Keeping up in the retail business is tricky. As social media erupts, the marketplace is changing and retailers need to stay on top of cutting-edge techniques to reach consumers.
“We’re proud of having one of the few brands that people tattoo on their skin,” joked Jack Tretton, CEO of Sony PlayStation.
Tretton was among the participants at the 17th annual Global Retailing Conference April 11 and 12 put on by the University of Arizona’s Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing. It took place at Loews Ventana Canyon.
Sony PlayStation is best known for its namesake gaming system, but the systems also run content from Hulu and Netflix which has helped pioneer the streaming movement. PlayStation has more than 110 million online accounts and reaches 1 billion consumers worldwide, according to Tretton. But that success has come through significantly altering their retail strategies over the years.
“In electronics especially, we can’t draw people to retail anymore with our products locked behind glass doors, hoping an associate three aisles over helps you out,” Tretton said. “People learn about products online now, and come in with expectations.”
He mentioned successful maneuvers by Sony PlayStation to reach consumers, including Facebook. He said it has “a tremendous reach” to their 31 million fans but companies can be overzealous online posting constantly. People get annoyed by what they see as spamming and will leave a page if a company posts too much. Sony PlayStation posts once a day, with “relevant news,” he said.
The company also creates a strong retailing force through seminars, both in person and online. Tretton said that 30,000 people have been trained to learn about Sony PlayStation products and the brand, and more retailers can reach more customers.
Tretton also emphasized the merits of not stereotyping a consumer. He was asked how Sony PlayStation attracts women to its gaming system that seemingly would attract a male-dominated demographic.
“Be immersive and detailed in your retail, and you will reach more demographics,” he said, noting that Sony PlayStation’s fan base is more diverse than just young men.
In line with the immersion concept, Tretton emphasized that PlayStation systems are no longer just for gaming – they are used for streaming TV content as well and are thus engaging consoles with multiple services. That has significantly helped the company, though it can come at the expense of other sectors of the industry.
“I can see people potentially cutting cable,” he said. “Streaming is a threat to other companies but fortunate for us.”