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Is Bang and Olufsen in trouble?

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Forester1
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Forester1 posted on Mon, Dec 16 2019 11:42 AM

How else can I interpret a delay of almost two weeks in hearing from them online about my Beosound Stage which has been accepted warrants a full refund? I was told "As soon as our headquarters confirm the process, we will notify you and the return shipping label will be provided" That was on 3rd December and I have heard nothing since.

So what is going on at Headquarters? If anyone has any contact, please help. I have run out of patience.

 

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9 LEE
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9 LEE replied on Wed, Dec 18 2019 6:10 PM

355f:

"The strategic direction is unchanged, but it is evident that a fundamental change of the sales and marketing efforts is required and that we need to create a culture in which we are closer to customers and partners," chief executive Kristian Tear said in a statement. 

The ones which are left.. yes.  It's a shame B&O didn't create a culture where selling Play products could be the 'overhead absorption' for the dealer, then selling the main products would be the profit. I quote Tue Mantoni, word for word on this - as he said it to my face...

So, what did B&O do?  They made their dealers busy expensive store furniture and a room full of Play stock - then screwed their dealers and sold it to Costco and anyone else who wanted a pallet load for less than their dealers could get it for...  Nice work.

The only culture which will bring the partners closer to B&O is one where they listen to what the dealers want to sell - rather than telling the dealers what they should sell.  That was a tragic mistake, ignoring the dealers.

Anyway, it is what it is...  I'd love to see LG come in and take them as a halo brand. Imagine that!

Lee

Puncher
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moxxey:

Millemissen:

https://www.recordere.dk/2019/12/skulle-have-vaeret-fremgang-nu-nedjusterer-bo-markant/

Nothing that I hadn’t expected.

Did you expect miracles to happen?

You ought to work in PR :)

Or writing gift card messages where only a whimsical grip on  reality is a benefit.

Ban boring signatures!

Chris Townsend
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Start cutting back on your core business with TVs, watch your sales drop accordingly.

And surprise surprise guess what's happened.

Beosound Stage, Beovision 8-40, Beolit 20, Beosound Explore.

Sandyb
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Sandyb replied on Wed, Dec 18 2019 10:03 PM

That was a depressing listen.

Far too much talk of better sales and marketing, and little recognition that many of the products launched in the last few years have been either unexciting, compromised or not working. Which is strange, especially as he mentions that inventory is sitting with dealers more than they had expected. 

In other words, while sales and marketing is important to get right, the fundamentals of innovation, design and functionality that delivers out of the box is still primary or paramount, and has been weak in recent years.

On the sales / marketing front, they seem to be struggling to know exactly what is going on - lots of talk about getting better data to improve visibility. Oh dear.......

And yes, while the brand is still well known, a lot of that is for its history, while the recent experience has been beyond unacceptable, be that the Android TV's, the Moment, a long delayed entry into the sound bar market, etc etc. And that's before you get to the question of whether there is even a future in a world of streaming and no physical music. 

The stock market was not encouraged by this update, down 16% today. 

Why anyone would be encouraged by this update is beyond me. 

 

Sandyb
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Sandyb replied on Wed, Dec 18 2019 10:52 PM

This from the FT reporting today


The latest hiccups are unlikely to be the end for B&O. The brand is still powerful and the financial position is better than the share price suggests. Mr Teär, though, must look harder at his products to get things bangin’ again. B&O considers itself the Ferrari of consumer electronics. That is reflected in its prices. Here, it has got ahead of itself. Its Beovision Harmony television costs almost €20,000. The same LG screen can be bought for a third of that price without the B&O sound system. It's hard to imagine Ferrari selling many cars by slapping badges and body kits on to Alfa Romeos.

Product is ever more important in light of growing competition from the likes of Sonos and Bose. Both have taken market share over the past five years. Sonos of the US doubled to 1 per cent of global sales while Bose added almost two percentage points for a total of more than 7 per cent last year, according to Euromonitor. B&O’s market share is tiny. It will get tinier without urgent remedies.

All is not lost. Cash at the end of the second quarter stood at DKr298m ($45m) due to better stock management. By Mr Teär’s bearish predictions, that will halve by year end. If things get worse than expected the balance sheet, with only $10m of debt, can still be brought into play. Bang and Olufsen has a history of bouncing back from the brink. Contrarians should hit the replay button"

Millemissen:

moxxey:

Millemissen:

https://www.recordere.dk/2019/12/skulle-have-vaeret-fremgang-nu-nedjusterer-bo-markant/

Nothing that I hadn’t expected.

Did you expect miracles to happen?

You ought to work in PR :)

....and I promote this link:

https://bo.eventcdn.net/20191218/

(If you have the time - 45 min - listen).

MM

 

AndersPersson
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B&O can do as much marketing as they want.
Until the products work flawlessly and out of the box the sales will continue to drop.

B&O has obviously still not understood the revolution that internet has brought along.
It is not only streaming etc.
At least as big is how quick and easy it is to look up reviews and comments about products.
Anyone aged below 50 will be doing a check on Google and the verdict comes back quickly and mercilessly:
Great sound but the software is total ***.

And with that all sales efforts are killed.

B&O has to rapidly get this working.
Judging from what I have read and guessed I think that B&O did the equally classic and stupid decision to place at least part of the development in India.
Hopefully they have learned the lesson and pulled the plug on that.

Forester1
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Meanwhile. My Soundstage has landed back in Germany. Now  I wonder how long before I get confirmation of a refund.

I’m sorry to read about the issues discussed here. Leaving aside the other important points made, Businesses neglect customer service excellence at their peril.

bayerische
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So Tue wasn't the Knight in shining armour then, was he?

 

They seem to be in quite the trouble this time. 

 

Obviously the old buyers demographic isn't there anymore. 

Too long to list.... 

Puncher
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I look at my beautiful bs5000 system in the corner and, as beautiful as it is, in truth it could be replaced by a photograph!

My music listening these days is in the car, Google home while pottering in the kitchen and  BT headphones (Sony).

I remember when music was vital and important and had to be actively listened to - I'm not necessarily saying music has changed (it has but that's a discussion for when I have a pint in my hand) but me and my habits. Is it an age thing or has culture changed?

This may be for a different thred but I really believe the convenience of music availibilty has greatly lessened it's perceived value to the point it has become either musical wallpaper or else the "imbetween" stuff is skipped to only play the hits etc. 

It's truly a different world with different players and b&o are in danger of being the old duffer battling Alzheimer's!

Ban boring signatures!

Stan
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Stan replied on Thu, Dec 19 2019 1:46 PM

355f:

"The strategic direction is unchanged, but it is evident that a fundamental change of the sales and marketing efforts is required and that we need to create a culture in which we are closer to customers and partners," chief executive Kristian Tear said in a statement. 

That seals the fate of B&O then.

Rather interestingly, I went with an associate to listen and potentially buy some BL20. Having found the Knightsbridge flagship store closed, went to Selfridges  ' we did have those but they were recalled to Milton Keynes - not sure if we wil have them anytime soon.

Off to Harrods, Yes can demonstrate but they are on WISA and the one doesn't work properly, I will try to get it going if you can come back, but it will take a while- Could I interest you in the Horizon, it fully upgradeable- heard that one before from B&O.

terrible after sales,laissez faire customer sales and service. There is no way any company can survive like this-( or deserves to) even the stuff they do sell is ridden with software problems.

At least you have dealers to disappoint you Smile  They've "solved" this problem in the US by closing most of them.  I live in the Chicago area (I think we're still the 3rd largest metro area in the states, at one time the HQ for B&O North America was a few miles down the street), and my closest dealer is in Cincinnati (2 states away).  This is similar to having the closest dealer to London being located in Paris (Chicago - Cincinnati: 296 mi vs London - Paris: 286 mi).

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Dec 19 2019 4:40 PM

An astute post. Certainly there's been a change in the way most people, including us old farts, listen to music. I still have my main system in the living room, BS9000 with BL9s, and BL8000s in the diningroom/sunroom/kitchen area. I find I still listen to music, but with either system it's usually streaming not CDs, either from Spotify or from my Auralic Aries Mini with all my ripped CDs on it. I use the BS9000 as an artistic looking thing to connect the streaming box to the speakers. In the dining room area, where I spend most of my day on the laptop and in the sunroom, I listen to BL8000s hooked up to a Tibo streaming box. And it's not "serious" listening as an audiophile would, in the sunroom it's good sounding music to accompany my day.

B&O's problems are twofold, one they don't know how to adapt to the changes you mention in the consumer electronics/audio world, which is tough for any company. Secondly, they have consistently done the wrong thing. They've displayed a staggering level of arrogance coupled with incompetence in product development and support. Buggy s/w, products that don't work right at launch, or ever, poor customer support, poor support of their dealers. You also can't just suddenly declare you're Ferrari and expect people to buy into that and your elevated prices, especially if you're not doing a nearly perfect job of product quality.

B&O has, in the past, come perilously close to death, but while they took a while to readjust to the market, they always were still B&O, with a consistent and alluring design language. Since the death of David Lewis their designs are, at least to me, inferior regardless of how good they may sound or perform, or not as the case may be. I think B&O have lost sight of what they are or were.

Oh, and here in the US, living not that far from a major city (Atlanta) which has enough moneyed folk that whenever I go to town I see at least 2 over $200,000 cars and more high end Benzes and Audis and such than you can shake a stick at, the only B&O dealer went under about 3 years ago. That makes my closest dealer a 20 hour plus drive away.

Jeff

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Mikipidia
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Jeff, 

There is a place in Bonita springs Florida where you can buy B&O, surely that's not 20 hours away?

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trackbeo
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No, Bonita Springs is a "Solution Partner", who is not going to give you the time of day.  "Become our theater installation client, and then maybe..."  But still, it's more like 10 hours -- plus traffic! -- to the Gulfstream Racetrack store, just north of Miami.  For as long as they stay in business...

Jeff
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Jeff replied on Thu, Dec 19 2019 6:07 PM

About 13 hours from me, not counting that the map s/w always underestimates the traffic. And as mentioned not a full dealer.

Remember, Americans think 500 years is a long time and Europeans think 500 miles is a long trip. Smile

And, I'm not driving over 13 hours to get to ANY electronics vendor/store. The dealer network in the US is for all intents and purposes non-existent. When a "luxury" brand can''t manage to keep stores open in tony rich areas like Atlanta and Chicago something is very wrong. I suspect the dealers that are out there are all barely hanging on by the edge of their fingernails.

Jeff

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trackbeo
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Oh, agreed, unless you drive like I do!  When you count the round-trip, it *is* 20+ hours, an overnight excursion "just to see a stereo".  But I think Gulfstream is as full a dealership as we have in the USA, not a "Partner".  They have more room and about as many products as Boston, and based on Henrik's video of NYC, as much room as there also.  Alas, Miami is not like it was in the late 20th century where all South American luxury purchases were done -- maybe the Gulfstream store is living off some people's race winnings?  No store in Las Vegas...

OK, now apropos of this topic, whether stores are "barely hanging on" any better or worse than their multi-line high-end brethren would be informed by an insider's account of what happened at Abt in Chicagoland during their negotiations.  Anybody???

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