A noted financial analyst on the radio said the other day that a long-time, big-name electronics retailer is hurting but will find a way to survive. Other so-called experts are saying that this major retailer is headed for the pile heap as have others in recent years. That in itself is no big deal as one hears such things all the time. Except, that there are not too many long-time, big-name electronics retailers around anymore. This one may be the last of the bunch.
In real estate, it is all about “location, location, location.” The semi-positive analyst said that in retailing, it is all about “pricing, pricing, pricing.” He further said that what is happening now is that consumers are walking into the store with the idea of truly wanting to make a purchase for a specific type of appliance. They study the items on the floor, make note of a model number and at what the retailer lists the price and then go onto the Internet and too often buy it from Amazon where they know they can usually get it cheaper.
Duh. Window shopping has been going on for years. People have always comparison priced. But, a lot of times, it is still more convenient to forgo the online price savings elsewhere and just make the purchase at the store, and take it home immediately. This is similar to knowing that mustard at one store is on sale for 40 cents less than after seeing how it is priced at another store you happen to currently be . Unless you really need to go to the cheaper store for other reasons, or it is on the way home from where you are at- is the burning of more gas a net savings on the price of mustard?
(By the way, this same financial expert talked about how he had gone into one of that electronic retailer’s stores where he lived. He looked for help because he could find the specific software product he was intending to purchase for his kid. An associate came over and immediately tried to bait him into purchasing a totally different product as well as switch to a different cable tv provider. The analyst said that the retailer had hooked up a deal with a cable provider as they were desperate to bring in new traffic and make some much needed dough that did not require selling merchandise off the floor. The analyst made a point of saying that the retailer will eventually get past this stupidity and figure out another way to increase revenue that does not turn off the traffic visiting the store.)
About three months ago, I decided it was finally time to put to rest the Sony 19 inch stereo color television set that I had purchased way back in 1989. It was big and bulky and for several years now the picture kept on fluctuating between normal and smaller size every couple of minutes. This time around, instead of going to the same appliance store it had been purchased at more than 20 years earlier (which was more known for selling refrigerators, washers and dryers), I decided to go to that big-name electronics retailer, the one with the big hurt on its financial shoulders.
As I walked into the store, I was greeted by the guy at the door whose job it is to make sure you are not bringing in material that can easily be used to hide merchandise in as you eventually leave the store. He also is supposed to be available to guide you to the section of the store you are interested in.
I knew what I wanted- which was a flat-panel high definition television screen.- the only kind you can now buy. I had no idea of how large of a screen I wanted until I saw samples on the floor. I also knew that the hi-definition part of the equation was not very significant because my cable tv service does not give you immediate hi-definition unless you pay extra for an upgraded receiver box.
I walked over to the television section and stopped in front of a 20 inch flat-panel and saw the price and figured that this was the one. An associate saw me with that look in my eyes that I was ripe for the taking. However, he pointed me to a display of sets behind me that were of bigger models- 32 inches- and were on sale and even cheaper than the 20 inch I was looking at.
So grateful to find an honest store associate I let him talk me into also purchasing a 2 year extended warranty. It was not that expensive and since I had no experience with flat panel units, I figured “what the heck”. Of course, if they should go out of business, I guess the warranty was a mistake.
Another thing about that store- a month later I came to the realization that it was time for a new vacuum cleaner. The one I had was not working properly. The motor made noise when you flipped the switch, but the machine did not suck anything up. I did not recall if I bought the last one I had there or at the Target Store that anchored the mall a couple of stores down.
I went into the store and asked the greeter where the vacuum section was. He pointed it out. I walked over there and started looking intently at various models. An affable associate sized me up from behind and walked over and asked how he could help. I explained to him about how my vacuum was not functioning properly and that I was ripe for a new one. He replied that I wasn’t and that all it meant was that the fan belt was broken and that I needed a new one. He then showed me where to look and that it would be very easy to replace. Since I had no idea which make and model I owned, he said to bring in the vacuum and he would replace the fan belt.
I did just that. Two days later, when I knew he would be there, he picked a five dollar fan belt off the shelf, took my vacuum- the greeter made sure to mark it as my personal property so that I could walk back out of the store with it- and quickly replaced the fan belt. He then tested it on the spot and presto- I saved over $150 because of an honest and sincere associate. I even filled out a survey over the Internet identifying the gentleman and thanking them for having such a good employee.
When he rung up the fan belt on his register, I pointed out that he didn’t make too much money on his effort with me. “On the contrary”, he said, “I made you a satisfied customer who will come back here to shop again and again.”
I’ve also bought a cordless four handset phone system from them after I had returned the three handset system of a different brand with no questions asked. I’ve also purchased several $99 inkjet printers there over the past few years after each time kicking them into oblivion when the paper jams.
I guess each of us have our own experiences. Time will tell whether websites like Amazon will put that major electronics retailer out of business. Maybe out of those possible ashes, some other national retailer will leap to the king of the hill. In the meantime, I know where to go as my first choice when I need something electronic.