Independent CE retailers have praised Samsung's and Sony's recent move to deploy unilateral pricing policies (UPP) across their premium TV models and some of Sony's high-end projectors. According to trade publication Dealerscope, the new policies will establish a fixed-price scheme across all consumer sales channels, and that includes electronics mega-stores and online retailers as well.
Apart from a weakening demand for televisions, TV dealers have also been battling a different kind of enemy on the retail front. Without a firm policy to help lock down retail prices, rogue sellers and major online retailers are at liberty to tune their shelf tags in order to lure consumers over. This makes it almost impossible for independent or smaller dealers to overcome since they require bigger gains to stay afloat. With UPP in place, the so-called smaller players can look forward to standard prices across the board and a wider profit margin too. According to a report filed by HD Guru, the price disparity between Amazon and Sony Style is quite substantial as things stand. For instance, a 46-inch Sony Bravia XBR 46HX929 is almost $192 cheaper at Amazon (US$2307.05) as compared to Sony Style (US$2499.99). No prizes for guessing which option the consumer would choose.
On that note, dealers also mentioned that they are more willing to provide in-depth demonstrations with the implementation of UPP. Reason being that shoppers tend to use their stores as showrooms to experience the TV set, before grabbing one online at slashed prices. Samsung will kick off their UPP program with their new 2012 series of televisions expected to hit shelves in April or May. Sony will enforce theirs on March 1st, mainly for their XBR range as well as models released later this Spring.
The way we see it, however, it's a given that UPP will benefit independent dealers on the whole but consumers on a shoe-string budget would undoubtedly be less pleased. As for our local market, we'll have to wait and see if Samsung's and Sony's pricing policies would be enacted in this region.