Last season's SONOS store opening was preceded with a blog post by the brand, which I complimented. The store experience in Soho definitely lived up to expectations. And it’s definitely an experience more so than a store.
Normally, I’d advise retailers to clearly mark prices on items. Feedback shows customers don’t want to ask someone at a cosmetics counter how much the eye shadow is or dig around in an interior handbag pocket looking for a price tag. But the lack of visible pricing on the walls (and walls and walls) of SONOS speakers reinforces the “living room” feel the company wants this space to have. It helps visitors feel comfortable taking the time to explore and learn because there’s no suggestion that a transaction is desired, let alone the goal.
What this means is that the “store” is as much about brand and customer retention as it is about acquiring new SONOS customers. I’m already a SONOS user and frequently evangelize the product. My visit was not only enjoyable, but educational. The employee (guide? docent? not an overt salesperson!) who welcomed me pointed out lesser known product features, answered some questions I had but hadn’t taken the time to research on my own, and gave me time alone to explore interactive tablets with product information better conveyed here than on their web site.
As a result of my experience, I learned how to better use the SONOS speakers I have. That means I’ll like them even more, talk about them more, better show them off to guests in my home… and maybe even buy more.
The space is beautiful and not only brings the brand to life in a compelling way, but adds more dimension to the brand than could ever be conveyed by a web site or by the speakers themselves. I’m very curious how SONOS will measure success of its living room.