Transcript of Video Titled “Massage Chair Industry Update – January 29th , 2013”
Alan: Hi, this is Dr. Alan Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com,’ for our bi-weekly massage chair industry update for today, January 29th, 2013. Well, lots of neat things happening over the last couple of weeks I thought I’d share with you, and some things up and coming that you need to know about.
[SCREEN TEXT: Stock Status Update]
Alan: First of all, as far as stock status goes, the Inada’s good on all their stock, Human Touch looks good on all their stock except for the HT-7450, both colors ‘Espresso’ and ‘Black’ are back-ordered until the end of February, late February. Also, the ‘Brown’ IT-8200 is still back-ordered until March, I think March 8th they’re expecting a shipment, but they’re good on all the other stock. And then we also have back order on the Osaki OS-4000, there’s no ‘Cream’ available, and the OS-3000, ‘Cream’ is the only color available. Now the 7075-R, they’re all in stock right now, which is miraculous. They just received a shipment this week, and I think only three or four of the ‘Brown’ ones are available, but for the most part the 7075’s in stock, and they’ve struggled with stock over the last number of months because of the popularity of that chair. But, again, if you – particularly on the OS-7075 from Osaki and the Inada Sogno, if you find that those are back-ordered at any time, don’t wait until you expect them to be in stock because by then they may be spoken for already. So, just FYI, I say that almost every two weeks, but it can never be said enough because invariably someone will call me and say, ‘Well, when is that chair coming in? I thought there was a new shipment coming in and now it’s back-ordered again.’ And, well, that’s because they are spoken for by the time they get here.
[SCREEN TEXT: Inada Sogno Price Increase 02/01/13]
Alan: Remember, the Inada Sogno goes up in price on Thursday night at midnight. It goes up $200 to $7999 from $7799, and this is our most popular seller. And last year, when it increased $800 in price, I thought there’s no way this chair’s going to continue to be a top seller, but you know what? It did. It continued on and their growth has continued. In other words, there’s been no decline in overall sales from year-past to year-present. So, get that $7799 price before Thursday at midnight when the price jumps up. All the other Sogno chair – all the other Inada chairs are staying the same in price.
[SCREEN TEXT: American-Made Massage Chair]
Alan: Let’s see, what else do we have going on? You know, I told you last time, in the last update, about a chair that’s being made in America. It’s made by a company – and I already talked about this, and I had further discussions with them – they’re still trying to figure out their warranty and their pricing and distribution, but I’m quite excited about this chair. I will be hopefully receiving a chair in the near future. They’re tweaking a few more things on the chair, I’ve made some recommendations for the chair, some things that they might want to consider adding if they can still for manufacture, things that are really really popular in existing massage chairs and commonplace in existing massage chairs, and things that would help them be a little bit more competitive. But the fact that this chair is going to be touted as ‘Made in the USA’ is fantastic. We’ve not seen that before – at least, I’ve been in the industry about ten years, the massage chair industry about ten years, and I’ve not seen a ‘Made in the USA’ chair, let alone a chair that is distributed and designed and everything done in the USA. Apparently, some of the upholstery and maybe the frame or something is made overseas, but all the integral components that make up the mechanics of the chair, all the technology is all engineered and designed and everything’s done here. The chair has the look of Sogno, it looks like a Sogno look-alike with some subtle differences, but that pattern or that design seems to be fairly popular. I will be going to where they are located at, they think maybe in April, at that point I will be able to see what they’re doing and understand more about the chair. I’m not going to say much about the chair right now, as far as the the name goes or as far as the models go, until I know a little bit more about pricing and things that I would feel comfortable referring my clients to. At the time, they didn’t have really any customer support other than the local area around where they have their main offices, and that would not work well for most of my customers because, across the United States, what are you going to do? Are you going to have to ship your chair back to where ever they’re located? That’s going to be a nuisance and a logistical nightmare. So, hopefully, this chair will become something that’s available, something that has a great warranty setup, something that’s at a reasonable price, and something that will be easily accessible and hopefully easy to try out at some point or another. When I get it in the showroom and I know more about the chair to share, I will. I will tell you all about it. I think it’s going to be exciting to have a ‘Made in the USA’ massage chair.
[SCREEN TEXT: Interviews with Cliff Levin (Inada) & Greg Hunsucker (Cozzia)]
Alan: I’m going to the Furniture Market this week in Las Vegas. I’m spending Wednesday there, and I will be interviewing Cliff Levin again, from Inada USA, talking about some of the things they may have cooking, if anything at all, and also talking about – I think we’re going to be talking a little bit more about the YuMe. In previous conversations we’ve had, the focus has been on the Sogno – duh, it’s a very, very popular chair and everybody asks about it – but I’m seeing that the YuMe is increasing in popularity. I’m selling more of them, I believe that chair – because of the price point and because of the sophistication of the roller system and the quality of the chair – will begin to sell more and more. So I will be going to the Furniture Market in Las Vegas and interviewing Cliff. I will also be interviewing Greg Hunsucker, who is the VP for Cozzia massage chairs. Now, we recently became distributors for Cozzia after quite some time, and even though it’s primarily a brick-and-mortar distribution channel, I will be selling them online. I may have one or two in my showroom only for testing and videoing and recording and writing articles about for reviews, but I am very interested to learn more about the company. I know that they used to be Berkshire and when that shut down or closed down, a couple of the principals split off and created the Cozzia line – or created the Cozzia company and imported these chairs from China, as most of these companies do. But I will learn more about it from Greg. I’m supposed to meet with Wednesday morning as soon as I get out of the airport and head over to the Furniture Market, and I’m looking forward to interviewing him. I will record that hopefully, I’m bringing my video camera with me and I’ll share that with everybody once that’s done. Likewise with the Cliff Levin interview from Inada.
[SCREEN TEXT: Cozzia Massage Chair Line on Massage-Chair-Relief.com]
Alan: So the Cozzia chairs are on the website. There are six models that I’m allowed to carry. I don’t have any of the data up there yet, it’s not because I don’t have the data regarding features and functions and specs, it’s just that I’m lazy and I’ve been very, very busy. Okay, I take that back, I’m not lazy, I’ve just been very, very busy with other things. January is typically a very busy month for the massage chair – for me, anyways – and so we’ve been very busy with that and a few other things. But I will be getting to that in the couple weeks to come and have all that data up so you can start to compare and contrast chairs and get a feeling for what’s going on with the Cozzia chairs.
[SCREEN TEXT: Chairs Under $2000]
Alan: They kind of fit a niche, they kind of fit that under-$2000 niche. And there’s a lot of people that want to get massage chairs but cannot afford the ones that are typically sold by most online and offline retailers such as myself, like the Infinity chairs, or the Osaki or Inada or Panasonic or Human Touch, and they want to get a chair, a good chair, under $2000. Well, there are some chairs – like Osaki has a couple under $2000 and Infinite Therapeutics has come up with one that close to the $2000 price point, or mid-$2000s – but there’s not many under $2000. Now, I did notice Osaki had a couple chairs that were under $2000, the Osaki OS-2000 and the OS-5000, but they’re discontinued both of them. And that’s interesting because I would think that at that lower price point those chairs would be more popular for people that want chairs, realize the importance and the benefit of having massage chair in their home, but are unable to afford them. Well, as it has played out, those lower-priced chairs with Osaki were not that popular – obviously, or they wouldn’t have discontinued them – but the Cozzia line does seem to getting some traction through brick-and-mortar stores, so I suspect that they’ve got a little niche there that is being satisfied by Cozzia, and I’m looking forward to trying out some of their chairs and of course review them and share that information with you. So, the Cozzia chairs are up on the website. It’s not on the comparison chart yet, there’s no features, functions, or specs on the product pages, but go look at the pictures and get the prices so you can feeling for what those chairs are like.
[SCREEN TEXT: Ed Cini Visit From Panasonic USA]
Alan: Last week, we had Ed Cini from Panasonic come by, and this was so exciting for me. Ed is just a delightful man, I had a wonderful time with him. He’s been with Panasonic for twenty years. We spent the entire day together, short of a couple of hours where I had to go take care of some emails – and usually I’m right in front of the computer, I can take all my emails. I was with Ed most of the day, and when I got my computer to look at emails I had like fifty of them, and man, it took me a couple hours just to answer them all, or triage them and sequester the ones that needed to be taken care of. Then, we met back for dinner and discussed more and more about the massage chair industry, more about the Panasonic massage chairs past and present and what we have to look forward to, and I really had a wonderful visit with Ed. Wonderful guy, wonderful guy. But what really made me excited was I was actually meeting with someone from Panasonic. All my dealings in the past have been with a distributor of Panasonic, a Panasonic distributor, but not directly from Panasonic. And so having Ed fly out to our showroom in Salt Lake City and send me a chair to try out, the MA70, and spend the day visiting was fantastic. Plus, he bought dinner, I mean, what else could I want? We had delicious mole at the Red Iguana in downtown Salt Lake, but had a wonderful visit.
[SCREEN TEXT: Panasonic MA70 In The Showroom]
Anyways, we had a chance to talk about the Panasonic MA70, and he sent it to me. I’ve asked if I can keep it, you know, pay for it, buy it, and keep it. It’s an ‘Ice’-colored MA70 but I really enjoyed the chair. There were a couple of features about it that were kind of cool, like the heated jade rollers and the rotating ottoman, and it has a back pad on it that you can use if you’re not using the chair for therapy. So if you’re just using it as a sit-down chair to watch television or knit or read or whatever, you keep that pad on and it gives you lumbar support down the lower back and it gives you some neck and shoulder support. It’s a wonderful pillow. But if you want the therapy and you want a good, intense massage, lift that thing off or unzip it, it’s got a zipper at the top, and you’ve got only linen separating your back from the rollers, and thus the reputation of having a very vigorous massage is borne out though that roller with the thin linen separating it from your back. But I was very impressed with the chair. I found out that the 1285 is not being discontinued, I found that out for sure even though I kind of messed around with that a little bit, and Ed had watched my video so he had heard that rumor so we laid that to rest. They are still making the 1285, they are still making the EP30007, which I have in my showroom, the 30005, which is a variation of the 30007 with a couple less features, and the MA70, which I now have in my showroom, and the MA10, which is dumb-downed version of the MA70. I don’t suspect I’ll put that one on the website – we may still do that, but I’ve never had calls about it, I’ve had very few inquiries or email questions about it, so it may not be a chair that is really paramount in the mind of the massage chair consumer. But the MA70 is, and I am very excited to have that chair, and I will be doing videos this next week on it. I will write a preliminary review once I’ve had a chance to really sink my teeth into it, so to speak, and have some fun with it. But a nice chair, I wanted it in my showroom for a long time, and I’m very, very grateful to have it. Now, I will be meeting more with Ed over the weeks and months to come, I will be doing a lot more of my commerce with him, and I’m very excited to become more involved with the Panasonic line. Ed basically came to me and said, ‘We’d like you to do for our Panasonic MA70 what you’ve done with other chairs, like the Osaki and the Inada Sogno and the Infinity chairs and the Human Touch chairs.’ He’d like us to be able to represent that chair and increase the brand awareness for it, and I really appreciate that. He’s watched most of my videos and read my articles on my blog, and would like me to be able to write some reviews and kind of increase some awareness of that chair. It is a popular chair.
[SCREEN TEXT: Price Match Any Chair We Carry!]
Alan: And right now I should mention that there is some price competition out there, will not last forever, but we have it retailed on our site for $6999, which is our minimum advertised price, which is their minimum advertised price, so I have to sell at that price online. But I can do a price match on anybody that sells it for less. So, if you do see some price gouging out there and you may just see that, you come to me and I will match any price, I will take care of you. I love it when people come to me and say, ‘Listen, I want to buy my chair from you, I trust you, I trust your company, you’ve been around forever, you’ve got all the information on the website, you have your face and your phone number out there, and I want to buy from you because I trust you.’ And I appreciate that tremendously. I mean, I carry that comment with great pride and of course I want to honor that, and so, please, if you ever do find a chair anywhere for less, and it’s a chair that we carry and it’s the same model, get a hold of me and we match that price. In many cases, we’ll beat the price. But I’m not – my forte is not on being a huckster with pricing and just trying to low-ball everything out there. My goal is to educate people, develop trust with my customers, develop credibility with my customers, and of course be a resource to anybody that talks about massage chairs or has questions or wants to talk about massage chairs, that’s my forte. And so I want to be here as a resource, not as some sort of pitch man or huckster trying to just low-ball everybody else and then break MAP pricing and create havoc with massage chair companies, that’s not my objective. My objective is to have good relationships with them, good relationships with my customers, and that is what my focuses are.
[SCREEN TEXT: ZeroG 4.0 Now In Showroom]
Alan: Okay, enough of that. Oh, so now I’ve got the MA70, the Panasonic MA70. I also got the new ZeroG 4.0 from Human Touch. In the new year, we cleared out a couple of old floor models that we don’t use much and we don’t sell a lot of chairs, and we replaced those with the Panasonic MA70 and the ZeroG 4.0. I just got that one on Friday, we just got it set up, and set up’s easy on it, by the way. But I’m so excited to have that chair in my showroom. Remember, I went to Human Touch at the end of November and had a tour and visit of their facility, and I got to see the guts of their chairs and the engineering that’s behind the mechanics and the design and all the things that are done there. I just love my time at Human Touch and really appreciated the quality that they are trying to instill in their chairs. Of course, they outsource the manufacturing overseas to keep pricing down, keep the costs down. But I’m really excited about the ZeroG 4.0, very nice chair, I’m selling more and more of that immersion seating line, and I’m looking forward to doing a set of videos on that chair and I’ll be starting that also next week and also writing some articles. And I half chatted about that in my blog posts subsequent to my visit to Human Touch. But I really enjoyed my visit there, the people are fantastic, I was treated like royalty. They’ve got a good thing there, a great thing going, and I hope to learn more about this chair and share it with you. So we have that one in the showroom, exciting.
[SCREEN TEXT: Come Visit Our Showroom!]
Alan: And you know what, hey, I gotta tell you, I have a lot of people that come from out of state to come visit me. People call me all – well, 95% of my business is out of Utah and it’s online, and more and more people are starting to come to my showroom. We’ve had people from California of course, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, and then Illinois, North Carolina, New Orleans, New York, I mean all over the place, Minnesota, Kentucky, and I’ve got a man coming from Ohio, a man and his wife are coming from Ohio on a Saturday when they can get off work and fly down and check out the chairs because we have all the main brands under one roof. It’s just so hard to find that around the country, it’s very, very frustrating for shoppers, and if it’s within your means to do so, come out and visit us, we’d love to have you. And I’ll be able to credit you back – in maybe a price break on the chair in the showroom – to credit you back for the expenses of getting out to Utah. I’ll come and pick you up at the airport, if you’re staying out for the day we can take care of you the whole day, feed you lunch, and then drive you back to the airport. If you’re looking for a hotel, we can help you find one. If you’re spending the night and you want to mix it with some pleasure – yeah, massage chair is all business – but if you’re mixing it with some pleasure, to go skiing or go see some of the sights around here in Utah, and we can hook you up. But we want to make your visit wonderful, and we’d love to have you come out and visit, we think that’s fantastic.
I think that’s about it. I’m having – and I’m going to be completely candid here, I don’t mean to step on any toes or hurt any feelings – but sometimes, I find that – and we’ve talked about this before – but the Chinese-made chairs, the quality is not always as great as the Japanese-made chairs. I don’t know how the quality of the American-made chairs is going to be, but I do know that the Chinese-made chairs, the quality is not as good. I have more calls from customers with concerns about little things that aren’t working, whether it’s there’s no power, or a program is a little funky and it won’t come back up to neutral position, or the program won’t start again after it’s finished one program, or a hose is broken, or something is going on. And some of my customers have contacted, as I encourage them to do, contact the massage chair company that is importing or manufacturing the chair, and in some cases, with the Chinese-made chairs, I’m getting some push-back from my customers who email me after being frustrated by not getting any response, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s very disturbing to me. Because I sell these chairs on my website, I’m putting my name and my reputation on the line when I sell these chairs. If a company is not giving my customers immediate remedy – and when I say immediate, I would love to see something done within a week or two of at least sending a part or getting a technician out there – but one company in particular, and I won’t to mention the name, I’m struggling to get them to take care of certain things with a couple of my customers.
And it’s frustrating me and I’m almost to the point where I kinda want to talk about it – I’m at the point, that’s why I’m talking about it now – but I feel like maybe I need to make some suggestions to my customers with regards to that problem, and it drives me nuts when I get a customer who calls me and says, ‘I’ve been waiting for five months for a part,’ or ‘I sent an email with pictures of the problem to so-and-so at such-and-such a company five months ago or four months ago and I’m not getting any response, Dr. Weidner, what do I do?’ Well, that – to use the vernacular, and pardon this vernacular – but it pisses me off because I tell my customers that these companies support these chairs, and for the most part they do, but once in a while, and I’m seeing a little bit more of it recently, the support is waning. And it irritates me, and I would expect that these companies would step up and provide better service to my customers and other retailers’ customers, because it’s embarrassing to us and it’s embarrassing to the company, and I don’t like it. I will say that there are companies that have fantastic customer support. I’ve not had any problems with Inada or Human Touch or Infinity or whatever, we’re doing just fine with most of the companies, but once in a while, a case will come up and it just eats at my craw and I have to share it because this is my platform to talk to people and warn them and help them to understand that there are issues out there.
So, the long and short of it is, if you are not getting the response that you desire or that you feel you deserve from a massage chair company that you bought a chair from or from me – from a company that I represent – and they’re not getting back to you and helping you out, you get a hold of me. Email me, call me, whatever, and then I will call the company or email the company and I’ll say, ‘What the fad crap is going on? Please take care of this!’ And I’ve got two customers right now that are going through this, and we are going to get this resolved. Already there has been action taken, and usually the companies are real good to response because they know that I might talk about it here on this recording or on my blog, and I don’t to have to do that. And I encourage all my customers to share a review about their experience on my website. Like, if they want to share a review and say, ‘This chair was great except the customer support stunk when I had this broken part,’ or whatever, I encourage my customers to do that. I don’t want reviews that are all just rosy and, ‘Oh, Dr. Weidner’s great, and the chair’s wonderful,’ but I know deep down inside that person had a problem with their customer support, I want them to share that and I want the companies that I represent on my website to be aware that there is chatter about how bad their customer support is in a particular case. So anyways, I’m ranting now, I’m going off, but it does bother me because I want my customers to be happy. I don’t want just my customers to be happy, I want all massage chair customers to be happy because I want them to get what they’re looking for, which is therapeutic relief, stress relief, and they want bang for their thousands of dollars that they’re spending on this chair.
Anyways, there’s my rant for the week, and I apologize if I stepped on any toes or offended anybody, but I feel that is something that needs to be addressed, and hopefully that will help resolve some of these issues. Again, I am Dr. Alan Weidner from ‘Massage-Chair-Relief.com,’ I will see you in two weeks. If you enjoyed this video and you feel it could benefit someone else, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, ‘Like’ us on Facebook, share us with your Facebook friends or on Twitter, but please help spread the word about massage chairs. It is an increasingly popular mode of therapy for people, and more people need to know about it and I’d like to be a medium for getting that message out. And you are helpful in doing that by doing the things I just asked you to do.