CENTURY CITY, CALIF. – Video & Audio Center has opened its fourth retail store at the Westfield Century City Mall, here, where customers can test products in an open, relaxed atmosphere.
The location was previously a top Sony Store, which closed recently, and had its soft opening on Friday, April 11. The retailer told TWICE the date of the formal opening has not yet been set.
The new Video & Audio Center location has stores from Microsoft, Apple, Bloomingdales and other similar retailers that, according to corporate director Tom Campbell, attract the same type of upscale clientele.
The store, which is 10,000 square feet, is similar in size to its three other locations in Santa Monica, Lawndale and Agoura Hills, Calif. The location is described as a “unique opportunity” by Campbell due to its location and the “new direction” it takes the retailer.
“This store has been totally redone to welcome consumers with an open concept, so they can test products. It really is designed for impulse sales,” Campbell said. “You may come in for a TV but you may walk out with headphones along with it.”
The design is based on focus groups the chain’s co-presidents Joseph and Mayer Akhtarzad have conducted quarterly for several years, Campbell said.
“We want to give you an experience you can’t get on the Internet. For instance, you can sample any music you like in our headphone demonstration area. There are mirrors there, since headphones are a cosmetic item now, to see how you look with them on.”
To increase the in-store experience Video & Audio Center now offers sameday setup and delivery at no extra cost for products such as Ultra HD TV, which the retailer has been a leader in introducing during the past two years. Those jobs are handled by its One Touch custom- installation unit that handles residential and business customers.
Campbell noted that the Akhtarzad brothers opened the business 33 years ago. “They have always realized that retail is always evolving and changing, especially now.”
He added, “Our business is up. What they have done in this new retail environment [with the new store design] is realize that it is no longer about how many boxes you can possibly jam into a retail store. You have to sell the experience to consumers.”
As part of Video & Audio Center’s evolution, it has gradually added unlocked smartphones (the brands have not been set as yet); tablets from Samsung and Sony; wearables from those two suppliers, LG and others; and video games — PlayStation 4 — to draw traffic and attract more customers.
Campbell noted, “Gaming does drive sales of TVs … drives teens, 20- and 30-somethings into your store.”
Ultra HD TV is still a big part of the store, with full lines of LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp and Sony lines, with Beats and Monster in headphones and Sonos wireless audio systems among the highlights.
Campbell commented, “The old way of retail is gone. Retailers now have to focus on the shopping experience, where customers can touch, feel and try the products in a relaxed, social atmosphere. … The store almost closes sales itself.”