Alphason has launched a new range of premium stands designed in-house by the company’s young designers, appropriately named ‘Design First’. It consists of 12 models, which will retail from £199 to £500. Their design varies from more traditional wood products to very minimalist modern concepts – matching all consumers’ tastes. They will be available in stores by August.
Alphason’s commercial director Paul McCarthy explained to IER, the thinking behind the launch: “Over the last two years, the AV stands market has became commoditised and the prices fell down dramatically, eroding retailer’s margins to negligible amounts. Now as customers are buying the second or the third flat panel televisions they are still being presented with the same glass stands which were offered as supports for bulky CRTs. In fact, retailers should be selling second-generation stands for the second generation of television panels.
“The new range is a result of in-depth market research and a revaluation of Alphason’s offer, which led us to the conclusion that design is of prime importance in this market sector at present. Therefore to reinforce our design credentials we established a relationship with Salford and Staffordshire Universities. Their design students take summer placements in Alphason. A part of their coursework is to design a TV stand and we take the best designs to the market. For example, the Pebble model has been created by Paul Humphries, a young designer who was on a placement with us.”
Promoting home-grown talent, each instruction booklet features a photograph of the designer.
The new range will be supported by a variety of marketing activities, such as videos, PoS and brochures, and, for the first time, social networking. “We want to engage more with consumers and drive them into our customers’ stores.”
However, Alphason will continue to supply budget stands to customers who want them. “We will continue to supply these stands but retailers must realise that margins on these products are in decline. And they must readjust their thinking about stands and try and move to more design-led products if they want to make more margin,” warned Paul.
For 2012, Alphason is developing “more premium and concept-focused products” with price tags of approximately £500. “Although we have a strong franchise with our dealers, we need to reinforce it with the consumers. These new product ranges should help us to ensure that Alphason is seen as ‘the’ brand in AV furniture.”