Using Thermostats to Bring in Customers

October 30, 2006
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Totaline Slimline thermostat demos form an eye-catching and interactive display on distributor shelves.

Can something as simple as a thermostat have enough "shelf appeal" to attract customers past cluttered and uncluttered aisles of products in the local supply house? It can if the product is well packaged and well displayed.

That's the goal of Tony Albers, thermostat product specialist for U.S. Air Conditioning Distributors on the West Coast. Albers has been working with Totaline thermostat and he said there are ways to give thermostats shelf appeal.

At its newly renovated City of Industry location, front display shelves are stocked in case quantities of Totaline thermostats. This first impression leaves an impact on its contractors, according to Albers, "and shows them U.S. Air Conditioning is serious about being in the thermostat business.

"I have installed fully powered Totaline Slimline thermostat demos on our stores' display shelves," he continued. "These easy-to-use demos are installed 60 inches off the floor (the same height for a contractor as a thermostat in a real installation). Our contractors can comfortably try each of these thermostats before they buy it."

Albers said he has also found that contractors support Totaline thermostats because they are "made to a higher contractor standard, and cannot be purchased by end users at a local big box retail outlet."

Much of the success of the in-store marketing is due to Alber's diligence, according to Mike Dziok, marketing manager, Replacement Components Division, Carrier Corp. "Tony has made great inroads at his sales counters in introducing customers to Totaline thermostats, especially the new Slimline Series," Dziok said. "I believe that the actions Tony has taken at the counter level are of special interest because he successfully piggybacked off of our national ads.

"He demonstrates the right way to generate results by matching the counter experience to the promise in print. Each of his stores is well-stocked, merchandised with visually appealing POP displays, and he even distributed copies of the ad at the counter and encouraged customers to get a free EZ Programmer."

Albers said that contractors love Totaline's new EZ Programmer attachment because it quickly copies information from one thermostat and transfers it to the next.

"They can carry it around in their shirt pocket and it stores data from all Slimline models simultaneously," he said. "If contractors are programming a large commercial job, apartments, or residential track homes, they can get off the jobsite a lot faster with this product. It even has a battery back-up to keep the clock and day of the week current."

During Totaline's introduction this year, U.S. Air Conditioning Distributors was giving EZ Programmers away for free with every purchase of five thermostats. Albers believes that once contractors try this product, they won't want to go back to programming any other brand of thermostat. "It saves them time on every job, and for a contractor time is money," he said.

Albers also gives some credit to The NEWS for helping keep Totaline on the mind of contractors. "For continuity I have taken a copy of the Totaline's EZ Programmer advertisement used inThe NEWS, photocopied it, and used it as the backside of our customers' sales invoices," Albers said.

"Since the customer typically has to keep the invoice for the length of their job, the advertisement is in front of the customer for a long time. It ties in the advertisement and customers' invoices with the product they see on our shelves."

Publication date: 10/30/2006

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