Sony’s US Retail Is Focused on … You Bet, 4K

Sony’s retail approach in the States, and probably elsewhere, will primarily revolve around 4K, according to the president and COO of Sony Electronics USA Mike Fasulo, who said, “Our Sony Experience spaces [in retail stores] are built around high-quality 4K content. We can demonstrate how we deliver the Ultra HD experience through content, devices, audio, gaming — the full capacity of 4K.”

 

Sony_store_Westfield_Riccarton_2013

Sony retail: 4K may bring much needed footfall

 

Fasulo used as an example Sony’s 4K action cameras. He said, “4K action cams are the new camcorder. You can take it in your pocket or your purse and be ready to capture that special moment. We are taking a premium approach to the category, ever since we introduced the very first 4K video camera.”

 

Sony’s 4K Action Cam

Sony’s splash-proof 4K Action Cam records video and pictures in 4K (3840 x 2160), has Sony’s SteadyShot image stabilization so it can be used when moving such as on bikes, in cars and mounted on drones. A smartphone app can control five different Action Cams. A tripod mount is included as is a stereo microphone that records quality sound with wind noise reduction.

Sony is aiming its CE products at the upscale demographics (as shown by prices for Sony’s UHD TVs). To achieve that goal the company has to show that its products and that’s best done in a retail store, not an online shopping service like Amazon.com.

 

Sony 4K action cam

Sony 4K Action Cam

 

Fasulo said, “Experience and demonstration is key, whether in brick-and-mortar or in e-commerce. In all our categories, audio, imaging, TV… we will continue on with our premium message, a premium approach. We will continue to work closely with the retail partners we feel are capable and interested in quality demonstrations of what Sony has to offer among content, device and entertainment.”

To that end, Sony is opening more brick-and-mortar stores-within-a-store. It is first taking a few steps back by closing eight of its 10 Sony-owned stores. Many of the employees in the closed stores will be hired by CE retailers such as Best Buy, which already has a number of Sony Experience sections. Sony trains the stores employees that work exclusively in the dedicated Sony Experience sections, even though they are on the store’s payroll. Fasulo said, “We train them. They are solely dedicated to Sony products, but our partners employ them.”

Fasulo also tried to clarify what he said was “the mistaken interpretation” of Sony CEO Kaz Hirai’s recent comments about a “spin-off” of the company’s audio/video device businesses. Fasulo said, “We’re not spinning anything off. [Hirai’s] message wasn’t ‘we’re getting out of any businesses.’ His message wasn’t ‘we’re divesting ourselves.’ His message was: ‘Different businesses, different markets require a different way of going to market.’”

It was the same strategy, he said, that Sony followed as shown last year when the company split out its TV set business. He said, “These are volatile categories and need some different solutions to be successful.” He said the strategy provided several advantages:
– Clear accountability for each group
– Autonomy in decision-making
– A light infrastructure that allows it to be competitive

Fasulo said, “I feel as if we got very clear direction and that direction is very well aligned with what I started when I got appointed a year ago. We need that focus, and I hope you’ve seen we realized that focus. We built that focus around product, process and people.”

He said the strategy is already paying off: “This past year …

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