Sound Advice “Model” Car Audio Shop Opens

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Sound Advice, Ft. Lauderdale, FL., opened the doors on its car stereo department, with plans to become a cutting edge ‘model shop’ for car electronics retailing.

JL Audio Stealthbox displayRun by former senior VP merchandising for Car Toys, Dan Jeancola, the department is offering some unique installation practices and implementing test trials for suppliers that may lead to shifts in car stereo merchandising.

First, Sound Advice  is testing a new merchandising display for JL Audio Stealthboxes (custom woofer enclosures for individual cars). The display shows pieces of the Stealthbox installed in a car. These are not active displays, but they show the speaker in a real life setting so the customer gets a visual image.

“These are larger ticket items that are tough to communicate to the customer. They are form fitted to each vehicle, so it’s not something you put on a regular car audio display,” said Jeancola.

Another unusual store practice will be to allow consumers to enter the install bay to watch his install and ask questions.

New Sound Advice car audio deptWhere most stores try to keep customers out of the bay, Sound Advice wants to get the customer involved.

“They’ll see us pop panels…we really feel that if they see how this stuff goes in and see what they bought and how it integrates and what else can be done, it gives us an opportunity for add-on sales,” said Jeancola.

The installer can recommend sound deadening mats, or an upgrade from coax speakers to components. It also gives the store another chance to sell Bluetooth kits or an HD Radio upgrade.

The shop will also test trial some store-within-a-store concepts to be announced later.

A new configurator will go up on the web site within 10 days that will show customers not only which decks and speakers work with his car, but also which smartphones and iPod kits work with his system.

Jeancola explains the new approach; “We went to all the vendors and said, ‘If we keep doing the same things, we’ll get the same results.’ So we let the vendors test some things in the stores. If they work well here, and we can prove there were added sales, they will be made available to other retailers.”

The store, which also sells home theater, has the capacity to handle six car installations at a time. Sound Advice hopes to expand to 10 stores in the next four years.

Sound Advice was once a leading 35-store chain. It was sold by CEO Peter Beshouri around 2001 to Tweeter, which entered bankruptcy starting 5 years later. Beshouri re-opened a single Sound Advice store this February and was reunited with Dan Jeancola, who originally ran the car audio departments for Sound Advice.

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. For the most part I like this concept. The only problem I see is with the customers in the install bay. While I understand what is trying to be accomplished with this, I don’t see the installers getting jobs out as fast if they are constantly answering questions from the customer. Also how are they going to handle it if damage happens to the car while the customer is standing there? I’m sure there is information about this not being told in the story. Does the customer have an area they stand in or are they allowed to be right over the installer’s shoulder? The rest of the concept looks great though and I’m curious to see if anything comes out of it from the manufactures. The stealth box display is great as this is a hard sell. We actually have an old stealth box here and two different vehicles on hand with stealth boxes installed just for the reason that they can be a hard sell due to not having something for the customer to feel and hear.

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