Custom Retailers Better 3D Educators Than Big-Box Stores
J.D. Power mystery shopping service shows PRO Group members are best educators for 3D. Best Buy comes in last.
August 24, 2010 by Jason Knott

Consumers entering a custom retail store to learn about 3D TVs are more than twice as likely to be educated than customers at big-box stores, according to a six-month mystery shopping study conducted across 1,200 retail locations this year by J.D. Power and Associates.

Although the proportion of salespeople who discuss 3D technology with shoppers at major electronics retailers has increased substantially during the first six months of 2010, the rates of growth vary widely by retailer, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Television Mystery Shopping Report.

“The overall increase in discussion of 3D televisions is reflective of changes in the marketplace - manufacturers are continuing to broaden the range of products that incorporate 3D technology, availability of these sets is increasing and prices are decreasing,” says Mike Battaglia, director of operational research at J.D. Power and Associates. “There is wide variability, however, in the frequency with which salespeople at different retailers are mentioning 3D technology.”

While salespeople at PRO Group mentioned 3D TV technology to nearly six in 10 mystery shoppers, on average, during the second quarter of the year, Best Buy salespeople mentioned the topic to fewer than one in four shoppers, on average. The PRO Group is a 17-member buying group representing regional custom retailers.

“As televisions become increasingly complex with new features, both retailers and manufacturers need to ensure that sales staffs are properly trained to consistently communicate those features and resulting benefits to shoppers,” says Battaglia.

The report also finds that salespeople recommended Samsung TVs to 53 percent of mystery shoppers during the second quarter of 2010, a decline from 57 percent during the first quarter of 2010. Recommendation rates for Panasonic and Sony increased during the same time period. For screen sizes of 55 inches or larger, recommendation rates for Samsung LED televisions declined from 39 percent during the first quarter of 2010 to 26 percent in the second quarter. During the same time period, recommendations of Panasonic plasma TVs increased from 15 percent to 19 percent. Recommendation rates for LG and Sony LED and LCD TV sets also increased from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2010.

“For TVs with screen sizes measuring 55 inches or larger - a segment that generates particularly high revenue - Samsung still has the highest recommendation rates,” says Battaglia. “However, manufacturers such as LG and Sony appear to be making headway in gaining share of mind among salespeople.”

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