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Panasonic, Sanyo, and Sony have made conscious choices not to target the wider audience in the bigger retail environment. Unless you really search, the average person cannot easily find and view these PJs, which makes it tough for the average Joe to demo them.....unless of course you want to lay out over $5K to order all of them and then ship them all back. So, the lay-person just test-drives the X1 from BBuy and falls in love, which is probably why you have such a huge X1 following on this forum. Many of us are blissfully ignorant of the other PJs, because we took the plunge and bought the X1, which looks amazing to us. IMHO, it sounds like the other vendors need to take a look at the marketing strategy of Infocus and reconsider theirs.

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The quote above comes from another thread and it brings up an interesting point.


Is it the manufacturers or the retailers who are really deciding what product makes it in the retail stores? Front PJs are an interesting segment because they are widely considered to be computer peripherals. It's only in the past 18 months that a home theater segment is beginning to appear. (This excludes high-dollar PJs sold at high-end shops).


Many of the projectors people would like to demo ARE hard to find -- in retail. However, I've found that -- if you're willing to pay a premium -- you could go to your local office/media/presentations location and set up a demo. They'd want to know you are willing to pay THEIR price (higher than internet) and they'd want to BELIEVE you were seriously considering the product -- before they'd agree to it!


Certainly, we can ASSUME the manufacturers are the ones still sending PJs through the computer/office presentation channels. But are they really wrong? Should they go the Big Buster Electronics instead? Let's look at the X1.


BBuy picked up the X1 and sells it with a 30-day guarantee. Their overhead is higher because of salesman and a salesfloor. When you return this product, they may not recoup all/part of the credit card processing fees. And, they have to "pay" to restock the item. Then, the next person wants a discount to buy a used (open-box) item. Also, during the whirlwind sales of X1, the price dropped 40%! This also cuts into Best Buy's profit. (Some of that is eased through InFocus rebates, but Best Buy still took a big hit on this product).


The final result... BBuy can't be that thrilled and the manufacturers may be thinking. Wow, look at that mess....


Who won? The buyers did. But it can't keep going, can it? That's why we're hearing the the X1 has to be made cheaper. So, is this why the other projectors aren't in this band wagon?


Is it that the manufacturers aren't savy enough to go to big retailers or that big retailers don't see the profit margin in a product that has a more limited following than standard rear view display devices?


What REALLY needs to happen so we can see these projectors in the retail stores? (And, how can we assure the retailers we won't buy over the net after viewing the product in their stores)?
 

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These are good thoughts... unfortunately, the majority of large electronics stores just don't see a profit margin in this market.

I can't really say that I don't understand either... but when you're selling a 55" Mitsubishi for $2,000 that has 48 points of margin in it, why would you show someone a $1,000 projector with 10 points of margin in it?


It just doesn't make sense.

I've been talking with a friend of mine, about using the combined HT knowledge we have to try to help bring FP to the masses, but short of installation, we're having trouble finding ways to make any sort of profit on the business.


We've just started discussing all of this, but an audio/installation guru, and I'm pretty well versed on the video side of things, and when we team up, we can sell just about anything... but it's just not worth it if we're going to lose our ASSets.


This has long been a dream for both of us, and nobody succeeds without first trying (and typically failing a few times) but we really want to do this. After all, We both sell $4,000 RPTV's all day long. Obviously people have a certain amount of disposable income, if only they knew what they could really get for that money.
 

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It is pretty difficult to justify the space and staff to sell a $2000 projector to make a $100. Aggressive internet pricing has lowered the profit on business style projectors to this extent. The consumer still thinks this is a large purchase and can agonize to a point where they will spend hours talking to salespeople. In the end it just isn't worth it.
 

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The digital projector is a perfect example of a product that is hard for local stores to compete with. Internet retailers have many big advantages for the customer, such as:

lower prices

no sales tax

low cost (or free) shipping to your door

larger selection of models


The online store can operate from a warehouse in Wisconsin, and use emails for most of their correspondence with customers. It is hard for any local store to expect customers to pay hundreds, or thousands more just for "customer service."
 

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Joe,


If it's a dream of yours, start with low overhead and work your way up. Heck, start with a Home Theater party (ala tupperware) where you invite people over to check out these low cost projectors. Since there's nowhere else in town to demo them, they'll come back to you for the sale.


Even if you only get $300 a pop on an AE300 or Z1, I'll be it will beat what you're making on selling a $4000 RPTV. Also be a dealer for some high value low cost audio equipment that you can't find everywhere. Selling a couple systems a week in your spare time could get you on your way.


Just a thought..
 

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HTCrazy, thank you, I appreciate the advice.

Yes, you're right, low overhead is absolutely the way to go.

That's the route we're going to take, until the business can generate enough capital to support itself in a reasonable manner.


High Value Low Cost is definitely an angle I am very eager to pursue.

Every city has their Runco dealer... and that isn't the market I'm trying to target here. That's a big dollar market, and we're nowhere near ready for that yet.


One thing I have always wanted to implement, would be "Home Theater in a Box". When I say that, I mean set a certain price point... let's say $4,500 just off the top of my head, for the "DVD Dream Package" or whatever clever name you want for it... which would include SVGA projector, screen, DVD player, entry level (circa $500) audio system, cabling, basic installation, and basic calibration. You could then edit the package, as needed to suit each application. Then obviously have step-up packages, and go from there.


The idea seems unique, at least in this area, and FPTV is rarely implemented, and often looked at as "something for the rich" although I get more and more people asking me if I carry front projection at my retail store.


I think a bit of clever marketing can also go a very long way. I have some ideas on that as well. We'll see how it goes. This is something that I'd want to take rather slowly, and build it up the old fashioned way, through low overhead, hard work, and profit reinvestment.
 
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