Retailers creating customer experience

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

SHERMAN, TX -- As retailers try and bounce back from its lowest holiday season in nine years, one electronics store says its trying to do business differently. It’s become a trend nationwide.

The music is bouncing and the feet are propped up as customers try out products hassle free.

"We’re playing games, madden, the other game on the side," says Richard Barron, a Denison resident.

Barron and his friend, Rameal Taylor, are experiencing Sherman's Circuit City, what store officials call "The City.” It’s one of six stores of its kind in the nation.

"You actually get to touch it and say hey maybe I like the Playstation better than the 360 because of something maybe I like this camera better than that one and allows them to be more comfortable before they get home," says Allen Dennis, store director.

The first “City” concept store debuted in Virginia just months ago. All of the electronics are hooked up so a person can play some X-Box, compare TV’s all at their leisure. The cameras are hooked up to printers so customers can print photos and test them on the spot.

"It's something free to do, the relaxing chairs, playing video games it's like nothing better than that," Taylor says.

Taylor and Barron have been playing video games for more than an hour today. They say they try and get some gaming in at “The City” multiple times a week. Their behavior is something the staff encourages.

"There's no pressure to buy anything, no pressure, you can stay and sit on one of our stools in front of a game or watch a movie for 4 hours if you want," Dennis says.

Austin College business professor David Griffiths says small retailers are creating experience-driven stores to meet social needs and provide something 'big box' stores can't provide: community.

"Consumers are looking for a social experience because there's so much that goes on that's online and it takes away our opportunity to have face to face contact."

A group of guys congregate in what’s called the “bounce room,” for car stereos. The room is insulated so the bass can boom without disrupting other parts of the store.

"I like it because you can come and play with the stuff yourself and you don't have some person telling you what to do or not to do, you can do it yourself," says Jessie Fulenchek, a Pottsboro resident who enjoys car stereo equipment.

65 more ‘City’ concept stores are planned this year nationwide as store directors say this style is scoring profits as well.


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