Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 01-09-2011

A full 44% of salespeople do not demonstrate the features of emerging consumer electronics such as 3D TV and IPTV, a study from JP Power and Associates found.

When it comes to new technologies in TV-land, salespeople at the local big box retailer might need a push to take distribution past the early adopter phase. And if seeing really is believing, that could spell trouble for bringing the likes of 3D TV and IPTV into the mainstream.

"The more often a salesperson demonstrates a feature or technology, the more opportunities they have to up-sell it," said Tim Fox, account manager at J.D. Power and Associates. "Retailers can boost both demonstrations and sales rates by providing sales staff with the training and information they need to be comfortable showing features and technologies to customers."

Salespeople at major electronics retail chains tend to demonstrate more familiar TV technology fairly frequently, but the 2011 Television Mystery Shopping Report uncovered that for 3D TV technology, only 44% of salespeople provided a product demonstration. But the real loser is IPTV: the demonstration rates are even lower, hovering at just 34%, and averaging just 7% for unsolicited offers to demonstrate.

"Among retailers included in the report in both 2011 and 2010, IPTV demonstration rates have tripled from 4% in Q4 2010 to 12% in Q2 2011, but this is far from what we'd expect to see for a newer TV feature and leaves significant room for improvement," said

Unsurprisingly, the report finds that salespersons who are more aggressive about asking to close the sale are also more likely to provide product demonstrations. For example, among salespeople who asked to close the sale of a TV at least once, 11% offered to demonstrate IPTV technology. In contrast, among salespeople who did not try to close the sale, only 2% offered a demonstration.

Major electronics retailers that have particularly high demonstration rates for IPTVs include ABC Warehouse, Best Buy and PRO Group.

The report also finds that among HDTV technologies, LED technology is recommended much more frequently by salespersons than are LCD and plasma technology. More than one-half of mystery shoppers (55%) indicate that a salesperson recommended LED technology, while 25% and 16% of mystery shoppers received recommendations for LCD and plasma technology, respectively.

The 2011 Television Mystery Shopping Report compiles the findings of more than 600 trained mystery shoppers who performed on-site, undercover evaluations at ABC Warehouse, Best Buy, BrandsMart, Conn's, Costco, Frys, hhgregg, PC Richard & Son, PRO Group retailers, Sears and Walmart.