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Three Biggest Mistakes In Presenting Home Theater

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Home theater should be an experience for customers, but the three most common mistakes in presenting home theater in furniture dealer showrooms cut down on the experience – and the sales potential. So explains Bruce Sinning, Berkline’s vice president of merchandising. Berkline produces 22 styles of home theater, the most in the industry. Two years ago Berkline created a program, the Home Theater Gallery, specially designed to help dealers make the most of their home theater potential. “Proper presentation is the difference between success and coming up short,” Sinning said. “Done right, home theater should be one of a dealer’s highest profit sales items.” The three biggest mistakes, in order, are: 1. Failing to create the home theater “experience.” “Home theater is experiential; a separate room with surround sound, a big screen TV or projector and controlled lighting is a must,” Sinning said. The room needs to be exciting and always “on,” he added. Creating the room and leaving the movie off or showing only the menu screen does little to sell the concept. 2. Displaying home theater in the same way as single sofas or recliners, simply sitting home theater seats on the display floor surrounded by other furniture. “Making home theater just another floor display robs it of its effect,” said Angie Britt of AB Designs, who works with Berkline dealers on effective home theater presentation. “When surrounded by other furniture, home theater loses its distinctiveness and the expectation of an entertainment event home theater is meant to deliver.” 3. Not making full use of electronics. “The audio-visual component is crucial to enabling customers to not only see, but feel the experience,” Sinning said. “Whenever possible, bundling the A/V and seating makes home theater more exciting and dramatic for the consumer. The more comfortable the dealer is with the A/V, the better the experience – and sales potential.” Steve Darvin, owner of 88-year-old Darvin Furniture in Chicago, says working with Berkline to develop his showroom’s home theater center has an impact on customer reaction. “We have a partially enclosed area that has theater seating and faces a plasma TV, so customers have an idea of how it would look in their homes,” Darvin said. “At the display entrance are graphics, searchlights and a theater marquee to make it feel like a Hollywood premier. We’re doing more business with the layout. “Berkline helped us set up the home theater display, and it enables customers to see they don’t need as much room as they might have thought,” Darvin added. “They can have home theater in a spare room, living room, den or basement.” Randy Bowman, Berkline vice president of advertising and retail marketing, said Berkline’s two-year-old Home Theater Gallery program today has home theater galleries across the country and more opening each month. “We provide dealers with the point of purchase materials needed to make a good retail presentation,” said Bowman. “The retailer is responsible for the A/V and the dedicated room.” Sinning said dealers do best when they work with a local A/V supplier. Ideally, a home theater gallery, or a similar display, is a separate room of 500 to 1,000 square feet with surround sound, customized lighting and a big-screen TV. Berkline has developed a series of innovations that expand the home theater experience, the effects of which are lost without proper presentation, Sinning added. Among these are Buttkicker subsonic technology; PowerRecline (powered reclining to a favorite viewing position); Wallaway (fully reclines just inches from a wall); Touchmotion (reclines at the touch of a button); Chaiselounger (support from head to toe while reclining); Hideaway Storage (hidden tables and storage), and others. “Not using Buttkicker could be chalked up as the fourth biggest mistake,” Sinning said. “Buttkicker is a silent subwoofer installed within a home theater seat. Buttkicker’s powerful bass brings viewers into the action’ it lets them feel what’s happening on screen.” In the end, what people feel about home theater is as important as what they see. “Make the customer feel special by showing them that their home theater can go beyond anything they experience in a movie theater, even more comfortably,” Sinning said, “and they will respond.” About Berkline: Berkline has been a leading manufacturer of reclining furniture for more than 75 years. Berkline specializes in motion, home theater, and upholstered furnishings. The company’s headquarters is in Morristown, TN. For more information about Berkline and its products, please visit www.berkline.com.

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