Seasonal opportunities

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Even when money is tight people are willing to indulge themselves and their nearest and dearest at Christmas. Anna Ryland reviews manufacturers’ seasonal offers.

Every year, regardless of the economic situation in the country, the Christmas season offers many opportunities for retailers. Making the best of them is not only about stocking, and preparing the store to become your best selling tool, but also following lifestyle trends to be able to offer to your customers the most sought-after products while explaining the latest technologies behind them.

Festive vision and sound

No doubt, the most exciting development during this Christmas season will be 3D television. “We believe this will be the first 3D Christmas because a whole 3D ‘eco system’ has been put in place whether that is blockbuster movie releases in the cinema, major brand TVs and 3D Blu-ray players in-store, the availability of an increasing number of 3D Blu-ray discs and the launch of Europe’s first dedicated broadcast channel with Sky 3D,” says Tom Henderson, TV and AVM trade marketing manager at Philips.

Philips’ Christmas offer will include a wide range of 3D ready products including the 8605 and 9705 TV range and the BDP7500, 8000 and 9600 Blu-ray players. However the company will also debut its “ultimate cinematic viewing experience” with the launch of the Cinema 21:9 Platinum TV – “the only set that can deliver a true cinema style 3D image.” It will include a built-in 3D receiver and is unique in being the only TV that can exactly match the shape and the impact of the 3D cinema screen – there are no black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. ”The 8000 and 9000 sets will be upgradable to 3D with an optional 3D pack which consists of a transmitter and two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses. A family upgrade pack is also available, giving consumers the choice of when to invest in 3D viewing.

To help retailers sell its 3D products Philips will provide copies of the films from the Parallel Lines campaign as demo material for in store use – to demonstrate 2D and 3D image quality and sound performance of the Philips TVs and Blu-ray players. Philips will also provide assistance in creating shop-in-shop displays for the TV ranges, docking and portable audio ranges.

Among Sharp’s products which the company will be promoting in the weeks leading up to Christmas will be the LE821E, “the first television to feature four colour sub-pixels, by adding yellow to the traditional mix of red, green and blue. Exclusive to Sharp, the new technology enables 1,000 times more colour than any other TV”. The range will be offered with a variety of connections, including HDMI, USB, Ethernet, and Freeview HD. Sharp’s offers will also include the Aquos CT2E TV which has Freeview HD built in and comes complete with CCFL backlighting and a range of connectivity options including HDMI terminals, USB attachment and PC input. For those wishing to fill their home with traditional carols or more contemporary music, Sharp is offering the Sharp DK-AP8P iPod docking system which has a removable touch sensitive control and has various ports, including AUX input and video output on the back which enables it to be connected to a TV for viewing photos or videos stored on the iPhone or iPod.

In August 2010, Humax launched its flagship Freeview product, the HDR-FOX T2 digital TV recorder for Freeview HD+ that offers users advanced recording features, home networking and content sharing capabilities and access to high definition (HD) content, all subscription free. “In the run up to Christmas 2010, we’ll also see some exciting catch-up services being added to the HDR-FOX T2, and our HD-FOX T2 set-top box, with the addition of Sky Player and BBC iPlayer, to make sure any household is set up for the Christmas TV season,” says Graham North, commercial director at Humax Electronics.

Humax is also talking to Freesat and Freeview about promotional activity in the run up to Christmas and the company expects to announce its plans in the next few weeks.

Roberts will have a broad product offer during the Christmas season with some new products due to launch in the next few weeks, ahead of the peak selling season.

“Wi-Fi for us will be key and several of our new products include this technology, as well as Last FM. We also have some new analogue models for the Christmas season as, although we are driving the DAB offering to our consumers, there are listeners out there who want a traditional analogue radio. Finally, we will be continuing to expand our ecologic offering with a new radio that offers the longest battery life on the market. Our Christmas offering is incredibly varied with the aim being that everyone should be able to find a radio they like from our range,” commented Owen Walters, Roberts’s sales and marketing director.

Equally diverse is Roberts’ promotional activities programme. The company will be partnering the major commercial radio stations throughout the Christmas period, including Absolute, Heart FM, Magic FM and Smooth FM. Roberts will also run an on pack promotion with Trex through the Christmas period with 250,000 packs going in-store nationally. Roberts will continue to work with Paramount pictures to partner upcoming films, the next one being ‘Made in Dagenham’. Online activity will include competitions on key websites including radio stations and newspapers and magazines sites.

“We are also working with an agency to initiate a VIP parking programme with an airline throughout the Christmas period,” adds Owen Walters.

PURE has a radio to suit every member of the family this Christmas. For mums and daughters the company has its latest designer radio, the EVOKE Mio by Orla Kiely – digital and FM portable radio featuring Orla Kiely’s signature stem print. The EVOKE-1S Marshall is the perfect present for dad or any rockers in the family. For the environmentally conscious PURE has its Energy Saving Trust recommended radios among which are the Chronos CD Series II; Chronos iDock Series II; Élan II; Siesta iDock; Move; EVOKE-1S; Siesta; Chronos II; TEMPUS-1S; ONE Mini; ONE Classic; ONE Elite; EVOKE Mio and EVOKE-2S. Gadget fans will be able to choose from PURE’s expanding internet-connected digital radio range, which includes Sensia with its large, high-resolution colour touchscreen.

In the weeks leading up to the Christmas period, Panasonic is offering a special photography gift pack, worth £150, available with any purchase of a selected Lumix G model. Teaming up with Adobe and Going Digital, Panasonic is supplying a whole photography experience from taking images, editing photos and videos to learning new skills and techniques. Included in the pack is Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 and Adobe Premier Elements 9 which offer photographers the chance to create extraordinary photos and quickly share them in unique cards, scrapbook pages, photo books and online albums. The gift pack also includes a £35 gift voucher with Going Digital (goingdigital.co.uk), who offers a range of one-day photography workshops for beginners to more experienced photographers.

The Sony digital imaging product line-up for Christmas 2010 features something for everyone’s wish list. The NEX cameras are the perfect Christmas present for the style-conscious. Teaming DSLR-quality imaging with the convenience of interchangeable lenses, this camera comes in a compact body that slips easily into a bag or pocket. Also Cyber-shot cameras make ideal presents for the festive season. Slim, lightweight and easy to use, the Cyber-shot DSC WX5 and DSC TX9 are the world’s first compact still cameras to feature 3D Sweep Panorama.

It’s easy to create full HD video clips and still photos with the new Sony Bloggie Touch from Sony. After shooting they can be shared by connecting the camera to any
PC via its flip-out USB arm that also charges the camera’s battery. Bloggie Touch also records 360-degree panoramic videos and photos with the supplied lens adaptor.

Another Christmas favourite is digital frames. The latest S-Frame range from Sony now also features video playback with stereo sound. The XR100 flagship model boasts a 10.2in panel with excellent detailing and colours. A new engraving service will allow your customers to create the perfect, personalised Christmas gift for friends and family.

Help with Christmas preparations

Small kitchen appliances have always been popular Christmas gifts. During the 2010 Christmas season, Philips plans to promote a variety of newly launched products which will help retailers target consumers with different needs.

For families, Philips will be promoting the recently launched airfryer which uses patented Rapid Air technology to ‘fry’ food without extra oil. It is quick to heat up and allows consumers to prepare a variety of healthy homemade food and snacks very promptly.

The new range of Gaggia manual and automatic coffee machines is also key for Philips in the Christmas season. Designed with style, attention to detail and function in mind, Gaggia coffee machines are the ultimate gift for coffee fans. From the top of the range, automatic Accademia machine, which remembers users’ favourite coffee and milk preferences, to the manual Espresso Colour, Gaggia machines allow consumers to enjoy quality coffee in their home.

The new Philips Wake-Up Light is the perfect gift solution as the nights become shorter and darker. Designed to wake the body up as nature intended – with light – the product starts emitting a gentle light which gradually increases in intensity, simulating the rising sun in the bedroom.

In addition, Philips has a range of beauty products, including the Lumea which uses Intense Pulse Light (IPL) technology to get rid of unwanted body hair, and the new ProCare Keratin Straightener equipped in keratin infused plates and ionic conditioning. For the male market Philips has the new SensoTouch 3D shaver that can be used with or without shaving gel for smooth results. The Philips range of consumer lifestyle products will be supported by a PR campaign to promote their benefits to the consumer.

The compact Tassimo, and the top of the range bean to cup coffee machines, and Styline kettle and toaster breakfast sets will be the focus of the Bosch Christmas offer. Especially during the winter season customers are likely to appreciate Tassimo machines that are able to give them a wide variety of drinks from espressos, latte macchiatos, and cappuccinos to teas and hot chocolates.

Bosch Styline kettles and toasters, with many innovative features, make attractive gifts. The kettle’s LED control base unit allows the user to choose between four temperature setting so each drink is brewed at the correct temperature. A KeepWarm option allows water to be continuously boiled at the selected temperature for up to 30 minutes. The Styline toaster features AutoHeat, mirror heating technology, to make the perfect toast every time.

KitchenAid will drive festive sales this year with new Cranberry, the latest colour to be added to the iconic range of its stand mixers. Vibrant Cranberry is designed to appeal to shoppers seeking gifts that offer both style and function. The Mixer will be featured in a TV advertisement during the Christmas period.

Groupe SEB expects its small appliances to see an uplift in sales in the run up to the peak Christmas season, therefore the company is focusing its seasonal promotion on product areas such as multi beverage coffee systems i.e. the Krups Dolce Gusto and pump systems such as Nespresso and food preparation (blenders and liquidisers). “These very much reflect consumer interest in cooking at home. In particular, the new Jamie Oliver Hand Blender which is receiving excellent trade and consumer reviews,” says Steve Lowe, customer marketing manager Groupe SEB UK Ltd.

“Steamers continue to be good sellers during the Christmas period and into the New Year as consumers look to extend their healthy eating lifestyle,” continues Steve Lowe. Therefore the company expects consumers’ interest in its new Tefal VitaCuisine, but also the new Tefal ActiFry Family Fryer with a 50% larger capacity whilst still producing chips with only 3% fat.

A Christmas treat with a difference – the promise of waking up to a hot cuppa and the favourite radio station – is the latest offer from Swan, which sports an integral AM/FM radio in its latest model – the Radio Teasmade.

For the customers who plan to entertain more at home during Christmas, Husky Retail has its new HUS-HN6 Reflections slimline wine cooler. Holding up to 12 bottles of wine at the perfect temperature and featuring a curved mirror-effect door, the digitally controlled cooler is an ideal Christmas gift for the discerning wine buff. The thermo-electrically powered Reflections Wine Cooler can be adjusted to store the wine at any temperature between eight and 15 degrees centigrade using the touch-screen digital controls on the door.

Cleaning up the mess

Christmas celebrations which inevitably involve parties, the family get together and the present wrapping and unwrapping, create a lot of mess. Once the presents have been opened and the relatives have gone home, there’s the clearing up and cleaning to be done. Therefore floorcare products are likely to feature on many people’s wish lists.

SEBO, with its latest range of AIRBELT D powerful vacuum cleaners promises to ease the task of post-festive cleaning. They have easily changeable settings for wooden floor, carpet, upholstery, rugs and curtains. An integrated upholstery nozzle, long-crevice nozzle and dusting brush are standard on all models and, at a lightweight 6.7kg, the ergonomic body is easy to navigate around your Christmas tree and other seasonal obstacles. These models are powered by Turbofan motors which utilise the latest turbine technology to generate strong suction power, perfect for picking up loose needles from around the Christmas tree.

Very handy at the time of Christmas festivities is AEG-Electrolux’s Ergorapido, a rechargeable two in one (stick and handheld) cordless cleaner. The handheld cleaner is also ideal for car interiors, crumbs on sofas or spills on the work surface. Ergorapido weighs only 2.4kg and is very easy to manoeuvre. The double-jointed flexible floor nozzle enables the user to whizz around furniture with a light twist of the handle.

During the 2010 Christmas season, Polti plans to launch and promote the Green Energy Lecoaspira collection. This is a range of steam and vacuum cleaners that also have the optional attachment of a steam generator iron. Three in one model – one machine for all cleaning and laundry needs.

The Lecoaspira range cleans using the power of steam alone therefore eliminating the need for chemical cleaners and detergents within the home. The flexibility of the product range means the customer only needs to buy one machine for their complete cleaning and ironing needs. The Lecoaspira range includes models which will vacuum using the wet and dry water filter vacuum cleaner and with the help of numerous attachments steam clean all surfaces within the home. It also have an optional steam iron attachment that can give a professional ‘dry clean’ finish to the user’s garments.

The supporting act

Accessories are particularly important during the Christmas season. Without them the customers will not be able to enjoy the newly acquired electronic gadgets. The latest offers from Vogel’s are in themselves great Christmas presents. They are: Vogel’s TwistDock for Sony Playstation 3, THIN series flat TV wall brackets and the new at home / on the move mount system for the iPad.

The TwistDock enables consumers to neatly place the PS3 console and includes storage/charging cradles for two controllers, addresses cable mana
gement and expands the current two USB connections to five ports.

Vogel’s Thin Series wall mounts fit all 32in – 52in flat TVs, that are 4cm deep or less and weighs up to 25kg. They are designed for LED and 3D televisions as their minimal depth make them virtually invisible when mounted to the wall. The highlight of the series is the THIN355RC, a remote controlled motorised wall mount which over Christmas may discourage the customers from getting out of their chairs all together.

The Vogel’s iPad mount features a case that can protect the device against day to day scuffs and accidental damage, and is designed to fit to Vogel’s wall mounting, table stand and car headrest kit for ultimate in the home/on the go usage.

A very special offer from Vogel’s for independent dealers is a ‘buy now, pay 2011’ promotion, providing extended credit until 15 January 2011. On top of this, there is 10% off selected products including the new THIN series of wall mounts. “We are delighted to support dealers with extended credit during this difficult financial time. With minimal commitment over the Christmas period our Buy Now Pay Later is designed to drive profitable attachment sales of Vogel’s wall brackets with Flat TV’s” comments Jeremy Lanaway, Vogel’s trade marketing manager.

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