Bing Lee, a giant in whitegoods and audio-visual products, has grabbed the convergence bull by the horns.
Bing Lee opened its first convergence concept store in Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall in September 2003.
The retailer has attempted to represent most of the stock range that a consumer would find in a traditional Bing Lee store, but commits most of the floor-space to convergent technologies.
“When we first started this store, we maintained a small range of our whitegoods on display,” merchandise manager for AV and computers at Bing Lee, Phil Moujaes, said. “But this has not been as successful as the Audio-Visual and IT area of our business. Whitegoods just aren’t cash and carry products so we will be reducing the [whitegood stock] we hold there.”
The store’s walls are adorned with large plasma and LCD screens, and its floors feature interactive displays that highlight connectivity between various home products as well as hands-on displays for consumers to experience the technology for themselves.
“The store is built to suit the demographics of the CBD,” Moujaes said. “In the city there are two types of customers. There is the tech-savvy customer who works in the city. They have generally done their research on the Internet or in magazines and they already have a fair idea of what they want to buy.
“What they are looking for is a hands-on display and staff that have some expertise. The other kind of customer is small families that are moving closer to the city and into a smaller house — who tend to have a fair bit of disposable income.”
Moujaes highlights digital TV and connectivity as the drivers behind converging technologies.
“There is no doubt about it, the pace of change in our industry is fast,” he said. “New products are coming out with connectivity features that enable them to be linked with other products around the home. We are showcasing that connectivity to encourage people to consider additional products with each purchase — which leads to more sales.”
Bing Lee has no plans to open similar concept stores outside of CBD areas.