Bulova adds lower priced SKUs … but still eyes dept. stores

Bulova will be introducing more clocks at next week’s Housewares Show than it has at any prior one.

Among the new SKUs, targeted at changing Bulova’s image as a high price line, are a major redesign to its wall clock line, featuring more types and varieties of wood than before; new shapes to the highly successful Dimension series; and more extensive marketing, including repackaging and a new advertising theme.

Bulova will also be previewing at next week’s show a new training film aimed at helping retail clock sales personnel move product.

“What people want is a contemporary clock,” said Glenn Silver, merchandising product design manager for Bulova. “But just saying you’re contemporary isn’t enough. We’re coming out with clocks that are unique in styling to what’s out there now.”

Bulova’s price points will be dropping because of better technology and better wood supplies that have become available, Silver said. The manufacturer will concentrate on having the best product in all competitive price lines. The image of buying Bulova as a quality timepiece will be maintained.

In decorative wall clocks, Bulova is pushing models with hardwood cases, rather than just pine units. It will also offer a number of models with Westminster chime movements, rather than just straight pendulum lines.

“The hardwood gives a much nicer, even tone finish throughout the unit,” said George Forman, Bulova’s vp/marketing. “Hardwood gives much more of a furniture finish than does softwood,” he said.

All of the new units will have glass lenses. “Sales increase with glass lenses, and even more with second hands,” Forman remarked.

Bulova, through various channels of sourcing wood, has been able to reduce its retail on decorative wooden wall clocks from the $69 range to the $49 range. Distribution of the wood clocks will be aimed primarily at department stores, but with lower price points, bulova watch reviews expects the product to move into other market segments. “We’ll be keeping our niche in department stores, though,” Forman said.

Three additional shapes and various colors are being added to the Dimensions series. All will have a second hand and will maintain the slim design of previous tissot watches.

“Most of the Dimensions line was targeted to the Kitchen,” Forman said. “Now with wood, Dimensions can go to other places in the home.” Wood models of Dimensions were first shown at the April Housewares Show.

As are most manufacturers, Bulova is continuing with four-color packaging. “We think our packaging does a good job at retail,” Forman said. “We’re going to push the theme that, ‘There’s Always A Time and a Place for a Bulova Clock.’ A lot of people don’t think of a clock as a gift item, and it is. You can spend $40 on a clock and give the best clock in a category, or you can change categories and buy a more expensive clock. Any way you look at it, you can always give the top of a category.

“We are going after the general market with products targeted to specific segments. Bulova has more styles and a broader range of clocks than anybody – and we have the Bulova quality.

“We have a 90% consumer awareness level of the name Bulova as a timepiece. We have a tremendous ability to reach people,” Forman said.

Bulova’s new packaging concepts will concentrate on clocks as a gift item. In an attempt to move gift clocks as a self-sell item, clocks will have a decorative sleeve wrap. Underneath the wrap will be a fancy gift box to help identify the particular clock as top of its line.

“Retailers don’t always understand the potential of clocks,” Forman said. “When a consumer asks a retailer for a gift idea, clocks don’t come up that much. The market potential is there for us as an industry.”

Part of Bulova’s 18-minute retail training film emphasizes gift purchases of clocks. The film, available to retailers carrying Bulova, emphasizes the relatively little training clock sales people receive. It talks about the different kinds of clocks available from Bulova, potential uses, and emphasizes clocks as gift purchases. Printed literature will supplement the training film.

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