Via conference calls with experts, store managers, training teams and other staff, the company keeps its salespeople up to snuff on its Vaio, PC, digital and television lines, and then some, on a monthly basis. “A big, big niche is developing training so salespeople know the latest technology,” says Syracuse. “If they don’t have an answer for a customer, they can call one of our experts in a store 300 miles away and get the answer. That’s what’s important.”
Fine-Tuning Retail’s Future
Sony recently opened its 27th Sony Style store and has made a few changes. “Certainly there’s been an upgrade from store number one, which was the very first prototype,” says Syracuse. “We worked out some kinks, upgraded and changed and tweaked the overall look.” For example, early stores featured a very “techie-style” carpet that has been changed to a warmer, softer version, along with a modified palette for the stores’ wallpaper. “We also introduced a ‘What’s New’ area in the center of the store to replace what had been a sit-down consultation area. We found customers preferred to be in the back of the store for consultations as opposed to up front.” All the changes, notes Syracuse, were minor tweaks to enhance the customer’s overall shopping experience.