Sony Launches New 'Golden Spaces' In-Store Shop Concept

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Sony Electronics has added a third iteration to its lineup of store-within-a-store merchandising concepts for its retail partners.

The latest addition, dubbed Golden Spaces, is smaller, more standardized and easier to install than the manufacturer’s in-store boutiques, which date back to the 1980s, and shop-in-shops, which first appeared in 2006.

Golden Spaces employ Europeanmade fixtures, third-party promoters and content from Sony Entertainment to provide consumers with an “immersive retail experience,” the company said. Launched last year at 10 Fry’s, American TV and Ultimate Electronics locations, the concept provides a consistent look that’s distinct from that of SonyStyle stores while still conveying a premium Sony brand experience.

The current version is focused on 3D TV and home entertainment, the company said, and investment and execution are shared by Sony and its retail partners.

Due to their turnkey design, Golden Spaces represent “a much bigger opportunity” than Sony’s other in-store shop concepts and can easily scale up to more than 100 locations over the next few years, said Paul Spitale, Sony’s regional and specialty accounts senior VP.

Driving the expansion are encouraging metrics that point to higher average selling prices and increased step-selling within the Golden Spaces locations, Spitale said, although Sony is still working with retailers to find the optimum balance of third-party promoters and retail associates.

There is no sales threshold for Sony dealers to qualify for a Golden Spaces installation, although requirements do include a “substantial Sony business” and a minimum two-year commitment, Spitale said.

In contrast, Sony’s shop-in-shops are more consistent with the look of Sony- Style stores, showcase the company’s full line of products, and represent a much more substantial investment for both Sony and its participating dealers. Sony maintains stricter requirements for retail participation, including traffic levels, and so far has limited the five-year-old concept to eight retailers including Abt Electronics, Electronics Expo, J&R Music & Computer World, Nebraska Furniture Mart, and Sixth Avenue Electronics.

Sony has taken a very conservative approach to shop-in-shop build-out, Spitale said, and presently envisions no more than 18 installations around the country, partly to avoid geographic overlap.

Boutiques, the oldest of the three shop concepts, can be found at more than 25 retailers including Audio Video Center, Stereo Advantage, Toys “R” Us, Willoughby’s in Manhattan, and at shop-in-shop partners J&R and Sixth Avenue. Unlike the other two concepts, boutiques are not designed to be extensions of the Sony brand at retail, but are individually created by retailers through the creative use of market development funds. The boutiques are often built as vignettes and tend to focus on a specific product category.


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