Sony Australia has opened a retail kiosk in Parramatta’s Westfield Shopping Centre, ‘designed to provide shoppers with an interactive Sony brand experience that lets them get hands-on with Sony’s newest and most innovative products.’
In the press release to announce the initiative, Sony Australia states that the kiosks will have a ‘strong halo effect for the company’s retail channel partners’.
‘By providing an accessible and engaging environment in a high-traffic location, we expect shoppers to become more educated about Sony’s unique technology and lifestyle solutions,’ said Jeremy Senior, general manager, Sales, Sony Australia.
‘This can only have a positive effect on our channel partners.’
However, Tom Saade, whose Camera House store is also located at Parramatta Westfield, told Photo Counter he wasn’t convinced the effect of the kiosk will be as saintly as Sony describes it.
He reserved further comment until meeting with Sony management on the issue, but noted that there had been no briefing from the supplier prior to the kiosk going in.
“We support Sony big-time here,’ he said, adding that Tom Saade Camera House was an Alpha specialist.
The Sony kiosk will be staffed by ‘passionate specialists’ and the role of the kiosk, says Sony Australia, is to ‘educate shoppers about Sony’s hero products across all categories, with a specific focus on PCs, digital imaging and smartphones.’
Additionally, the in-store specialists will demonstrate Sony’s current technology
innovations and differentiators and how they can benefit the shopper – for example, NFC-enabled (Near Field Communications) devices across Sony’s entire range of products.
‘Sony Kiosks are a key part of our retail strategy. Designed to deliver an engaging Sony brand experience, the Parramatta Westfield kiosk will focus on educating consumers about our latest range of Sony products and the technological innovations that can enhance their daily lives.’
Sony said that although the kiosk will sell products, it is primarily designed ‘to showcase products in a different way to traditional retailers.’
Mr Senior elaborated on the kiosk strategy: ‘Kiosks provide consumers with the opportunity to get hands-on with our product in a high traffic area. It also enables us to display product categories next to each other, which isn’t always possible in our retail partners, who may or may not range all of our product line-up or may have store formats that don’t allow us to put all of our mobile phones next to our PCs or TVs.’
At time of launch, the camera range in the kiosk consisted of around half a dozen camera models, with no lenses or accessories on display.
This is Sony’s second Sydney shopping mall kiosk, with the first established in Westfield Chatswood 18 months ago. In March Sony closed its ‘Sony Centre’ World Square (Sydney CBD) and Drummoyne stores, reportedly following several years of poor performance.