US sound Company Sonos, has moved to sell direct in Australia in a move that has several of their retail partners “concerned”.
The Company claims, that it’s all about “education” and giving their customers the choice of buying directly from Sonos who recently rolled out a multimillion dollar billboard advertising campaign in Australia.
Retailers claim that it is the start of a move by manufacturers to sell direct, which when coupled with the arrival of Amazon who this morning sent out an EDM to Australian customers for the full range of Sonos products excluding their recently launched Playbase, is of concern, with retailers claiming it “is them” that have built the brand in Australia.
Sonos retailers that ChannelNews spoke to said that they are concerned that the move will strip sales from them especially as they are setting up to do battle with Amazon.They claim thay buyers “need to hear the Sonos system” before buying.
“It may only be 2-3% of Sonos sales that are going direct but if all our suppliers start selling direct this could add up to the loss of a large chunk of revenue” said one Harvey Norman franchisee.
According to the recently appointed CEO of Sonos Australia Rennie Addabbo, Sonos is “looking to work closer with retailers” and that he believes that the move will assist retailers with consumers who want to see and hear the product being able to visit a retail store”.
He said that he is keen to work with select retailers to set up Sonos listening rooms.
Recently Sonos launched their new Playbase, sound system a category that has in the past struggled due to poor marketing by distributors trying to sell a similar sound system.
Now retailers selling the new Soundbase, are on backorder, after an extensive PR and marketing campaign by Sonos coupled with a move by TV manufacturers to deliver a new style of mount system that resulted in traditional soundbars blocking the RF signal for the TV controller.
The Sonos Soundbase eliminates this problem.
Recently Sonos appointed Mark King the former ANZ Sales Manager for Bose.
According to Addabbo the Sonos software which in the past has been praised by both SmartHouse and several Hi Fi reviewers, worldwide, coupled with Sonos audio engineering, has resulted in consumers flocking to the brand which at several retailers in Australia has been their top selling networked audio product.
In a statement issued to ChannelNews Sonos said that they will deliver:
• End-to-end support from its Australian Customer Experience team;
• Fast, secure and free shipping to anywhere in Australia though TNT Express;
• 100-day Money Back Guarantee on any of our products.
They claimed that Sonos already delivers “a great experience for its customers globally through e-commerce and direct sales”.
They said that Sonos recognises that while for many customers buying online will never replace the opportunity of being able to trial and test a product in store, online retail is growing in popularity.
“As Sonos gains consumer insights from this online channel, it has committed to sharing these learnings with its existing partners to further improve the overall Sonos customer’s journey. This presents an opportunity for retailers to work with Sonos to capitalise on its dedicated customer experience support, product offers and best-in-class audio trial experiences”.