Pioneer to Open First Retail Store in the US
LONG BEACH, CA - June 28, 2006 - Pioneer today announced that the company's first retail store in the United States will open this August at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA. Consumers can customize the home theater of their dreams, relying on the expertise of Pioneer to select, design and install a system that provides an unbeatable high definition experience. In addition to offering Pioneer and Pioneer Elite products, the Pioneer company store also will serve as a testing ground for cutting-edge products currently only available in Japan and will support Pioneer's customer-focused business objective by giving the company direct access to consumer feedback that will impact and enhance future product development.
The Pioneer company store is at the center of Pioneer's customer-focused strategy that better aligns customer feedback with product planning and development. Pioneer's new retail channel allows for a two-way dialogue with consumers that will enhance future Pioneer products. Customer data will be obtained both anecdotally through Pioneer store associates, as well as through formal market research including focus groups and surveys with consumers, interior designers, architects and other home entertainment professionals. The results of this market data will be reported to product planners and engineers, enabling Pioneer to develop products that exceed consumer expectations.
Pioneer's retail space in the U.S. allows the company to test new technologies and unique products currently only available in Japan. Sales of these products at the Pioneer store will serve as a guide to other retailers to help them decide when and how to introduce these technologies to the U.S. market.
For example, at the Pioneer store exclusive products will include Pure Malt Speakers that are made from recycled whiskey barrels, home entertainment furniture with features such as built in speakers, various colored plasma frames that match different decors and small pick-up items including high quality speakers for use in the shower or bathtub.
"Product technology is evolving so quickly and commoditization of product happens faster than ever," said Craig McManis, vice president, Pioneer Stores (USA) Inc. "A company store allows us greater access to consumers for product testing and planning and supports Pioneer's plan to provide premium value added products to consumers who are entertainment connoisseurs."
Pioneer has one of the strongest sales channel distributions in the U.S. with more than 1,000 specialty retailers selling its Pioneer and Pioneer Elite products.
"We value the relationship with our retail partners and will continue to work closely with them to ensure their success. The hope is that this endeavor will give us a greater understanding of the challenges they face. At the same time, the information we gather from consumers will enable us to build even better products that will benefit our own store as well as our retail partners," said McManis.
"Pioneer selected South Coast Plaza as the location for its first U.S. retail store because our clientele expect a level of service only a company with a premium brand position like Pioneer can deliver," said Debra Gunn Downing, executive director, marketing, South Coast Plaza. "South Coast Plaza reaches an exclusive demographic of upscale shoppers who spent $1.4 billion at the shopping center last year. We have the highest sales per square foot and have launched more 'first time' company stores of any shopping center in the country."
Pioneer's brand position aligns with the South Coast Plaza demographic and this retail store is the ideal place to showcase the innovative qualities of the premium Pioneer brand with a level of customer service that exceeds anything available in the market today. With direct access to product planners and engineers, Pioneer store employees will be extremely knowledgeable about the company's products and technologies.
Store personnel will be trained in a similar fashion as Pioneer's corporate staff so they will have the product knowledge to assist the home theater purist who truly wants to learn about the products they will purchase. For entertainment connoisseurs who know the end result they want to achieve from a home theater system, but don't necessarily care about the technology that makes it happen, the Pioneer store will also offer carefully designed product packages based on the company's experience and training on the components that are designed to work best together.
Pioneer store customers will be able to see and hear these packaged systems in action through various vignettes throughout the 3,200 square foot store. The vignettes are designed to help consumers make easy selections based on the size of the room where the system will be placed and the primary use for the system, whether they're looking for a basic home theater package that will be used for general TV viewing or the ultimate home entertainment experience for heavy sports or movie watching.
A similar store was launched in the Meguro district of Tokyo in 2006 and information sharing between the Tokyo and Orange county store locations will provide direction for Pioneer's future store development.
About Pioneer Electronics (USA)
Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. is headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., and its U.S. Web address is www.pioneerelectronics.com. Its parent company, Pioneer Corporation, is a leader in optical disc technology and a preeminent manufacturer of high-performance audio, video and computer equipment for the home, car and business markets. The company focuses on four core business domains including Blu-ray Disc and DVD, display technologies, navigation and Digital Network Entertainment™.