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| Electronics and Appliances

08/26/13

All Washed Up: Major Appliances Have Major Impact On Bottom Lines Of Big-box Retailers

Choosing the best appliance or even the place to buy it leaves consumers' heads spinning faster than a rinse cycle.
What once was a market dominated by only a few retailers is now a wide-open field that includes names such as Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot and Sears. What happened to the Maytag Man you ask? He basically was trampled by a slew of marketing and a can-you-top-this price structure by the aforementioned retail heavyweights.
No one bothered to stop, pick up and dust off the Maytag Man, but then again, who has the time? Appliances specifically now account for a good majority of sales revenue for department store such as Sears. But even companies known for electronics (Best Buy) or home improvement (Lowes & Home Depot) rely heavily on their appliance sales as a major part of their revenue.
Weekly ads within newspapers (yes, they still exist) and online ads and a glut of emails about discounts and sales make choosing a retailer just as daunting as selecting a particular brand. More often than not, the winning retailer is the one that offers the best financing plan or price, although most companies price match, thus making cost a moot point. In that regard, customers must choose a store based on their inventory and if a particular model is available at a specific store.
For the most part, Sears still rules the roost as far as appliance retailers go but Best Buy, Lowes and Home Depot are quickly on their heels. Sears is the oldest retailer in that regard and is marketed more as a department store for tools, appliances, home, etc., while the others as previously mentioned are focused more on their specialties.

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Much like Sears and its lineage as an appliance dealer, Whirlpool is old, wise but still wonderful as far as its brand being trusted among consumers. GE falls into that same mix as new kids on the block like Samsung and LG traded in their renowned TV tools for washing machine tumblers, dryer vents and pristine steel refrigerators and stoves.
As these companies fight for market share in the appliance game, the customer ultimately is the winner. You get the best price, the model you want and financing if necessarily that fits your monthly or yearly budget. A lot of the time, customer service is the ultimate tie-breaker since most retailers mirror one another in the aforementioned categories.
So Sears should make sure that "Blue Crew" shirt is tucked in and Best Buy's "Geek Squad" is especially nerdy and informed today, while Lowes and Home Depot touch up and tighten those handyman smocks.
Because in this hotly contested appliance game, retailers throw in everything for victory -- including the kitchen sink.

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