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Shopping Sony Style

by Team Sony 09/24/2007

I was checking out the merchandising displays for our HDNA all things high-definition promotion at the local Sony Style store at San Diego’s airy Fashion Valley Mall and thought I’d take this opportunity to share a little information about the growing impact of our 40 stores around the country and the accompanying sonystyle.com e-commerce site. And while the lion’s share of Sony’s consumer products are sold by hundreds of retail partners in thousands of stores nationwide, there are several dimensions to Sony Style that are very interesting…not to mention that I always enjoy visiting our stores.
 
Sony Style a is great place to test out consumer reaction to new products. For example, our
Reader electronic book device and the U-series of ultra-small, micro PCs were both originally introduced online and in Sony Style stores.  For the Reader, we also introduced it concurrently at Borders, but now it is available at Costco along with a number of other national and regional CE and PC dealers. As for the UX-series, which was a Sony Style exclusive, the consumer reaction has been so strong that we’ve gone ahead and introduced subsequent models at various authorized retailers, including Best Buy, Comp USA and Fry’s to name a few.


 
Sticking with PCs for a moment, we just announced a very limited number of two
Maya Hayuk designed VAIO notebooks. Beginning this month they will be sold exclusively at Sony Style and for each one sold, a donation will be made by Sony to Creativity Explored – a non-profit organization supporting artists with developmental disabilities. There will only be 300 of each model produced, so get ‘em while they’re hot! This is the latest VAIO initiative in customization linked to Sony Style, where we have unveiled a variety of color treatments and designs that have been die-subbed into the shells of the notebooks.  We also just began offering custom engraving on select  PCs, Cyber-shot cameras and Handycam camcorders for customers at Sony Style.
 
In addition, this is where we first came out with
different colored bezels to go around the frame of our BRAVIA flat-panel LCD televisions, so they could be more integrated into the design of people’s homes.Sony Style is a great place to find our top-of-the line products, whether it’s our XBR series of BRAVIA TV’s or our Alpha DSLR digital camera. You can obtain some of our more unique products as well such as the BRAVIA theater system television stand with its integrated speakers (including the subwoofer), which is designed to accomodate either 40 or 46-inch flat panel LCD TVs, along with an A/V receiver and Blu-ray disc or DVD player (sold separately).

The stores are warm and inviting. Their interior designs are contemporary and colorful, without being loud, abrasive or over-the-top. They have very helpful staff, including a concierge at the front of every store who will greet and try to help you. While in the store, you can play and learn how to use all of the products. Even the scent has been specially selected to keep people coming back.
 
Of course, Sony accessories of all kinds are available both in the stores and particularly online at
sonystyle.com. In the stores, if you can’t find something, you can use the handy in-store kiosks to link to the e-commerce site to get what you’re looking for.
 
And being the “entertainment powerhouse” that our Chairman and Chief Executive Sir Howard Stringer has referred to Sony as, our stores also have a wide variety of movies and music videos available in both DVD and the new high-definition Blu-ray disc formats, as well as music CDs and PlayStation videogames.
 
One of the latest additions in 14 of the stores is an area we call “Backstage.” This is where you can get a lot of your VAIO computer questions and service needs taken care of, ranging from a general tune-up and data migration to memory upgrades.  We are adding Backstage to four more stores in October and hopefully, as the concept gains interest, it will be expanded more widely.
 
Online, you can have your computer configured to order with a host of different options, specifications and personalized touches. The website is also a good place learn about the products, get the dimensions and check out the prices. The site also features
“My 101” learning centers to help people learn more about everything from a beginner’s guide to high-definition, to a course on video editing and sharing, to a tutorial on editing digital photographs.
 
Another thing I’ve learned, based on some internal company research, is that the majority of people who come in contact with Sony Style and then go on to purchase a Sony product actually do so at one of our many retail partners…and not only are we perfectly fine with this, we encourage it.  While the Sony Style stores and website have combined to grow to become one of our top retail channels, it still represents a fraction of our total consumer business.
 
Certainly, the heart of our consumer electronics business has always been and will continue to be with our valued retail partners for many years to come. With what we are learning at Sony Style, we are in a position to help our retail partners even more…by sending enthused and informed Sony shoppers their way…by sharing merchandising and promotions we’re also using in our stores…by rolling out new products that might have involved some risk on the retailers part after they’ve proven successful at Sony Style…and even by supporting retailers like Abt Electronics, Toys R Us, Ultimate Electronics and Electronics Expo with Sony “shop-in-shop” concepts.
 
Others take different approaches (e.g. Apple primarily focused on their stores and Dell on their direct phone/online service), which have been successful for the nature of their businesses. But given the vast product portfolio that Sony has to offer, along with the strength of our established network of retail partners, I believe we have found the right balance with the integration of Sony Style into what the industry calls a “multi-channel strategy.”  Basically, it is an approach that hopefully provides people what they want when they want it from Sony, which includes options and choices in how they interact, learn and buy our products. 
 
When you have a moment, I’d welcome your comments on any experiences you’ve had with Sony Style stores or our website. 

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  1. guest_user wrote: September 25, 2007 12:54am

    It’s nice that Sony has the SonyStyle Show Rooms. But depending on the product it will be a disappointment.

    When the A100 was launched. Sony Styles only carried it and kit lenses. I think Sony is missing a great opportunity to carry the full line of lenses in these stores for people to try. I hope A700′s get in the showrooms soon, with many more lenses. Sony doesn’t have a SLR presence in Stores. It’s impossible to find much past a kit lens anywhere. By having all the lenses in Sony Styles for people to try. Until Sony has camera stores that carry all the lenses people won’t be able to try them, and without that, people are less likely to buy them. Being able to drop by a Sony Style showroom if you are one of the lucky folks who live anywhere near one and being able to try out a lens on your own time would be a boon for Sony. I got to try a 70-200 SSM at PMA, and soon bought it.

    Reply
  2. guest_user wrote: September 25, 2007 10:31am

    I also enjoy visitng SonyStyle stores and have been to several ones from NYC at Madison Ave to a few in DC area. I primarily visit the stores to check out new products and play some with the new toys. But I found myself that I buy more often from Sonystyle.com rather than from a store. I guess because the online return policy is one of the best out there and the actual stores charge a restocking fee. I remember visiting the Qualia set up in New York, and it was truly a cool experience. I also learnt that not many actual store employees are very enthusiastic about Sony! I was quite shocked about it! I thought man if I was some Sony veteran like you Rick, and just came in the store to test out its employees who work there, and hear some stories….I’d say sorry but you don’t belong here. But it is just me, I know usually more about Sony product line, especially the VAIO one more than any other of the store employees because I take interest in it, and I am sure they do not require the workers to know it all. I guess it all comes to the Sony Culture, which has never been picked up here in the US. As you mentioned Apple in your post, anyone could say there is a certain Apple Culture or cult I’d say and folks working at their stores are very into it too! I wish Sony had also certain functions where public is invited when you release your products and be hyped about it. Steve Jobs kind of nailed it as we all know from his presentations and it really works as a lot of young people can relate to it (therefore read: will spend money) which Sony is missing for some reason. Like I mentioned before in my posts, marketing of Sony in the US is not very strong and very isolated and spotty. It looks like SCEA is getting on the roll and I do like Phil Harrison’s charisma about Sony Playstation. We just need more guys like him in every Sony division. I do not mind representing VAIO and help out Mike Abary some =) (wink)….

    Reply
  3. guest_user wrote: April 11, 2008 3:45am

    I ordered a battery for my notebook, VGN SZ 430 NB. I received a it a week
    later. It didn’t fit. I’ve been trying to return it for 3 weeks now. They keep
    saying they will send me a shipping label, then 2 days later, they say they
    won’t. Their reason is, because it is the correct battery. Well if it was the
    correct battery, wouldn’t it fit? When I look at the battery, there are 4 small
    holes in the center and 2 bigger ones on the outside, well, my computer has 5
    small in the center and 2 bigger prongs on the outside. HMM, yet it is the
    correct battery??? What a bunch of idiots. They obviously have never seen,
    nor have they ever touched this brand of computer. They get their paycheck
    whether the customers are happy or not. They have been rude to me several
    times. Sony products are great, but I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER SONY
    PRODUCT JUST BECAUSE OF THE SERVICE I HAVE RECEIVED. Plus I will
    make sure I tell everybody what I have been through to send this battery back.
    Im sure they won’t be buying SONY either. Word gets around
    store.sony.com on how you treat your customers

    Reply
  4. guest_user wrote: November 14, 2008 6:40am

    hi all sony lovers. sony style stores are really styliz though i ahvent seen one.. i could find it
    out in the pic. any idea when one is gonna open in india. and please let me know where would i get
    more sony style stole pics… waiting to see more pics

    Reply
  5. guest_user wrote: November 19, 2008 2:10am

    Thanks for your comments, Nitin. This is Rebecca from Sony India. We currently do have Sony
    Centers located across cities in India, which offer our complete range of products to consumers. We
    welcome you to visit these Sony stores and have hands-on experience with our latest products and
    solutions. The locations for these stores are available on our website “www.sony.co.in”

    Reply
  6. guest_user wrote: November 22, 2008 2:00pm

    Good work. Useful information it gives me a better insight. Cheers.

    Reply
  7. AstiaFoto wrote: February 28, 2013 1:40am

    Hello,

    I was wondering where to encounter some legitimate insight! Notwithstanding how it’s bizarre when you look at some astia foto (funny pics) it instantly changes your inclination!

    Reply
  8. اس ام اس wrote: December 23, 2013 4:21pm

    It’s nice that Sony
    has the SonyStyle Show Rooms

    Reply
  9. batman oyunlari wrote: January 31, 2014 12:36am

    SONY products are very high quality. Not compromising on the latest technology in all its products. Offers customers the highest quality products. Thank you, Sony.

    Reply

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