Manhattan-based CE retailers tend to be anomalies that operate in a manner that isn’t typical of the rest of the country. Their style perfectly suits the pedestrian shopper who likes to trot over from a nearby office high-rise on a lunch hour to check out the latest gear, or the apartment dweller taking a constitutional to bag a just-released DVD. But actually drawing customers to you when you’re not on their “destination radar,” conversely, can pose unique challenges, particularly in the downtown area, where the close streets and clusters of World Trade Center site tourists make getting to any store a zigzag obstacle course that had better be worth the effort.
J&R Music World, a fixture in the Lower Manhattan area for decades and a stone’s throw from Ground Zero, has figured out how to make it “worth it”—how to create and nurture a destination-driven customer. The formula, says management, is show biz—a constant stream of attractions that anywhere else might seem like sensory bombardment, but which is the kind of in-your-face strategy that works well to maintain J&R’s reputation as one of the metropolitan area’s “technology headquarters,” Abe Brown, spokesman, says.
The execution, Brown says, includes holding various tech and camera “expos” and sponsorship of in-park concerts, plus the showcasing of a regular parade of “name” musicians, singers, sports figures (J&R is the official electronics retailer of the New York Yankees) and category experts in the store.