things like warrantee and discounts. Please do ask for reasonable deals, and don't just shy away the accessories and warranty cause yes, retailers do make money off of it, but it's not like it's completely useless nor we're just out there to empty your wallet. Yes, your tube TV might have lasted you for 8-9 years, but if you're buying a micro display, DLP, LCD, you might consider otherwise cause these aren't using tubes anymore! And finally... READ THE F*$%ing manual! Though this is much more meant for those that are still kind of novice to this whole new home theater thing, but with all the new technologies, and functions... READ THE MANUAL! I don't care how thick it is, or when you read it, take it to the crapper and read it then, but read it before calling any random electronic store asking questions... "I bought a 50' plasma from your store, how do you hook up a playstation 2 to it?"

    BG... I think your post is great, but the last part... I'm not sure... I agree that panny are one of the best for the buck, but have you seen the LG or even HP (I know, hewett packard...)... the LG seems to be a very reasonable priced buy for the money, especially their larger 37' lcd compared to the Sharp. And the HP, I was really impressed by their HD LCD, and to my astonishment, holds quite well against the Sharp (for the money of course, I still believe the Aquos are best LCD TVs out there)
     
  3. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

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    Greetings

    Some people still think all the TV's are marked up 100% when the actual margins are closer to 20% to 35% ... and Sony being on the low end of the profit ladder.

    Accessories ... that's another matter, but the TV itself ... not that much.

    A store that sells everything at 10% above cost will be out of business fairly quickly .... (Something called overhead)

    Store cost on some things may be less than their computers say ... especially if they have volume incentives from the manufacturer. They get a good bonus back from the makers at year end if they hit certain sales targets.

    Extended warranties make the providers money ... that's the whole point of insurance. Car insurance and Home insurance and Life insurance too ...

    If you cannot afford to pay for the expected repair bill in 3 to 4 years time .... then the extended warranty might be a good idea. No one says you have to pay what they are asking for the warranty ... there is room to move there too ...

    What is peace of mind worth to you? That is what the extended warranty is about.

    Like we cannot get gray goods in regular stores? ... That is hardly restricted to the net ...

    Regards
     
  4. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    People should not be afraid to buy from the web......do 5 minutes of research.....about as long as it takes to drive to the store......and you will find the authorized internet dealers that the company endorses.....and you'll save money. Do I buy from the internet......no because I prefer to do my business localy but I think that the internet can be a great place to buy from if you just do a bit of research. As Michael said......not all gray goods are sold on the web.....

    Hey Bud, did you learn how to get that Mits set you bought up and running yet. How does it look??
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    I'll say bravo Bud.. This post does seem very informational...

    You have some sound opinions in there for sure.


    We all need to rant sometimes. [​IMG]
     
  6. bud green

    bud green Auditioning

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    Some good points about the old tubes lasting longer not reflecting what we are buying today and the reliability factor! I do hear everyday.."my last tv lasted 14 years". It is difficult knowing when and if some product will fail but in the early days 91-2000 I never saw tube and crt projos come back or fail like the micro's of today. I hate to say it but I see less plasma problems than anything else "in newer display tech", but people are told they are the worst. From what I have seen as of late a good crt tube or crt projo are the best bet..for now.

    Do not get me wrong I love new and improving product...it is my life. In the last 4 years or so much newer stuff has arrived that just does not have the track record of that tube design that lasted you 14 years. This time your dropping $2500-3500 for it! You have this little balance going on with people having more disposable income and will accept paying to repair within reason (say a bulb or panel every two years)..I really do not think America is quite that far along with the consumer having cash to blow. Sure..if you are a doctor you may not be bothered as much for repair cost but most of America is very middle class and almost check to check.

    Of course anyone can buy from the net but after reading this post you know what grey goods are so you make your decisions knowing both sides. I will mention that most regional..some national stores may work with you if you bring say 3 internet quotes ( shipping included ) on what you are interested in. I would try to work with you. What I see alot of is a LOW BALL quotes..so I go to web and do some searching and the customer has brought me a web quote that is $200 less than every other online store and insist that I match that one. I usually just use price grabber.

    The comment about LG being good...I just do not know. I have had the 44" DLP and have had 4 defective floor models in one year and that brings up another interesting thought. I see more store displays going bad now a days than every before. I hate to say..but more DLP than LCD.
    I was smack in the middle of the Scenium nightmare..but I have also seen more open box service returns on Samsungs than any other brand of late. I still like them, and we sell MANY of them..so maybe that makes it just look like more come back.

    As far as the Mits I just got (55315) for a budget set..I am very impressed with the film like quality and I just got my new DVR HD cable box and it is HDMI so I have to get one of those $50 HDMI 2 DVI cables. For now the component at 1080i is great and Halo 2 at 480p is very nice. I set it up with video essentials and had to tone down the Reds especially. The set looks very natural. It is difficult knowing it is correct when you see all my store displays HOT out of the box and day-glow DLP colors at work, but I know my set is as right as I can get it with that disc and the 64 point manual convergance. I am kicking around getting a pro to set it up through service menus. I can not find anything on how to access them on my model..don't know if I would if I could..yeah why not!

    GB
     
  7. Mike Boniferro

    Mike Boniferro Second Unit

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    I just have a quick second to comment on this, but I agree with much of what you said Bud. I have seen an insane amount of DLPs go bad... at first it looks like the bulb has gone (lamp, standby etc lights flashing on the front) but often once unplugged for a few hours and plugged back in they work fine for a few days before this happens again. Makes it difficult for service centres to diagnose that there is actually a problem!
     

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