By Stephen Paczkowski, Expert Warehouse

Indie Retailers Stand to Benefit from Re-Entry into TV Market

The survival of independent retailers often depends on adjusting quickly to new trends in the retail environment. There are even occasions when they must cede ground in a particular market due to a dominant competitor. An example of such an occurrence is the recent mass exodus of independent dealers from the TV market amid the growing popularity of online behemoths Amazon and Walmart.

As independents lost sales to these two companies, they gradually cut back on their TV showrooms while expanding into new territories such as bedding and mattresses. In some cases, overmatched dealers, acknowledging they could not win a price war against such formidable competition, even removed the word “TV” from their placard entirely. 

Despite the online dominance of Amazon and Walmart, new technologies and the popularity of larger high-end TVs have created a new window of opportunity for independent retailers to reclaim this lost market. Unlike in previous years, the expert knowledge of independent dealers and the services they can provide is suddenly in demand by customers clamoring for larger, more advanced products.

The recent influx of bigger, brighter and smarter TVs has caused a seismic shift in buying trends and halted the retreat by independents from the TV market. The popularity of larger and more technologically advanced TVs has prompted customers to return to the stores to size up their investment rather than risk buying it online, sight unseen. Dealers have noticed customers are also more apt to consult their dedicated sales teams when mulling over whether to buy advanced models such as LG’s OLED and Samsung’s QLED. 

This new reality puts independent retailers into a unique position. The margin opportunities associated with smart TVs with screens that are 60 inches and larger are one such reason. For example, a dealer can buy a LG NANO 65SM8600 or a Samsung 86MU8070, sell it a competitive rate, and still make 28 percent before any VR rebates. 

It is also worth pointing out that a dealer no longer needs to invest a huge amount of showroom space in their TV offerings since panels are flatter and lighter than ever before. Besides larger profits and savings in showroom space, dealers can increase their profits through the sale of extra items such as mounting hardware, warranties and soundbars. These items, which often run hand-in-hand with the purchase of a large premium TV, can be easily added for additional margins.

There are also the practical considerations associated with the new generation of larger TVs. The sheer size of these TVs is actually beneficial to the dealers. Independents are in a position to reap additional awards in delivery costs due to the inconvenience of loading a large TV into a car or the anxieties associated with the online delivery process of such a costly item. The guaranteed delivery and installation by experts from the store can help to ease a process fraught with possible pitfalls. 

Installation costs are another boon for dealers. The act of purchasing a 60-65-inch TV online and then mounting it to brackets on a wall can be challenging. This risky undertaking can be labor intensive and even dangerous to the novice handyman. By using experts, large TVs can be safely and correctly mounted in an area of the customer’s choosing.

With customers returning to the stores to inspect new TV models, independents can go back to the business of selling. Since larger, smart TVs are gradually becoming the industry standard, dealers must communicate their affordability and their advances in resolution. By displaying high definition content in-store, they can demonstrate the product’s new features, especially those of the 8K models, which are due to arrive later this year. 

Stephen Paczkowski

Finally, dealers must use their knowledge of the product as well as their technical expertise in delivery and installation to inspire confidence in their customers. By seizing this opportunity in the marketplace, independent retailers may one day reclaim a portion of TV sales that have otherwise been surrendered to Amazon and Wal-Mart.  

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.