BINGHAMTON, N.Y. –
McIntosh is rolling out Mc- Intosh-dedicated Experience Center rooms in dealer stores “to elevate the entire experience that consumers have with our brand” and “broaden the customer base to consumers who can appreciate anything that is at the top of their class,” said Linda Passaro, sales and marketing global VP.
The first Experience Center opened Friday, Nov. 4, at Century Stereo in San Jose, Calif., and the second will open Thursday, Nov. 10, at IQ Home Entertainment in Fairfax, Va.
For the grand opening at Century Stereo, rock band Taddy Porter entertained consumers, and for the opening at IQ Home Entertainment, the Nashville pop-rock group States will perform.
McIntosh hopes to open 10 Experience Centers per year beginning in its fiscal 2012, which begins in April, Passaro told TWICE.
McIntosh revealed its intentions a year ago to launch Experience Centers as part of its drive to position itself as a luxury brand to expand its customer base beyond audiophiles to include affluent consumers who are serious about music. As part of that effort, the brand is also pursuing distribution through luxury retailers outside typical CE distribution channels.
McIntosh will focus on opening centers in high-net-worth markets “to reach consumers not necessarily buying from us today,” Passaro said. The company will choose dealers that have strong relationships with McIntosh, the financial ability to meet product buy-in requirements and to market the centers, and the 350 to 400 square feet needed for a proper presentation, she said.
McIntosh dealers who commit will get stepped-up support, including support for grand openings and product-launch events as well as a prime position on the McIntosh website. Participants also get a boost in marketing funds and co-op, dating programs for McIntosh Center inventory, in-store training for all staff, and event-planning support, including arranging for bands to play at the grand openings.
Centers are promoted as prestige settings that create an at-home atmosphere with a couch, McIntosh- related art on the walls, a plasma TV displaying a blue McIntosh VU meter with moving needle, and three McIntosh electronics-speaker systems intended for different use cases and designed to simplify the purchasing decision. One system, the MX-A60 compact tabletop stereo system, is targeted to people living in small spaces. The SoHo stereo system features full-sized components, including a turntable. And the Westchester is a home-theater system consisting of full-size components and speakers.
Also for playback on the plasma TV, McIntosh provides participating dealers with two discs. One features brand images, and the other features videos of the company’s factory in action and the company’s listening parties with noted musicians.