Business Strategy

Trying to stay in Control
December 1, 2006

Tweeter, the home entertainment retailer with 153 stores now in 23 states, has a new slogan, a raison d’etre reminiscent of the Clinton campaign’s “It’s the economy, stupid.” Printed in bright colors on a display stand showcasing a Crestron control panel in the middle of Tweeter’s latest remodeled store, the motto reads, “It’s All About Control.” Over 3,000 Tweeter employees are hoping that slogan rings true with the modern consumer, and the Tweeter management is betting the shop on it. After some financially challenging years, the chain is hoping to publicly position itself as the source of affordable home automation products and installation

Practice in Action
December 1, 2006

Amber Dinh, “VIP Concierge” for Starpower, a home theater retail chain in Dallas, Texas “I often pick the brains of people in other parts of the retail market. It’s almost like a religion: if you want to be strong in your own, what you need to do is go study others’ to give you a foundation. Buyers from Nordstroms and Saks 5th Avenue have given me ideas about how to best serve customers. Just this past weekend, I threw a birthday party for one of our clients … decorated the store with 200 balloons, a fountain flowing with champagne, the works. Two hundred people showed

Shop Talk
December 1, 2006

As the big box retailers of the world bulk up their inventory and square footage, Denmark-based Bang & Olufsen is doing business a little differently. The high-end electronics supplier has started rolling out a svelte new retail expansion plan—650-sq.-feet at a time. “Plans are underway for the first of the eight stores to open,” says Kim Gravesen, president of Bang & Olufsen America in Arlington Heights, Ill., in a press statement. The new retail concept will mirror the company’s larger showroom models found around the world by using minimalist Scandinavian design and interactive displays. The new stores also include three home theater set-ups and

If That Employee Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy
December 1, 2006

Engaging Retail Employees “Employees fall into three categories: fully disengaged, fully committed, and ‘it’s just a job,’” says Herb Cohen, a national retail consultant who helped teach the “employee empowerment” section of the Ritz-Carlton customer service training program. He says that “80 percent are in the third category. The retailers who do a good job give those neutral employees a chance to have fun at work, have some pride in the products … if employees find value in their work, they’ll add value to the business.” Here are some general tips from Cohen on helping retail employees feel engaged: 1. Survey your employees. Find out

Welcome to Service
December 1, 2006

It is possible, providing you have an extra 35 grand, to book an overnight package called “You Can’t Buy Me Love … But You Can Try!” at the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, which includes a private chef, rivers of Champagne, a helicopter ride around Manhattan, a “bath butler” to prepare a jacuzzi-for-two, pillowcases monogrammed with your initials, and, as if you needed a nightcap at that point, a customized fireworks show right over the Statue of Liberty easily viewed from the bay window of your penthouse suite. “We don’t sell that package every night,” says Kevin Schiesz with a conspiratorial smile and a glance upward towards

Keeping In Touch
December 1, 2006

The cover story for this issue of Dealerscope takes a depature. Instead of profiling a CE retailer or other CE specific topic, our senior editor, Audrey Gray, visited the Ritz Carlton Company’s Leadership Center to find out why so many CEOs—including those of major retailers—were spending thousands of dollars to attend a week-long program on high-end service. Even more compelling than the service angle was how the Ritz-Carlton takes major strides to keep its own employees happy. Why? Because when you get down to it, hotel employees have some of the most thankless jobs on the planet. To paraphrase Diana Oreck, vice president of the

A New Format for B&O
November 27, 2006

As the big box retailers of the world bulk up their inventory and square footage, Denmark-based Bang & Olufsen is doing business a little differently. The high-end electronics supplier has started rolling out a svelte new retail expansion plan—650 sq. feet at a time. “Plans are underway for the first of the eight stores to open,” says Kim Gravesen, president of Bang & Olufsen America in Arlington Heights, Ill, in a press statement. The new retail concept will mirror the company’s larger showroom models found around the world by using minimalist Scandinavian design and interactive displays. The new stores also include three home theater

Retail Snapshot: Black Friday Pricing
November 27, 2006

Retail pricing on TV got very competitive on Black Friday, as seen here in this J&R promotion: IN STORE TV BLITZ! PRICES EFFECTIVE ALL DAY FRIDAY NOV.24th in the Park Row store only LIMIT ONE PER CUSTOMER WHILE SUPPLIES LAST Here are some examples; Westinghouse LVM-37w3 37-inch 1080 p HD LCD Monitor WAS $1,149.99 FRIDAY only $799.99 Hitachi 42HDS69 42-inch UltraVision Plasma HDTV REG $1,449 FRIDAY ONLY $1,299.99 Olevia 532H 32-inch LCD HDTV REG $749.00 FRIDAY ONLY $499.99 a savings of $250.00

Black Friday? How About Cyber Monday?
November 27, 2006

While shoppers may have lined up in droves on Black Friday for deals at stores like Best Buy and Target, others were lining up from the comfort of their own home on what is being called “Cyber Monday.” The National Retail Federation (NRF) is telling retailers to keep an eye on e-commerce this season. The group cited a Shop.org survey by BIGresearch, which indicated that 60.7 million consumers were estimated to shop online from home or at work today in what was expected to be one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. (Note: According to some sources the busiest day for

Tweeter Launches 4th and 5th “CE Playgrounds”
November 24, 2006

Tweeter has opened two new CE Playground stores in Houston, Texas and Wilmington, Del. They follow Tweeter’s first three concept stores in Las Vegas, Nev., Oak Brook, Ill. and Burlington, Mass. Those three stores have so far proved more productive than traditional Tweeter outlets in terms of margin, sales and in-home installations in their respective markets. Says Tweeter President and CEO Joe McGuire, “Our new business model is clearly resonating with consumers as we have provided an alternative to shopping for home and mobile entertainment products at the historically sterile big box retailers.” The stores feature interactive displays