Not Just an Attachment, a Solution
By Bill Johnson
Home theater seating is an oft-overlooked category. Dealers have traditionally shied away from selling seating because they don't consider themselves specialists. But home theater seating is a great way for dealers to create additional revenue with every home theater sale. The dedicated home theater-seating category represented an estimated $45 million in 2002. Today, several well-respected home theater designers actually suggest beginning the design of the home theater with the seating.
Unfortunately, many dealers still treat the seating portion of the sale as an afterthought, or they neglect it entirely. Call it fear of the unknown. Because there are many different seating vendors (many relatively new), A/V dealers interested in the dedicated seating sale may not know which vendor to choose. Unless they have full reassurance that their customers' warranty and non-warranty requests will be fully serviced, they are hesitant to involve themselves in the seating sale.
Seating can prove to be very profitable if your company makes the commitment to proper display of the product. Dealer profit margins for dedicated home theater seating can be as high as 50 to 60 points. But dealers must make the investment commitment and put the chairs on display. Successful dealers constantly tell us thatwhen the chairs are properly displayed on the sales floor or dedicated theater room, people are attracted to them; they sit down and start asking questions. The chairs sell themselves.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR C-TAILERS?
Including home theater seating as one of your product offerings allows you to better position your company as a total theater solutions provider. Suddenly, you are not just the A/V electronics people; you are seen as the specialists who can transform a garage or basement into a true home theater. This is a great way to aim your sights higher, to a more affluent clientele. How does a dealer go about getting into the category? By making a commitment to it — learning the benefits of the different features, and why they offer more than the Laz-E-Boy-type recliners found in furniture stores. For example, some dedicated home theater seating manufacturers provide built-in cup holders, snack trays, storage compartments, motorized recline options, etc., that are not commonly found on typical furniture store products. If you have a showroom, illustrate to your clients that you are in the home theater seating business by displaying as many different styles as possible, including different leather and fabric options.