To let shoppers experience their products in person, brands are opening brick-in-mortar stores in major shopping destinations, even as major retailers are closing stores across the country. Tivoli Audio, which is a 19-year-old global brand, opened a 500-square-foot store on Boston’s famed Newbury Street in a brownstone. Paul DePasquale, the company’s chief executive, told PYMNTS in an interview that the store was on the company’s “wish list.” He noted that the company has always felt that when the product is properly displayed in the right surrounding environment, “we can really help promote and expose people to the brand.”
At the same time, DePasquale said Tivoli has been fortunate to work with some retailers in certain parts of the world to create a “shop within a shop.” He said the company has found those to be “pretty rewarding” in terms of brand exposure and the impression on the consumer.
The setup, in essence, provides more attention and detail around the brand in a sea of many competitors in a shop. When an email announced there was a vacant space on Newbury Street, “it seemed like a great fit for a number of reasons,” DePasquale said. (For those who are not Bostonians, Newbury Street is a popular place for boutique and luxury shopping.)
The CEO said the amount of foot traffic is “crazy,” along with the number of international visitors who are familiar with the brand. The shop gives those customers a look at Tivoli’s home base, DePasquale said, as the company has always focused more on Europe. The store pays homage to Tivoli’s Boston roots and exposes the brand to existing customers along with (hopefully) new shoppers. Once the company saw the space, DePasquale said, it was a no-brainer.
The store has displays featuring the company’s new and classic products, from its wireless line to its portable products and custom radios. However, DePasquale noted it was also important to have a proper area to show some of Tivoli’s newer products, where shoppers can sit down and listen. And, even with the salesperson sitting in the store, DePasquale said they tried to create more of a “laid-back, design showroom feel” instead of a point-of-sale (POS) checkout experience.
Beyond its products, Tivoli also has a “museum” showing the custom, one-off collaboration items the brand has produced over the past 15+ years. It also plans to host guest speakers, artists’ showcases and networking events in the showroom space. But when consumers are ready to make a purchase, the company accepts credit cards as well as cash.
Moreover, with the company’s eCommerce business, it can order an item in the shop if it isn’t in stock or if a consumer doesn’t want to walk out with it. In some cases, a product might be too heavy, or a customer might buy two or three pieces. When it comes to cross-channel commerce, DePasquale noted customers often see something online, come to the store to check it out and then make a purchase.
The CEO noted that although consumers might be swayed by a flashy video or good ratings, a lot of that online presentation can be skewed. As a regular online customer, DePasquale pointed out that what one sees isn’t always one gets. With very nature of eCommerce, he said, it’s easy to make items look better or bigger than they actually are. Through the store, however, customers can come in and see products for themselves.
Tivoli makes audio products in a range of colors and woods. The company started in 2000, and its technology is now sold in more than 40 countries around the world.
With the help of brick-and-mortar retail, brands that have been around for years can continue to tell stories by giving customers the chance to experience their products in real life.