June 13, 2008
| by Arlen Schweiger
“Try Me,” announces most of the product demonstrations at the new Tweeter concept store in Dedham, MA. OK, sounds good to me—after all, that’s what experiencing electronics is all about, right?
Indeed. Demonstrations—and within those, self-guided demonstrations you can do without any intimidating sales presence—really allow customers to see the difference between TV sets and loudspeakers, or even figure out what the heck home control is if they’ve never seen it in action.
Tweeter, whose recent struggles include filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year ago, has done some restructuring since being acquired by Schultze Asset Management and getting a new CEO and president—George Granoff—also in 2007. The company had introduced its concept store, with experience nooks, in recent years in Burlington, MA, Las Vegas and outside of Chicago. The one in Dedham, near company headquarters in Canton, MA, adds the “Try Me” buttons and bulletproof demos—you shouldn’t see any flummoxed Tweeter salespeople here.
I got to take a tour of the Dedham store this week, and after seeing it I hope Tweeter is able to roll it out to more stores. The “Try Me” button is a great addition and nice differentiator to other specialty retailers. It’s always good to have a knowledgeable salesperson show you products, but the extra “Try Me” option is welcomed educational and personable class.
On my tour of the newly re-designed Tweeter, I found the biggest benefit of the one-button learning came in “The Video Challenge” room. There’s a bank of information and buttons (see pic) with buttons to press for resolution, color, contrast, sports, nature and “flat-panel done right” that corresponds to the three LCDs and four plasmas in the room—including the Pioneer Kuro as the showcase display.
Pressing the resolution button, for example, gave me a recorded voice that told me what to look for in video clips of cars passing on the screen. With the clip on all screens in the room, I was told to pay attention to the license plates - surely enough, you could see the differences in clarity and smoothness on the different TVs. For customers who are bombarded by specs, this was a real-word example of how TVs differ in some areas.
Of course, the tour also features a rockin’ home theater that highlights Tweeter’s whole A/V, control, design and construction solution package, which was also a definite high point of the tour.
Nothing quite helps consumer education of electronics like the art of the demo. This Tweeter store gets that, and gets it right. What stores give you the best demos—tell us in comments below!
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.