Tweeter Plays 'House'; Re-Enters E-tailing Sector

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Underscoring its focus on the custom home installation business, Tweeter Home Entertainment Group has opened the first of several planned in-store home vignettes within its Braintree, Mass., location.

The mock home display, dubbed The Tweeter Design Center, features a kitchen, bathroom and living room, and is fully outfitted with plasma TVs, in-wall speakers, touch-screen controls, whole house paging, and closed-circuit observation cameras.

"The Tweeter Design Center… is an important part of our company-wide commitment to custom installation," said VP/merchandising Bernie Sapienza. "It helps the customer see that the house of the future can be a reality today."

Tweeter plans to add Design Centers to stores in Dallas and La Jolla and Palm Desert, Calif., later this year and in Warwick, R.I., next spring. Each department will be staffed by at least four specially trained in-home specialists, the company said.

Meanwhile, the high-end A/V specialty chain is back in business online. Having been sidelined since its Internet service provider,, was acquired by Fry's late last year, Tweeter's Web site,, is once again selling CE over the Web.

As announced last spring, the new site is powered by GSI Commerce (formerly Global Sports), which is responsible for site technology, customer service, order processing and fulfillment. Tweeter, which had maintained an information-only site during the interim, is handling merchandising, branding and site design.

Departments include a shopping guide section called "Know How," a custom install area dubbed "Whole Home Systems," and a product array that's grouped by category and brand.

Other functions include customer service, order tracking, wish lists, and a store locator, which will appear next to products that are only available in Tweeter and HiFi Buys stores. "We expect that more and more manufacturers will make their products available for sale on as they become more comfortable with the site," said Noah Herschman, VP/video merchandising.


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