VMSD - November 2011 - (Page 36)

SPOTLIGHT SECTOR By Steve Kaufman, Editor at Large The desire to be plugged into the newest technology is driving the world of consumer electronics, from need to aspiration. Consumer electronics retailing is taking on yet another look. Over the past 20 years, sellers of TVs, computers, phones and various other household products have gone from industrial stack-em-highand-watch-em-fly gondola presentations to soothing, inviting lifestyle presentations to electronic playgrounds of interactivity. Not surprisingly, the biggest single driver of this shift has been Apple. “Apple shifted the mindset of owning consumer electronics,” says Michael Bodziner, principal at Gensler (San Francisco), “from the practical consideration of ‘iNeed’ to the aspirational consideration of ‘iWant.’ ” Product introductions are rapid and consumers flock to those innovations like moths to an LED display. According to PCWorld.com, the Apple iPad tablet, introduced in spring 2010, was the most quickly adopted electronic device ever. In the process, Apple has also changed the way the merchandise is sold. “Apple brought a fashion merchandising sensibility to its stores,” says Bodziner. “The company spent a lot of time developing the look and feel, color and shape, of its merchandise. And it presents them the same way Nei36 NOVEMBER 2011 | vmsd.com iWant man Marcus presents cashmere sweaters – visual excitement and story-telling, with the focus on the product.” The lesson has not been lost on the big boxes that fill their stores with a wide range of merchandise, from digital flatscreens, computers and mobile devices to the endless rows of accessories: headphones, batteries, computer games, movies, remote control devices, 3-D glasses. Best Buy, the industry leader (if, for no other reason, by virtue of being the last man standing), has tried to walk the tightrope between sleek, high-tech design and simplified messages, replacing its former sea of fixtures with open aisles and overhead signage that directs shoppers to specific product areas. A broad runway leads shoppers’ feet and eyes to a back wall full of big flatscreen TVs. The retailer’s previous design was highlighted by a latest-and-greatest feature in the middle of the store, the central architectural element. But shoppers had to wade through heavily merchandised aisles stuffed with commodities and accessories. “The average person struggles to understand how all these products act and interact,” Bodziner says. http://www.PCWorld.com http://www.vmsd.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - November 2011

VMSD - November 2011
Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
The Goods
A Peak Experience
21st Century Facelift
New York’s Fifth Dimension
Looking Sharp
iWant
Preview
Showroom
Showroom
Ad Index
Checking Out

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