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Why Do Appliance Stores Sell Certain Brands?

October 5th, 2015 | 3 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf

So you went to an appliance store. What you originally wanted is not what you are now considering. Do you know why? Part of the time it's just that you may have liked the new products even better.

However, most of the time you bought what the store or more interestingly what the salesperson was promoting.

Last week, we posted an article called Why You Will Have Appliance Issues and How to Avoid Them. Today's we talk about the convoluted sales process, which unfortunately often does not have your best interests at heart.

I will talk about how to deal with salespeople and stores, so you end up with what you need not what they want. “They” would be the box stores; regional chains like Sears, independent stores, and even Yale.

Salesperson Incentives

A salesperson can make $600 selling a professional range to you. They are called “spiffs” or industry parlance for sales incentives or kickbacks for lack of better words. Many appliance dealers pay a small base and allow companies to fully incentivize and compensate the store's salespeople.

This type of compensation could be as much as 75% of their total income. Viking, for example, is incentivizing salespeople up to $1,600 for qualifying appliances, which is unbelievable.

Viking is a great brand, but did you buy Viking after reviewing and considering other brands? Or was it sold to you?

It is smart (in an unusual way) and has allowed unknown brands to compete with the better names. However, the industry suffers, because they are paying outlandish incentives instead of developing new, better products.

It is also a bigger problem for you as the products could be misrepresented.

Appliance Salesperson….Friend or Foe?

Store Brands

So you went into Sears looking for a Bosch dishwasher, and bought a Kenmore Elite. That is not surprising. Stores will push their own brands, because they are more profitable.

Box Stores

Box stores do not offer incentives (or much else) to their salespeople, so it is more about how they merchandise. Presently, LG and Samsung dominate box store distribution. They are following the same plan as electronics like TVs.

Box stores can market these two powerful names and the Korean companies in turn receive quick market share. It is very smart. However, you should consider other brands especially in cooking and dishwashers.

Independent Stores

You typically will have better service from an independent appliance dealer (many of whom are reading this). However, they are over reliant on selling away from the box stores. I like Speed Queen for example. It is a great story, but should it be the best seller in the entire laundry category for the independent appliance dealer?

Independents also need to look at their compensation plans. Incentives are good, but the spiff model of allowing salespeople deciding your purchase is crazy.

Yale Appliance + Lighting

I am as guilty as those above. That being said, if you shop at Yale you probably are considering Bosch, Electrolux, Thermador, Miele, Maytag, Sub-Zero and Wolf.

We have a sell plan based on what is best for the customer. What does best mean? When you have an appliance issue, we can either fix or replace the product quickly with these brands.

Our compensation model is a much higher base with a percentage of commission. We do not allow spiffs or the manufacturers to deal with salespeople directly.

It’s a flat percentage, so it is fair to every manufacturer. The salespeople can sell on merit rather on trying to earn a huge score on a particular customer.

I have also increased percentages on the more reliable products and decreased on the products with problems or supply chain issues. We service what we sell, so problem products are a huge drain financially on the store and a pain point for you. We do not sell many brands for this reason.

How To Buy What You Want

One of the best sales lines you hear concerns service. It is odd, because most stores do not have a service department or just a couple of techs. So, where are they getting this information? We published the most reliable and least reliable brands based on 20,000 actual service calls completed in 2014.

First step in your process is to figure out exactly what you do want. For example on a kitchen range, do you use the top more often, do you bake, broil, griddle or grill? Then do your research. There are plenty of blogs and other resources to help.

Many stores have live products. Ask to use them, and if you are bold enough, ask your appliance retailer how they compensate staff (wish I could be there).

You want to enjoy your new appliances. In most cases, they are way better than your present ones. However, you do not want to discover their true capabilities after the appliance is in your home.

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about appliances? Get the Yale Appliance Buying Guide with features, inside tips to all the brands and considerations before you buy your new kitchen. Over 120,000 people have downloaded a Yale Guide.

View our appliance buying guide

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve Sheinkopf is the third-generation CEO of Yale Appliance and a lifelong Bostonian. He has over 38 years of experience in the appliance industry, and he is a trusted source of information for consumers on how to buy and repair appliances.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

Steve is passionate about helping consumers find the best appliances for their needs, and he is always happy to answer questions and provide advice. He is a valuable resource for consumers who are looking for information on appliance buying, repair, and maintenance.

Despite being the worst goalie in history, Steve is a fan of the Bruins and college hockey, loves to read, and is a Peloton biker. The love of his life is his daughter, Sophie.

A Note About Pricing

Pricing on this blog is for reference only and may include time sensitive rebates. We make every attempt to provide accurate pricing at time of publishing. Please call the stores for most accurate price.


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