Sony announced it, joining Samsung, Panasonic and LG Electronics, who made similar announcements. The long and short of it is that there is no longer going to be 87 different prices from 87 different vendors for each model of TV. These days you can google the model # of the TV that you want and find pricing that is all over the place. So unilateral pricing does several things.
1. It makes shopping for a TV alot easier. So instead of driving all over town and spending hours all over the internet looking for umpteen different price quotes to take in to your local store to get the pricing down as low as possible, you can find the model you want and go straight to your favorite retailer and buy and know that you aren’t paying you any more or less that you would somewhere else.
2. It protects the consumer from problems when buying online. Google a model number of a TV…go ahead…ill wait…so how many prices did you find? 10, 15???? Exactly…so why so many prices if whats in the box is the same thing? Well if you take away the eBay prices your left with 3 different kind of retailers. Your brick and mortar store locations that you can walk in and physically see the TV. Next you have the authorized online retailers, these are websites that are authorized by the manufacturers to sell their products with a full warranty, pricing is usually cheaper than the brick and mortar stores due to the lower running costs of maintaining a website as opposed to a store location. Then you have your unauthorized dealers, this is a seller that got the products sometimes from the manufacturer’s or where ever, but they come with NO warranty. These are the ones that are usually the ones that are significantly cheaper than the rest of the sites you will see. Problem with an unauthorized dealer is that if you purchase the TV from the site, it gets delivered and you plug it in and its dead…you better hope the site has a good return policy (usually most sites will return the product but there will be a significant restocking or processing, or some other silly fee, I’ve seen as much as $500 to “exchange” the unit). The other problem with these sites are that alot of the time you will place your order, pay your money and then you will get an email with words to the effect of “oh were out of this model right now, but for X amount more you can have this one” or “this model is out of stock, we’ll let you know when its in”, usually several weeks/months later. The biggest reasoning behind the unilateral pricing is that it will eliminate these unauthorized deals and prevent these things from happening(which i have had 2 customers go through the broken TV showing up at their door scenario)
3. From a sellers standpoint, it will help create margin in TV’s again. 10 Years ago when flat screens first came out there was a ton of profit to be made in TV’s. Once the warehouse clubs, websites etc started selling TVs the margins plummeted. So how is me selling you a TV with more profit in it a benefit to the consumer? Well pricing is going to be coming down over the next few years, these things have been out long enough so that manufacturers have figured out how to make them cheaper. So by eliminating the issues with the unauthorized dealers, which will eliminate angry customers, class action law suits due to these retailers that seem to magically disappear all the time, manufacturers not needing to employee bands of people to chase down these websites and dealing with the claims, and cheaper manufacturing methods it causes manufacturing costs to drop, which in relation is causes retail prices to drop. Several manufacturers also announced they will eliminate some of the models from their line ups. Lets be honest there is no need for 7 different kinds of 50″ Plasma from the same manufacturer.
So if your in the market for a TV…it just got alot easier!!! Personal opinion is that it will take a little bit to actually make a difference in the market place, but once it does it will make a big difference in how easy it is to buy your next TV. And your going to buy it from The English Guy of course…right? Please?