Executive Insight: What’s Next for the Home Audio Retail Environment?

Tony Ostrom, President, WiSA Association

It’s no secret that the retail industry has become an on-demand market. Consumers today are looking for instant gratification, which presents significant opportunities and challenges for CE and home audio retailers. Immediate delivery is essential; for example, Amazon Prime is a term almost everyone is familiar with and its subscription program has found its way into the number of us who shop.

But moving to a more comprehensive on-demand offering isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach for home audio retailers. The challenge is to create moving, visceral and emotional experiences through audio and video entertainment.

For a consumer to understand the possibilities, they often need to experience an in-person demonstration. We tend to rely heavily on reviews, influencers, and consumer ratings, all of which are valid ways to gain insight into the capabilities of a product or a complete home theater system. However, the best tools are the eyes and ears of the consumers, and the industry that facilitates good demonstrations will continue to be the key in the future.

Several retailers are rising to the challenge by creating great in-store experiences with complete system sets showing the interoperability of products from multiple brands. As an example, WiSA certified retailer Electronic Express has a dedicated floor space in the wireless home theater category showing how televisions, transmitters and multi-channel audio systems can easily work together to create truly immersive experiences. These retailers are also creating online storefronts to tell the same story, educate about opportunities and products, and entice consumers to visit retail stores for an audio demonstration.

Beohome Experience Store, Boston, MA. (image credit: CEPro)

Brands also contribute to the experiential selling initiative. This is exactly what Bang & Olufsen, a member of the WiSA association, is doing with the opening of the Beohome Experience Store in Boston. The branded experience store allows shoppers to immerse themselves in the company’s premium audio products and televisions. This interactive in-person experience gives potential buyers a taste of what it would be like to actually own the product rather than relying solely on reviews.

Another WiSA member, Hisense, took the opportunity to allow people to experience their products at home risk-free by allowing them to test their new laser TVs, with a 100-day free trial or money-back guarantee. LG, a member of WiSA, promotes its WiSA Ready TVs and showcases a range of products on ElectronicExpress.com, providing consumers with a seamless product experience to improve every touchpoint in their home.

The pandemic has had a major impact on consumer behavior for the industry. People are looking for ways to improve their home environment, whether it’s adding a home gym, creating a home theater experience to stream the latest blockbuster, or bringing games to life. home to a new level.

For the electrical stimulation industry in particular, whether online or in a retail environment, the focus must remain on finding ways to allow new and seasoned consumers to be introduced and transformed by sound. quality. Dedicated detail demos are vital for the future of showcasing the differences between TV or even soundbar sound and immersive 5.1 to Dolby Atmos spatial audio.

It is helpful to keep in mind that due to the difference between every home layout, there may be risks involved in making uninformed online purchases – with the knowledge that the product may need to be returned in the future. either because of the sound quality or that the product itself is not exactly what was expected. Consumers have varying degrees of shopping experience needs. Brands and retailers therefore need to work together and continue to perfect online and in-person environments.

The technology within the home appliance industry is constantly evolving, and this is what makes it so attractive to consumers. For brands to drive and improve the retail experience, we must continue to uncover new opportunities, such as more immersive brand experiences, enabling consumers to not only experience great sound in person, but to receive afterwards. immediately all the help they need to take into account the factors that are important to their purchase. From performance to price or size to style, we can help the consumer buy the perfect system for their needs, and in turn help us all continue to build this category.

See also: Executive Insight: Is there a player in the house?


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