A trend to open up OEM retail locations is in full force in the USA. Apple started with the Apple store and by staffing sections at retail stores like Best Buy, followed by Microsoft and now Samsung.
Here, manufacturers take up real estate inside larger retailers or open up entire stores to show case and sell their products. This allows them to control their brand and secure sales. Staffed by employees on the OEM payroll, they ensure that the quality of consumer product experience is maximized. From the retailer perspective, they get a quality trained, fully funded staff member pushing products.
For the retailer who had been loosing customers to online shopping, it is a way to reduce costs while still recognizing revenue on products sold in store. For the OEMS, it keeps up their brand image and trust with the customer without relying on the capabilities of a poorly staffed and undertrained sales person. If the customer still goes and buys a product online, the OEM hopes it still will be theirs.
In countries like the Philippines, large department stores have long showcased their own products in specific sections of the store. Staffed by employees of the OEM, they gain direct access to the customer at the retail level in an attempt to make the sale. Here, you’ll see not only one or two OEMs, you’ll see a line of manufacturers set up…almost like a flea market. OEMS staff the show area, and push their own products and services. If you have products you want to sell, working direct with the OEM can often be the best bet in getting to the sales floor.
Best Buy had a lousy 2013 holiday sales, no doubt losing to online shoppers too busy to go into the store.
In North America it has typically been the retailer who has control on what happens in store. The challenge has always been for OEMs to some how reach that person, train them and incent them to push their goods. This can make a huge difference in the sucess of the program yet is beyond normal reach. As online sales continue to gain market share and show rooming continues to take place, perhaps retailers in the US will soon become OEM flea markets too.