In an effort to “capitalize on the emerging Internet economy and electronic commerce,” Thomson Consumer Electronics, Inc. announced yesterday that it is putting its RCA brand consumer electronics products on sale on the Internet and will ship orders directly from its warehouses to consumers.
RCA, one of the top U.S. consumer electronics companies, paved the way for its full-scale online store by introducing its LYRA personal audio player last week. The new device, used to play digital audio tracks downloaded from the Internet, is for sale on the RCA-operated LyraZone.com Web site.
Although LyraZone.com has its own site with product information and links to digital download sites, the “buy” button on the site links to RCA.com, where Lyra is now one of more than 100 RCA products that can be purchased directly from the manufacturer.
A recent report from the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association predicts that more than 75 percent of online consumers who purchase electronics over the next two years will use the Internet to research their purchase. Since consumer electronics products are already among the most popular online purchase items, Thomson Senior Vice President Mike O’Hara said, it makes sense for RCA to add direct sales to its current-tiered approach.
Keeping Retailers on Board
In an effort to avoid undercutting its dealer network completely, RCA has reserved its digital satellite systems for sale only through authorized retailers. In addition, each online listing of other consumer electronics products includes both an “order” button for online purchasing and a link to a list of authorized dealers that also sell the product. “We are committed to pursuing electronic commerce opportunities that also strengthen our current dealer relationships,” O’Hara said.
Thomson also operates the Thomson Dealer Network, a business-to-business commerce site with full-time availability of product information, ordering and invoice status, claims filing and marketing promotions. More than 1,300 Thomson dealers in the United States use the Thomson Dealer Network, which will be expanded to Canada and Europe next year.
To operate its new online sales business, Thomson formed a new subsidiary, Thomson Direct, Inc. Products available online include television sets, DVD players, VCRs, camcorders, audio/video accessories, digital cable modems and audio products, and the company plans to expand its current online offerings over time.
The site also includes an updated, expanded database of product information, including operating manuals for all RCA products. Warranty information and online warranty registration are also available on the site.
Thomson Direct, Inc., will also market PROSCAN and GE brand home entertainment products, which Thomson also manufactures.