At its annual key dealer event in Scotland in February 2010, Sony announced a new direction for its market strategy. The company has decided to stop chasing market share and intends to ensure that Sony products are sold only through retail channels which add value to them and are able to give customers a good shopping experience.
Andy Benson, commercial director of Sony UK, said: “From now onwards we are going to be a profit-focused business. We accept that we may lose some market share as a result of this but we will not be wasting money chasing it.”
Having conducted a programme of mystery shopping visits across retail outlets selling Sony products, the manufacturer concluded that the customer experience in some retail channels is unacceptably poor. Andy Benson commented: “We want retail staff to add value to our brand and not to be brand detractors. Therefore we said to our retailers if you cannot do this we would rather you don’t bother with our products.”
As a result Sony UK has introduced a new approach to its retail channels.
It consists of Selective Distribution Strategy in relation to its high-end products and Retail Activation Support which will assist retailers in demonstrating Sony’s products and communicating their unique features and benefits.
Steve Dowdle, managing director of Sony UK, explained: “We want to help our customers but we also wish to raise the bar in this respect for the rest of the industry.”
The company plans to develop tailored propositions for its different distribution channels. This may mean that some retailers will be asked to sell only lower range products.
Andy Benson confirmed that Sony will continue mystery shopping all its retailers and the ones who achieve high scores for providing high quality customer experience will be rewarded with rebates on their purchases.