A TV brand for the independent

In Features On

Linsar’s product offer and distribution strategy is targeted at the independent channel. The founders of the company tell Anna Ryland what they are doing to maintain this market focus.

Linsar, a British television company specialising in small size TV panels, is a relative newcomer to the UK market. The company strives to differentiate itself in the competitive CE market by highly specifying its products and supporting them with excellent service. Another unique feature of Linsar is its clear distribution strategy – geared at the independent channel.

The company was founded by two entrepreneurs and CE enthusiasts, Barry Kick and Terry Reid. They have experience of factory and account management, sales and marketing, aspects of manufacturing and distribution. “We share a good skill set to run this business,” says Barry. Their partnership began in 2006 and the company’s name came from joining the names of their wives: Lynn and Sarah.

“Linsar’s offer sits at the top of the entry-level category but our products are designed to differ from those from supermarkets with a number of features, service and marketing support,” says Barry Kick. “Before we set up Linsar we looked at the major players, analysing what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. We have taken the best bits and incorporated them into our offer,” adds Terry Reid.

Linsar’s TV panels range from 16 to 32in and they come with a 12-month warranty. In 2010, the company added two PVRs and a set-top box to its portfolio. In early 2010, Linsar moved to its current premises in close proximity of Bournemouth airport which proved very advantageous. They are able to accept orders until 5pm and guarantee a next-day delivery. They’re also strengthening the brand by making a greater investment in PR and marketing. The company is also working towards ISO accreditation.

“We are working very hard on differentiating our products,” stresses Barry.

Linsar buys its panels from Turkish manufacturer Vestel and customises them adding features such as a picture enhancement engine, HDMI sockets and a custom-made remote control. “We have to make sure that we are putting together the best product we can without stepping outside the remit the brand is able to sit in.”

Terry and Barry argue that Linsar is the only true independent TV brand in the UK market “because we stuck to the promise we made at the beginning. We are in control of the company and we have adopted our product for the British market. Our destiny is not dictated by owners abroad. We are providing incremental business for good retailers whose core business comes from Sony and Panasonic.”

Linsar works closely with Big Red Sales which promotes the brand to the independent dealers. “The partnership is very beneficial not only for us but also for our trade partners. If we were to employ our own sales force, the price of our products would be higher,” says Terry.

In September 2010, Linsar launched a new range of LED TVs (19, 22 and 24in models) with titanium finish bezels – the Titanium Range. They have a number of useful features such as integral DVD Player, Freeview, electronic programme guides, HDMI and PC inputs. However, the truly unique features of this range are the USB record facility and ‘Big Button’ ergonomic remote control. The Plug, Play & Record via USB facility allows the consumer to plug in a USB flash memory stick and record TV programmes, live or from the EPG directly onto the stick.

Terry believes that Linsar has demonstrated that it is a credible partner of the independent: “Over the last four years we proved what we preached – we stuck rigidly to our distribution strategy of targeting only the independent sector.

When we go the independent now – they believe what we say.” Finally he adds: ”The reason why independent should support Linsar is the margin. Our distribution strategy protects the margins which we offer to independent dealers.”

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