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Sony offers Genius Bar-like services at retail

updated 06:20 pm EDT, Fri June 22, 2007

Sony follows Apple retail

Trying to follow the enormous success of Apple's retail stores, Sony is taking a page from Apple's playbook. The electronics manufacturer, is adding a Genius Bar-like areas to its retail stores, according to a new report. Sony Style retail stores are installing "backstage" counters in their stores to provide computer-only services that include one-on-one training sessions, system optimization, hardware and software diagnostics, new software installation and data migration, according to ifoAppleStore. The company, whchi rolling out the services at all of its 55 retail stores, hopes the new customer-centric section will help bolster its struggling retail division. Retail consultants earlier this month said that Sony could learn from Apple's success and its Genius Bars, which have been the cornerstone of Apple's success.

Sony, the consultants said, is struggling to attract visitors: "Sony doesn't get retail. The [Sony] stores are not energized and not shop-able. ifoAppleStore says that Sony stores are a showcase, and to a lesser degree a sales point, for their electronics products, including TVs, digital cameras, camcorders, mp3 players and video titles.

Photo Credit to ifoAppleStore

The electronics giant has struggled to play catch up with Apple's iPod and most recently, rumors of the demise of its Sony Connect online music service have begun to surface. Earlier this month, iTunes replaced Sony Connect as the default music service of Yahoo Japan.

by MacNN Staff




  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Genius bar blues...

    ...I personally find the whole sign up & wait in cue extremely annoying, unprofessional, juvenile & manipulative - my last trip to the genius bar was a result of a call which could have simply been solved by providing advice over the phone...

    It eems mostly a sales tactic to get people into the stores & make them wait so they will possibly browse & buy something...

    Exactly how does this serve the customer?

  1. tiger

    Joined: Dec 1969


    sony stores a joke

    I was in the Beverly Hills Mall the other day and the Apple Store was only a short distance away from the Sony Style Store, and boy was that a joke. The Apple Store was filled up, literally it was a weekend so the store looked like it was about to burst. The Sony Style store on the other hand had a dark theme to it, similar to that of Vista with low lights and dark colors with only about 4 visitors inside, most of them walking out in the first few minutes.

  1. ff11

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Only thing is

    Sonly will pay to man a Genius bar to teach people how to optimize their systems to have those people go home and use that information on a cheapo Dell.

    Not a problem Apple has to deal with.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    oh so lonely..with your soo-ny and ur winshit craaaap.

  1. jogdish

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Genius Bar is great

    Bobolicious, my experience with the Genius Bar has been great. Whenever my iPod earphones start losing their sound I go in and trade them for a new pair...even got a free upgrade to the new headphones when the came out. They also helped me to diagnose my 5 year old G4 tower when it was acting up. As far as waiting goes, if you sign up via the internet prior to your visit you only end up waiting about 15 minutes or so.

  1. Elektrix

    Joined: Dec 1969


    genius bar

    As far as the waiting goes, I don't see how it's "juvenile". The reason they have to have a system of signing up for a slot is precisely because it is so popular and in demand. I've never been there when there wasn't a group of people waiting for a slot to fill up; it's not like they're manipulating it just to make you wait for the h*** of it. If they didn't have some sort of system like that, people would get even more upset and frustrated having to wait in line without even having an assigned time. The fact that you can sign up for a slot online so you know what time you're supposed to have your appointment is pretty nice, I think.

  1. Elektrix

    Joined: Dec 1969


    sonystyle stores

    I am definitely dubious of this. There are two malls near me with SonyStyle stores (in Tysons Corner Mall and Pentagon City Mall in Virginia), and they are like the exact opposite of what Apple Stores are. In the Apple Store, everything is bright and you feel encouraged to try out the computers on display, etc. At the Sony store, even though they do have their computers on display as well, they aren't set up really to encourage you to use them...... usually they have one laptop out on a pedastal, looking more like a showpiece. Then they have a row on the side, which you can sort of use, but not comfortably. They have a handful of computers and laptops set up on the other side with chairs so it's at least sort of encouraging to use, but that's it. The people working the Sony store generally are very unfriendly AND also seem to know very little about the computer products (they do better with the consumer electronics, TV's, etc.). Just atmosphere-wise, it's like they've completely missed the mark.

    As much as Apple gets criticized for being elitist, etc. I think they do a good job of making their stores friendly and inviting. The vibe I get from the SonyStyle stores is that they think the stuff they are selling is WAY too good for any of the riff-raff that wander into their stores.

  1. localnet

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What's the PROBLEM?

    I bought my wife a Macbook last August. The hard drive failed this past Friday night. I made an appointment via the internet for 2:45 pm at the Novi MI Apple store.

    At 3:13 pm we were leaving with a fully operational Macbook.

    They installed a new hard drive and loaded up OSX for us.

    What reason would I have to b**** about service like that?

  1. sessamoid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sony Style

    My impression of the Sony Style stores is that they're very poorly designed. There's no clear unifying design ethic to what the store is trying to accomplish. When I walk in one, I can't tell if it's a showplace, a retail outlet, or what. The sections seem to be laid out haphazardly.

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mixed results

    I have found the genius bar to be a mixed blessing. In NJ (Sagemore) I have found the quality of geniuses to be less than stellar (for example, did not know what Darwin was, Did not know how to reset power managment...etc).

    Also, I love my macbook pro (17" gem) but had small issues with blotches. Apple was wonderful and amiable about it both times I took it in. However, I had to make four appointments to get this thing fixed:

    1) first one to agree that there was a problem (which was the same as the last one)

    2) to get the paperwork

    3) to drop it off

    4) to pick it up and review.

    I thougth it a bit much, and I understand that not all stores follow the drop off and pickup schedule. Problem is, you might not be able to get your computer for a couple of days since the only available times are during the day when I work.

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