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SnapAV Gambles on HDMI with 2X Refunds for Switchers

Since the company offered a double-money back guarantee on its Binary HDMI 4x4 switcher, sales have grown 500 percent.


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SnapAV announced its “double money back guarantee program” during CEDIA Expo 2010 by offering it on its new Binary HDMI 4x4 Matrix Switcher with HDMI and Cat5e/6 outputs.

Basically, if integrators have a problem installing the product, they call SnapAV’s technical support team. If they can’t figure it out, SnapAV refunds twice the cost of the product.

It says more product will soon carry the guarantee but one reason SnapAV launched the program with its new HDMI matrix switcher is to take the sting out of HDMI installations, says VP of marketing Adam Levy. The feedback, he says, has been positive.
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“Dealers appreciate us being a straight-shooter and saying, ‘Listen, HDMI is a pain in the neck and we won’t pretend it isn’t riddled with challenges, but we’re going to be respectful and make sure your time isn’t wasted.’

“They appreciate that we stick our neck out and stand behind our product – and that we share an interest in making sure it [HDMI installations] works.”

The relatively low price point for an HDMI matrix switcher (dealers can click for pricing) also triggers CE pros’ reaction, Levy says.

So Far, So Good


SnapAV hasn’t issued any “double money” refunds at press time.

It has, however, had a dramatic impact on SnapAV’s matrix switcher business. “We had an HDMI matrix switch [before the Binary HDMI 4x4 Matrix Switcher] and we used to sell some number of them. When we launched the new product and the program [in September], it increased our matrix switcher business about five-fold, about 500 percent.”

That’s not to say that SnapAV’s tech support team hasn’t seen an uptick in questions. Much of that, Levy suspects, is due to the low price point allowing many dealers to install matrix switchers for the first time.

Many questions are “new to the category” type questions, Levy says. “The other call that we get a lot has to do with integrating this piece with control systems and, thankfully, we have a lot of drivers posted on our site for integration with Control4 and Elan G, for example, and we can point them toward a file they can download and make the integration very easy.”
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From SnapAV’s double-money back press release:

The first product backed by the program is the company's new Binary HDMI 4x4 Matrix Switcher with HDMI and Cat5e/6 outputs. Integrated into this multi-faceted matrix switcher are EDID management, remote IR capability with IR routing, as well as discrete IR and RS-232 control options. Each HDMI input can be routed to any output simultaneously, providing the most feature rich product in its class with maximum resolution at each TV, built in Cat5e/6 transmitter, and fully-integrating with control systems.

“The ability to provide these advanced features at an affordable price can make an installer look like a hero,“ says SnapAV Director of Electrical Engineering David Moore. “HDMI switching devices have had a bad reputation in the past with respect to compatibility issues. To this, we have spent a lot of time developing what we feel are ‘bullet-proof’ products and want dealers to be able to try them with total confidence. Our Double Money Back Guarantee completely removes the risk. And, we don't know of any other company offering this type of assurance program.”

SnapAV is bringing new products to market in the near future that will also be supported by the Double Money Back Guarantee Program. Dealers should visit Snap’s website for new additions as well as complete program details.




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Article Topics

News · Product News · Video · Multiroom Video · Wire and Cable · HDMI · Switchers · All topics

About the Author

Tom LeBlanc, Senior Writer/Technology Editor, CE Pro
Tom has been covering consumer electronics for six years. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Now, as senior writer/technology editor of CE Pro magazine since 2003, he dabbles in all departments and offers expertise in marketing. Follow him on Twitter @leblanctom.

39 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by jberger  on  10/08  at  11:27 AM

Great product, outstanding price and service. It’s plug and play with Control4.

Posted by Bruce  on  10/08  at  11:45 AM

Sales have increased 500%  Really?  Just because of a double money back guarantee?  I highly doubt that.  Many distribution companies have liberal return policies.

But the exaggeration from this company would not be a surprise.  I don’t trust them, or anything they say.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  10/08  at  12:04 PM

Bruce ... you never know what sales were before they grew 500%. If sales were only 100 units, then a 500% increase is no big deal.

Posted by Bruce  on  10/08  at  12:58 PM

True enough.  But why not question it in the name of accuracy?  A 500% increase sounds enormous, like installers everywhere are suddenly buying them by the truckload.  That’s exactly what Snap wants people to believe. 

So ask the question in order that we get an accurate picture, rather than simply posting their corporate propaganda.

Posted by Isaac  on  10/08  at  01:04 PM

Having used the product several times I can stand by it’s reliability and performance. The most recent unit was B/O’d a couple days due to selling out of initial stock much faster than they anticipated, so I am not surprised by the numbers at all and they are very likely true. It is a fraction of the price of any competition and it actually works.

Posted by Adam Levy  on  10/08  at  01:11 PM

@ Bruce: Much more went into increasing sales than “just a double money back guarantee”:
1. A redesigned product (the increase cited is vs. our last generation product)

2.Better information resources on our site

3.Better alignment of sales and marketing messaging

4.Higher prominence of the product on our website

5.An aggressive price

6.Oh, and, yes, a double money back guarantee

Yes, the increase is 500% (actually a bit higher when looking at September’s numbers vs. the average monthly selling rate of the older product). And, yes, some of that has to do with the sales performance of the last generation of the product being modest (as Julie suggested).

More importantly than any of that to me, however, is the basis for why you deem SnapAV to be untrustworthy. Is there something in-particular that you’ve experienced with SnapAV that leads you to that opinion?

Adam Levy
SnapAV

Posted by Bruce  on  10/08  at  02:05 PM

I don’t like that I when I buy from you, I then have to worry about whether my customers are going to get low-balled by bids from your sister company.  I feel like my business goes to support those who are competing against me.

I also feel slightly uncomfortable about Snap execs all over the internet forums zelously promoting their company in areas where us installers are to be exchanging information and ideas.  I know you have the same right to be there, but there’s a smarmy feeling that comes with knowing that when we encounter a problem or issue, there’s a Snap AV executive quickly there to promote their own solution.

Posted by AVI Systems  on  10/08  at  02:59 PM

I am not discounting their equipment. I have made several purchases from them over the last few years. I bought a screen - it was a disaster (they compared it to dalite but I would be keeping over 1,200 in my pocket) I bought several flat panel mounts (some of the thread where not even cut) I was told to drill out the hole and use another bolt and nut. I would fear ordering anything again that was required to be reliable and quality. All I got was I will note your account and you get a free mount or shipping on your next order. That’s like getting food poisoning and being offer a free meal next time I was out. I will pass. Twice the price I paid is already spent if I have to call you for tech support! Good Luck with that smile

Posted by Adam Levy  on  10/08  at  03:22 PM

I understand your first comment, but want to clear up a misconception that I’m guessing is behind it:

The retail business (ZoboTV) that was founded by Jay Faison, the founder of SnapAV, is a SnapAV dealer like any other. In other words, they have access to the same products, same programs and same pricing as you do. The two companies are separate entities legally and operationally. That said, if you’re not comfortable with the affiliation, then I certainly understand if you choose to purchase products from sources other than SnapAV.

However, I’m not sure I understand the second comment completely. If a SnapAV employee is overzealous in an industry forum it comes from being enthusiastic…not unethical. I just don’t connect the dots between that and your original statement “I don’t trust them, or anything they say”.

These forums are a great way to exchange ideas and state opinions, but a lack of professionalism and civility doesn’t help or prove anything.

Sincerely,
Adam Levy

Posted by myinfinitehome  on  10/08  at  10:56 PM

I use snap regurally, on the rare occasion there has been a warranty issue they have more than met their obligations, Once Ihad Fed ex deliver to the wrong address and snap sent me a new $200+ mount next day air no questions asked for free just in time for the job then we figured out the fed ex thing later..

As with all vendors they have some skus that I dont like but I chose not to use those products no the whole company

@bruce, as far as the sales figures, think about it… if a company is using another brand of matrix and discounts snaps as a POS because of the price, then they roll out the promotion and said company thinks well Ill buy one of theire and on of the regular just in case, and if snaps doesnt disappoint then I saved money, if it does then I made money,,,win win

If you are worried about competing with the 2% or whatever it is that are snap dealers then good luck with the masses that are speakercraft, middle atlantic, and omnimount dealers including Ebay

I guarantee that most other manufacturers are all over the forums as well pumping up thier product as well, but without the guts as to put their brand in their user name, snap stands behind thier product


They do have certain items I dont like, and my biggest complaint would be that in the past I have crossed my fingers when bidding, hoping that the product would be available when the bid was accepted…lately I have much more confidence

Posted by Bruce  on  10/09  at  07:08 AM

Well, when I read that the person who owns both Snap and Zobo (interviewed in this very publication) wants to expand the Zobo stores in a similar way to how he expanded Blockbutsrer, then I am not interested in funding that by buying from Snap.  And you can tell me a hundred times that they are seperate, but they are not.  I don’t buy from Best Buy either because I am not interested in buying from those that compete with me.

Sure, every distributor will have people posting that they love them, or that they hate them.  Whatever.  We all choose who we do business with.  There’s other distributors who treat me the same way that you Snap supporters claim they treat you.  It’s about having a relationship with the people and the company.  I’m just not going to be blinded by self hype.

Posted by Adam Levy  on  10/09  at  07:21 AM

@Bruce:

Here’s the quote from the CEPro article that you are referring to:

“With Zobo, the goal was to do something similar in the home technology space. About six years ago we were at a crossroads with Zobo: Did we want to open more stores or do we build a company that could share the savings opportunities with other dealers that we had identified in our own supply chain? The value proposition we knew we could provide to dealers was just too compelling to turn down.”

In other words, when Jay decided to build SnapAV, he decided not to try to expand Zobo.

I have no issue with you stating opinions…but please don’t misrepresent facts in the process.

Best of Luck,
Adam Levy
SnapAV

Posted by Bruce  on  10/09  at  11:40 AM

Misrepresent what, exactly? 

Are you saying you will not open another ZOBO store?

Are you saying you haven’y opened a new store in the last 6 years?

Posted by Adam Levy  on  10/09  at  03:07 PM

@Bruce

Sorry, I’ll clarify.

You said:
“Well, when I read that the person who owns both Snap and Zobo (interviewed in this very publication) wants to expand the Zobo stores in a similar way to how he expanded Blockbutsrer, then I am not interested in funding that by buying from Snap.”

I was just pointing out that the article you are referring to consists of Jay stating that he originally started Zobo with that intention, but decided to focus on SnapAV instead. In other words, I didn’t think your statement (above) was consistent with the content of the article that you referenced. Of course, I may have misunderstood what you meant.

As for whether Jay will ever open another Zobo, I can’t speak for him. There was a second location opened about 5 years ago and the location of that store was changed about 2 years ago (better location). There are two locations currently.

The truth is, I think Jay’s involvement in the industry as a dealer has provided a lot of insight into how SnapAV can better serve dealers. We’re fortunate to have a lot of very happy customers that credit us with “getting it”—Jay’s background with Zobo is part of that. Just my $.02…

I originally posted a response in this thread to help understand why you felt that I fabricated the information that Tom LeBlanc (who wrote the article) quoted me on and to understand what made you decide that SnapAV wasn’t trustworthy. I don’t think I understand any better…but I don’t think I’m going to continue to try either.

Again, best of luck.

Adam Levy
SnapAV

Posted by myinfinitehome  on  10/09  at  09:18 PM

I think it would be foolish to take profits from snap to open another zobo store. If zobo can’t support the store then I don’t believe he would open another. Why would you throw the profits from snap away on a store that is not making money. I think if he opens another store it will be because the others are doing well…not snap. If snap is doing well he might open a west coast warehouse…..oh wait

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