We had an opportunity to talk to Phil Molyneux (President and Chief Operating Officer, Sony Electronics Inc) in San Francisco, and we discussed about Sony’s efforts to change its overall user experience, including the store experience. As Phil Molyneux would put it, the Sony stores have to be the “Wonderland of Sony” that are not only there to provide a wonderful taste of Sony’s products, but they should also be a place where people buy products, come back to learn how to “get more” from them, and eventually get great support if needed.
With that in mind, Sony has remodeled a few stores (last Spring) and worked hard to refine this new model. Almost 6 months later, the investment is starting to generate solid dividends and Sony is ready to expand the concept.
Phil Molyneux told us that the Houston store had generated 100% as much business on day 1. In New York, the jump is even higher at 265%. In addition to its own stores, Sony exports the experience into other retailers as well – and they’re called the Sony “golden stores”. In select Walmart, Best Buy and Frys; Sony has its own section which is branded and supported by Sony. There, Sony has seen an increase of up to 40% relative to the same retailer without the “golden store” branding.
Despite the early success, Sony remains “optimistically cautious” because the company still operates in a very competitive environment, in a difficult economy. That said, the holiday season is off to a good start. Phil Molyneux says that Sony for this period, the numbers are back to the level of 2008.
The stores are only part of Phil Molyneux’s comprehensive strategy to win customer loyalty: it will take great products, hands-on experience, continuous updates and eventually a great customer support to make the whole user experience decisively better. So far, the data says that it is working. Have you been to one of the new Sony Stores? What do you think?