PHOENIXVILLE, PA. – Direct-to-consumer audio company Wren Sound Systems will go retail with its trio of wireless tabletop speakers for the home.
Additional products are also in the works.
The start-up company shipped its first product, a Wi-Fi-equipped AirPlay speaker, in January. That was followed in April by a Wi-Fi-equipped DTS Play- Fi version for use with Android smartphones. The company’s Bluetooth speaker, which features CSR AptX decoding, ships the week of Nov. 4. All are AC-only active speakers priced at $399 and featuring real bamboo or rosewood finishes.
The company is now gearing up for retail distribution because it has a trio of products instead of just one, has benefitted from an aggressive PR campaign that delivered 29 product reviews with more to come, and has gained insights on how consumers perceive the brand, said founder Mike Giffin, a 35-year audio-industry veteran and former division president of Harman International’s consumer audio business.
“As a start-up company with only one model — the V5AP for AirPlay — that began shipping in January of this year, we realized that our opportunity and appeal at retail would be limited at best,” he told TWICE. “We also realized that, with no brand recognition and no ‘proof of concept’ with real end users in the real marketplace, our pitch to retailers would be based on hypotheses, not experience.”
The product reviews are helping build “visibility and a great reputation for quality,” he said. And now that the company has “a lot of experience with consumers, we understand how our brand is perceived, who our customers are, and what they value about our products.” He added, “We have a solid, experience-based story to tell about our appeal to end users.”
As for its distribution strategy, the company will focus on dealers’ “need for price integrity and profitability” and will target retailers who are successful with Wren customers, who “skew older — closer to 45 than to 25 — and have high incomes, most north of $100,000,” said Giffin. These customers “are very design-conscious, and they care greatly about their dwelling spaces and what those spaces say about who they are.”
The target customer also has “a strong preference for wood over plastic and a real appreciation for discernibly better build quality,” Giffin added.
With that in mind, the company has begun interviewing and appointing rep firms and will add “a few dealers” in the next month or so, Giffin said. Next year, however, “will be our focus year, and we have exciting plans for new products and for sensibly expanding our assortment.”
Wren is targeting A/V and CE specialists and non-CE channels focused on higher-end furnishings, décor and lifestyle, Giffin said.
To promote the brand, the company is focusing on digital marketing and “continued very aggressive ‘earned’ advertising (reviews) such as those at WrenSound.com/Reviews.”