RCA To Sell Consumer Electronics Online

In an effort to “capitalize on the emerging Internet economy and electronic commerce,” Thomson Consumer Electronics, Inc. announced yesterday that it is putting its RCA brand consumer electronics products on sale on the Internet and will ship orders directly from its warehouses to consumers.

RCA, one of the top U.S. consumer electronics companies, paved the way for its full-scale online store by introducing its LYRA personal audio player last week. The new device, used to play digital audio tracks downloaded from the Internet, is for sale on the RCA-operated LyraZone.com Web site.

Although LyraZone.com has its own site with product information and links to digital download sites, the “buy” button on the site links to RCA.com, where Lyra is now one of more than 100 RCA products that can be purchased directly from the manufacturer.

A recent report from the Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association predicts that more than 75 percent of online consumers who purchase electronics over the next two years will use the Internet to research their purchase. Since consumer electronics products are already among the most popular online purchase items, Thomson Senior Vice President Mike O’Hara said, it makes sense for RCA to add direct sales to its current-tiered approach.

Keeping Retailers on Board

In an effort to avoid undercutting its dealer network completely, RCA has reserved its digital satellite systems for sale only through authorized retailers. In addition, each online listing of other consumer electronics products includes both an “order” button for online purchasing and a link to a list of authorized dealers that also sell the product. “We are committed to pursuing electronic commerce opportunities that also strengthen our current dealer relationships,” O’Hara said.

Thomson also operates the Thomson Dealer Network, a business-to-business commerce site with full-time availability of product information, ordering and invoice status, claims filing and marketing promotions. More than 1,300 Thomson dealers in the United States use the Thomson Dealer Network, which will be expanded to Canada and Europe next year.

Corporate Moves

To operate its new online sales business, Thomson formed a new subsidiary, Thomson Direct, Inc. Products available online include television sets, DVD players, VCRs, camcorders, audio/video accessories, digital cable modems and audio products, and the company plans to expand its current online offerings over time.

The site also includes an updated, expanded database of product information, including operating manuals for all RCA products. Warranty information and online warranty registration are also available on the site.

Thomson Direct, Inc., will also market PROSCAN and GE brand home entertainment products, which Thomson also manufactures.

3 Comments

  • I have a new RCA digital camera. On the registration card, it said I could register on line at http://www.rca.com. Well, I have spent a half hour at this site, and have not been able to locate a site for registration. It is frustrating! Even sites that listed product registration did not seem to have it. Snail mail seems far superior and less frustrating.

  • It takes more than being in the market, it takes the after effect of customer service. Have you ever went into RCA/Thompson products’ web site and tried to send them an email on a product that wasn’t working and/or just broke? E-mails will not go thru and isn’t it funny: nowhere can you locate a 1-800 number to call. I’m not feeling real good about a company that has no customer service support, as that is my number one concern when purchasing.

  • I AM having a problem with RCA since they don’t want to stand behind their DVD players. There is a limited warranty on them and when I contacted the company the person I spoke with replied that “We are having a lot of problems with our DVD players. But you have to understand, they do use a new technology.” I was then told they would send me a refurbished unit when I sent them a check for $89.95. The item wasn’t six months old and was probably used a dozen times or less. I spent $180.00 on it to begin with. I also sent the President of Thomsons a letter and after a month still have not heard anything back.

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