With the growth of sell-through, retailers have an increasingly difficult time getting customers to comprehend the true cost of lost rental tapes, said retailers participating in SN's video roundtable. "The public has been duped because of the proliferation of sell-through titles," said Tom Carton, president and chief executive officer of Buckeye Entertainment Corp., Dublin, Ohio.
"People really don't understand the difference between rental and sell-through, and you can't explain it to them," said Dennis Maxwell, video director of Reasor's Foods, Tahlequah, Okla.
"In the customer's mind, every movie costs $16.95 or $19.95," said Denise Darnell, video supervisor at Southeast Foods, Monroe, La.
Distributor efforts to publish the suggested retail prices of rental tapes, or their equivalents, are a start, the retailers said, and putting these prices on the boxes would help even more. Here's what the retailers said about a topic initiated by Sharon DeSordi, video buyer and merchandiser at Grand Union Co., Wayne, N.J.
MAXWELL: People really don't understand the difference between rental and sell-through. They come in and we tell them we are missing this copy of something that came out last week that we paid a rental price for, and they say, "Can I just give you $15 for it?" When you say "no," they ask, "Can I just buy it?" Then we tell them the suggested retail is $109. They say, "I'll just run over to Wal-Mart and get it for $12, and return that."
DARNELL: In the handouts from our distributor that we give our customers, it shows the suggested retail price. I love that because then you can point out to customers that the suggested retail price is $104, because in their minds, every movie costs $16.95 or $19.95. That helps us tremendously.
CARTON: The public has been duped because of the proliferation of sell-through titles. They think that everything is $16.95 now.
MAXWELL: You are never going to get that completely through to them, because even if they see that $89 or $99 price, in six months they are going to see it for sale at Wal-Mart for $14.99.