Chicago (IL) – Executives at Sony argue that eliminating price competition among retailers for items such as high-end televisions and cameras is a great consumer benefit. While speaking with reporters in New York, president of Sony Electronics Stan Glasgow, and president of consumer sales Jay Vandenbree discussed a new rule that prevents retailers from discounting Sony’s Alpha digital camera line, its more expensive televisions and some of the company’s other high-end products.
Vandenbree believes that ensuring that all of the prices for these products are the same across the board will eliminate the stress of bargain hunting for customers. “Consumers don’t have to worry about whether I can get a better deal at retailer A or retailer B,” he said. “Everybody gets the best deal.” He noted that stores can now compete on other attributes, such as consumer education and technical support.
Vandenbree also stated that Sony’s new policy is also one of the reasons that the Alpha line is gaining share in the DSLR camera market. If we look at posts on photography blogs, however, consumers do not seem to be entirely appreciative of the stress relief. But they do complain about the cameras increasing in price by hundreds of dollars. Many electronics dealers have deemed the program an issue.
For almost one hundred years, antitrust laws basically prevented manufacturers from telling retailers how much they could charge for their goods. Last year, the Supreme Court overturned the concept and said that a court must consider the details of each case to decide whether or not a particular policy on pricing is an unfair or illegal practice.