updated 11:20 am EDT, Sun March 14, 2010
Sony Store Nagoya has Genius Bar clone
As promised, Sony on Saturday launched its first flagship retail store. The two-storey Sony Store Nagoya showcases most of Sony's home lineup and is built to emulate the success Apple has had with stores like its Ginza location. Besides bright, open areas, it includes a designer (though not glass) staircase and even a Genius Bar-style service, nicknamed backStage, for getting technical support and training.
The first floor is said to be the most familiar and focuses on mobile devices like notebooks, cameras and Walkman players, all of which are shown working together. Sony's second floor focuses on 3D TVs and other home theater equipment in addition to hosting the backStage service. Each floor has Stylists who, like Apple Specialists, can inform customers in addition to helping them with their purchases.
Other flagship Sony Stores are expected in the future but didn't get a launch schedule in the wake of the Nagoya opening. Unlike Microsoft's two largely marketing-driven US stores to date, however, Sony expects to drive sales through its stores. Sony marketing president Shin Kurita has noted that, while the company's internal sales goals are private, he expects flagships to help bring more sales to Sony overall both through the actual flagship and through brand awareness in the area.
Retail locations have only been a partial factor, but Sony in recent years has been hurt by Apple's presence in Japan as the American company upset a once secure lead in certain areas, such as portable media players. Sony has had retail stores for years but until recently had average-sized locations and little to no after-sale support. [story and photos via Impress]