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Walmart Offering TV, PC, Home Theater Installation

For $99, consumers get a pre-installation consultation, package clean-up, tutorial, and follow-up visit.


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Will Walmart TV Installations Catch On?
Walmart is now installing TVs, PCs, and home theaters, charging $99 for a basic TV installation $399 for a premium TV service. How big of a market is there for this? And…
View this discussion thread.

Wal-Mart is now offering home installation services for TVs, home theaters and PCs.

The big-box retailer, which expressed interest in the installation market in June 2008, has partnered with N.E.W. Customer Service Companies Inc., which has a network of 11,000 certified installers who will perform the in-home services.

According to Reuters, the support service will be available in time for the holiday shopping season and is a direct challenge to Best Buy.

Wal-Mart will charge $99 for basic TV installations and $129 for basic PC setup, which consumers can purchase on a prepaid card. Basic TV services include:
  • A pre-installation consultation
  • Cleaning up the packaging
  • Tutorial
  • Follow-up visit
A premium TV service that costs $339 will also offer wall mounting, concealed in-wall wiring and setting up two additional A/V components.

PC services, which range up to $199, will include peripheral hook-ups, data transfer, software installation and hard-drive defragmentation. Wal-Mart will also help set up home theaters, wireless router networks or a home office computer network.

"It's an affordable and simple solution, and a real benefit to our customers," says a Wal-Mart spokesperson.

Best Buy spokeswoman Paula Baldwin told Reuters that "Geek Squad helps people with their PCs, TVs and other tech gear no matter where they bought their devices, so Wal-Mart customers can feel confident they can still depend on Geek Squad for tech support."




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Article Topics

News · Big-Box Retailers · Installation · Big-box Retailers · Installation · All topics

About the Author

Steve Crowe, Web Editor
Steve is an editor for cepro.com. He graduated from Emerson College with a B.A. in Journalism. He joined the CE Pro staff in 2008. Steve is also a freelance sports writer for The Boston Globe and other various publications.

43 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Don Calley  on  10/23  at  11:18 AM

There is definitely a market out there for cheap 2-7 in-wall/ceiling speaker installs. Hopefully they will be forced to play by the same rules as those of us required to have a contractors license and OSHA 10/30 training.

Posted by You asked for it  on  10/23  at  11:25 AM

I was on several projects this week with different integrators that I witnessed installing $75K+ home systems.  Wal-Mart employees dress more for the job and act more appropriately than most all of the integrators I saw this week.  In one case, I watched in awe as a company owner stood up while speaking to his client who was sitting down and the technicians in their low-rise pants and gel-infused hair sat slumped down on the clients white linen sofa. On another project, outside a finished home, technicians were smoking and using language that would gain an NC-17 rating in a movie, while windows were open and the clients children were all about the property.  Tolerating this has become too common in our industry, and makes Wal-Mart a good alternative in some ways.

Posted by AVguy1080  on  10/23  at  11:30 AM

UGH… N.E.W is hands down one of the worst companies I have ever dealt with. Good luck getting your warranty even submited with them properly, let alone honored. The problem with going to Walmart is that no one in the store knows anything about the installation process. And you don’t know what you’re going to get from one of the 11,000 integrators in the network either.

Posted by StevenJAckerman  on  10/23  at  12:23 PM

This is actually outsourced to China - you received a long distance phone call from someone speaking broken english that walks you through the installation. Of course the call comes at night since that is when they are awake…

Posted by 39CentStamp  on  10/23  at  01:05 PM

You asked for it, when you catch those idiots you can hand them a copy of this article i wrote titled “How to get your clients to perceive you as a professional” : http://wiremunky.com/?p=448


All i can say is “good luck” to anyone who purchases the wal-mart installation card. Hopefully the installers have insurance to cover the damage.

Posted by jimstolz76  on  10/23  at  01:14 PM

Nice.  So they’re targeting low-ball installations with NO intention of supporting them after the fact, even though they include a “follow up visit.”

“...so Wal-Mart customers can feel confident they can still depend on Geek Squad for tech support.”

Posted by AACTrent  on  10/23  at  01:23 PM

What do they mean by “certified” installers?

Posted by Brian  on  10/23  at  01:27 PM

The saddest is part is not has Walmart only created a “price” in peoples head for CE products but now they will think “this is all its costs” for a “”“professional”“” install…same thing home depot did to contractors… sad.. this industry is in trouble and ive been here for 16 years.

Posted by Morgan Harman  on  10/23  at  01:58 PM

No worries Brian.  It’s a big market and any damage that comes in the wake of this news should have negligible effects on the clientelle that understands, appreciates and pays for quality service.

Stay focused.  We are not Wal-Mart or Best Buy.  In fact, maybe we should thank them for providing us with some fantastic customer qualifications!  Any time your initial consultation starts with, “I was at Wal-Mart and they said…”  You can nip it in the bud and determine how quickly to high tail it out of their and find a qualified customer (or convert them to a qualified customer if you like the challenge).

Posted by Yeah Right  on  10/23  at  05:45 PM

Good luck Walmart.  11,000 certified installers?  Same as above comments, what exactly is certified?  If you do the math the average is 220 installers in every state. (Doubtful)  I have pictures from a simple flat screen installation contracted out by circuit city when they were in business.  The installation was the worst I’ve ever seen. (I could go on, I’ll save it for another day).  I’m sure he was certified as well.  I love all these companies claiming huge networks of installers.  Works as a great lure to a big sucker.  Should be fun to sit back and watch it flop.

Posted by Gary  on  10/24  at  07:01 AM

Guys, you are acting like little girls.  My customers don’t shop at Wal-Mart and if they did it would be for some toothpaste and not a TV.  With that being said, who sells TV’s anymore that you could by at Wal-Mart?  With no margin in them anyways you are wasting your time if someone calls you and wants you to price match WM. 

This change is going to do nothing more then to provide the lower to middle class a service for when they buy their Blue Light Special TV.  I doubt many that buy their TV from WM would justify the cost to even have the TV installed. 

Best Buy has been providing install services for years and many more of my customers go there then they do to WM. If you are concerned about this article and how it is going to effect your business, then stop reading it and go figure out a way to differentiate your business cause you are selling to the wrong customer.

Posted by AccessNetworks  on  10/24  at  11:51 PM

Diseconomies of scale.

This is like establishing a nation-wide trunk slammer company. They will not employ the sharpest tools in the shed and clients will get mediocre customer install, service for follow-ups and repairs. I just ordered custom shades from Lowe’s – it takes 60 days from ordering to install and they got my order wrong, missed a window while measuring and delayed the install three times already. Can you imagine the parallels of this example with Wal-Mart and CE?

This will only pose a real threat to the small installer in the initial phases. Although, they may acquire an integration company with some sharp minds in order to penetrate the higher level of custom integration.

Bottom line: The future is in innovation, service and relationships revolving around clients. Wal-Mart will always sell TV’s, but all the other revenue streams that are incorporated into an integration project will remain in the hands of a chosen few who know how to truly integrate them.

Posted by JoeAV  on  10/25  at  05:18 AM

OK CEDIA members. Are you ready to put your money where your mouth is. Many of us, 39 Cent included, have wanted about this type of market shift.

So lets begina SUPPORT CUSTOM Campaign. Any manufacturer who sells products to Walmart obviously isn’t interested in supporting the custom channel. There willingness to cloud the market with this low end sale is more important to their bottem line. So if the custom channel boycotts these lines then our voice is heard. Then when the Walmart relationship with these vendors changes they pay the price. We have a voice and power. BUT ONLY IF WE USE IT.

Just bitching about it on blog and to the reps means nothing. While we do this they are still laughing to the bank.

Yes Walmart is viable business for some. I doubt the quality of the work but we need to make a stand. NO PRODUCT sold there should receive the support of CEDIA dealers. I don’t care if its Sony, Vizio whoever. Enough already. Support those who support US. I just had a client tell me that he received a quote for a theater chair company direct himself. No dealer! Under cutting our quote. So what can I do. Never buy from this company again and tell my fellow CEDIA colleagues.

Remember back when the big boy ignored CEDIA in the early days. Then when we became a real stream of revenue and power they developed programs and came calling. Well they’ve forgotten once again and this all ties into the problem we see everywhere of GREED.

STAND UP AND TAKE ACTION NOW.

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  10/25  at  06:23 AM

They are not interested in what we have to say. We make up a teeny tiny fraction of their (CE product manufacturers) customer base.

They look at the numbers and see 100 items sold by CI firms and 100,000 sold by walmart. If they make $50 on every item the CI sells and $1 on every item walmart sells you are looking at $5000 vs $100,000.

All you can do is treat CE products like drywall screws.. just another no profit sku on the truck, that we need to complete the installation.

Redesign your business model so that it does not require profit from product. Stop trying to beat them and join them by sourcing your gear from Amazon. When all the distributors shut down everything will be sold directly to consumers via Amazon and we dont have to deliver TV’s anymore smile.

Posted by Steven J. Ackerman  on  10/25  at  08:56 AM

With crap like this in the home theater marketplace:

http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=110-439&vReviewShow=1&vReviewRand=2818820

it’s no wonder that Wal-Mart is finding a niche.

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