Circuit City CEO Ronny Shmoel has set Feb. 15 as the launch date for his iconic retail brand.
The go-to-market plan, revised, reexamined and reimagined over the past two years, will begin with an experiential website and expand to kiosks, store-in-stores and ultimately showrooms.
Speaking at a CES press briefing yesterday, Shmoel promised a new, more personalized online shopping experience that melds e-commerce, social networking and solution selling to “allow the products to find the consumers” as they explore the site and its varied content.
Features will include videos, virtual vignettes, search-by-photo, augmented reality and real-time tech support via video chat.
The site will be supported by IBM Watson’s AI commerce platform, which can learn customers’ interests and serve as a personal shopping assistant to help guide them on their journey of discovery, placing experience over product, Shmoel said.
The goal, added a company spokesman, is to transform the traditional search-find-buy shopping model into play-explore-learn.
Shmoel described a curated product assortment that will include A/V, computers, gaming, imaging, small appliances and smart-home products by top-tier vendors like Samsung, Panasonic and Canon, as well as tier-two and tier-three brands. The new Circuit City owns some of its own inventory, which it is amassing in distribution centers around the country, and will also work with drop-ship partners, he said.
The company has also enlisted national integration service Skinny IT to provide home installations, and has contracted with Taylored Group to design experiential showrooms ranging from 8,000-10,000 square feet that would mirror the website.
No date has been set for a showroom rollout, although Shmoel said major retailers in various distribution channels have expressed interest in his branded, traffic-driving store-in-stores.
Shmoel, who has a background in retail, e-commerce and global sourcing, acquired the Circuit City brand, domain and associated trademarks from IT supplier Systemax in 2015.
Once the No. 1 big-box tech chain, Circuit City succumbed to a rapidly changing marketplace in 2008, and misfired in its second incarnation as an online-only sister site to Systemax’s TigerDirect IT chain.
Shmoel noted last month that he is joined in his latest endeavor by a new management team “with experience across top-tier leadership companies.”