An Open Letter to Specialty Retailers
After an experience visiting a home theater specialty retailer near my office, with the goal of gathering an education and making a purchase, 7.1 receiver, DVD player, cables, etc… I am not sure if I came away with an epiphany or an intense case of fear, nervousness and frustration.
This specialty retailer is in a location that you cannot get to from here. It was mid day Saturday. All of the TVs were on. I asked the clerk (read “clerk” with disdain) about the difference between 5.1 and 7.1 system configuration. The difference was explained to me. He made an attempt to demonstrate the 7.1 sound in their high-end room. After about 10 uncomfortable minutes he was unable to coax any sound from the elaborate set up. My enquiry about Blu-Ray DVD was met with similar results. Forget the speaker demo. Its OK (sort of). I understand how folks might “rob” the demo room in a product availability emergency. Maybe a cable was missing…?
My real fears result from the clerk’s absolute lack of interest in learning about where I was in the education – buying process. He allowed me to direct the entire affair. My questions were answered for sure, BUT THAT’S ALL. Forget about; “How long have you been thinking about this?... Where have you been looking?... Do you have a big TV, theater system, audio system at home now?... Are you going to do the installation or have it done?... Is this a project you are in the beginning of or just finishing?... Etc… Etc…” Who let this guy on the floor? Management?
No attempt to understand the state of the consumer was made. No attempt to make a sale. No attempt to add knowledge other than answer the questions. No difference from the big red COKE machine in front of the body shop next door. A complete waste of time for me as a consumer. Another nervous point on the education graph, extending a disturbing trend line for me as a manufacturer committed to championing the value of the brick & mortar specialty retailer.