Do You Fancy The Idea Of A JB Hi-Fi Concept Store?

We all know what a JB Hi-Fi store looks like: lots of product, lots of yellow, lots of discount price tags everywhere you go, and a fair chance you'll get a couple of free DVDs thrown in when you buy a television. But a new concept store opening in Sydney later this month will turn that whole approach on its head.

AustralianIT reports that a new JB store opening in the city centre Westfield mall on April 21 will see technologies sorted by brand rather than by type, effectively creating a series of mini-stores within the overall outlet. It also won't stock DVDs, CDs or games.

If this works well, it could really be impressive: somewhere you can compare serious-brand electronics while not paying premium retailer prices. On the other hand, JB's existing approach has served it pretty well. Does this sound like a good direction for it to go in? Picture by Alpha

[Australian IT]

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    So as well as the little Apple section, they'll also have little Sony sections, little Samsung sections etc?

    I guess it's taking brand loyalty to the extreme, but I don't really see the point of it.

    So, this will be the 4th JB on Pitt st?

    How's this different to a normal JB store?

    "lots of product, lots of yellow, lots of discount price tags everywhere you go"

    Isn't that how they already are?

      you didnt read the article, did you.

        Well, sort of, but apart from reordering everything and selling less, it's much the same.

          Still didn't read it, hey.

    Hmmm, just what we need. Another Harvey Norman store. If things are siloed into brands, how can we objectively decide what we like best. On a side note, I wonder if this means that we will basically see a JB hifi with two sides, an Apple store and a Sony store.

    I really hope that JB doesn't go down this route since it will mean the end of everything that JB stood for when it was founded.

    I guess they don't like to support those who made the store great (alternative genres not popular trend). Personally I feel JB has become a little like a Borders, It has everything you don't want and nothing you do want.

    Farewell JB Hifi, it has been nice shopping and browsing, but you have pandered to far from the roots that made you great. I hope in a few years you look back and realise the mistakes you have made.


      I agree 100% that it's not the best way to go about actually selling electronics, because comparing a Sony TV with a Samsung TV is much easier when they're side by side. But it's not as though JB is going to change all of its stores to be like this. It's a concept store and I doubt JB expects to make a lot of money from it.

      I'm curious though: what is JB missing now that it had before it was floated? AFAIK you can still order vinyl and typically the staff working in music are bass players or somesuch...

        I agree that you still can, however they are now "Special Items" they don't keep on hand because they are getting to excited stocking the latest 40 hits.

        I'm probably a little older than you guys and have been a regular JB customer for the last 15 years or so, but I remember when JB wasn't just around the corner. Sadly the varity that once was readily available is no longer there. Not just talking music, I'm talking speakers, hifi, music, videos, vinyl, and guys who loved the whole home entertainment experience.

        While I agree that they service a bigger market than they once did and have become the defaco choice for mens christmas vouchers, it's a little sad to see what has happened.

          I see where you're coming from and I definitely agree: it's not really a "Hi-Fi" store anymore. I've observed that the Hi-Fi stereo/home theatre/DJ/Vinyl section/selection has been slowly shrinking and fading into insignificance over time as more store space is given to media, TVs and other consumer electronics.

          Maybe this concept store will include a showcase of the true hi-fi setup that JB can provide for its customers?

      Ummm you realise it is only a cosmetic change and that their trade practises and store polices are not changing nor are there prices. I fail to what you're worried about?

        I understand you point, however I seen subtle changes over the last 15 years that has turned a what was seen as a store with a reputation for great service, knowledgable staff and stockists of rare music into nothing more than an Amazon with a storefront and reduced stock listing.

        Maybe I'm getting a little old, but it was nice when they provided the JB of old, rather than some dude in Uni with no knowledge of the products they sell.

          Consolidation of Music / DVD's / Games departments into one "Software department" hasn't helped the overall level of customer service. (ex employee)

    While the decor and presentation of a JB store does contribute to its character, in the end it's really the staff that make JB the place to shop for consumer electronics.

    This store will work or fail based on the staff. The "mini-store" concept is not new: JB's advantage has always been that they hire nerds who love the tech, usually more than they love making money.

    Looking forward to seeing how this works out. Will definitely stop by when it opens.

      I've seen nerds working there, but they don't know much about tech. I go to JB hi-fi for price, not expertise. JBs is now just a big chain like the rest. When I want expertise I go to a specialist Hi-Fi shop or turn to the net.

        Fair enough - I'm the same these days, and haven't bought any tech for a while TBH. So maybe my impression is outdated...

    If I go to a bricks and morter store I go in to buy an item, lets say car speakers. I want to see all the car speakers in one spot not in five different stores in the same shop. I wonder if each manufacturer will be paying for the staff in their "sub-store" least you might get some service and advice that way.

    This could work. You do get the types of customers who are very loyal to certain brands based on their past experience with them and refuse to buy anything else. Then there are customers who are of a certain mindset that some products work better together if they are of the same brand. It would be more appealing for those types of people if they are presented with a 'complete package' right before their eyes.

    I like being able to compare different products by different companies next to each other, eg. comparing the picture quality of a Samsung TV to a Panasonic TV showing the same image side by side. Mini-shop sections won't allow this easy comparison.

    I'm not so keen on the idea of not being able to compare products side by side, or what will happen to players who don't want/can't afford the floor space.

    Alternatively, if each section is staffed, there is more likely to be discounting if they want commissions instead of the person in a different section.

    I agree with all of the product/brand comparison points, but one thing that is often overlooked is that brands in multiple different areas (Sony is probably the best example of this) actually do design their products to work better with one another.
    This is rarely demonstrated outside the realm of brand-centric feature stores - what this store represents is the chance to compare the "Sony world" with the "Samsung world" and the "LG world" or the "Apple world" etc. etc.
    I wonder... maybe JB needed a kind of training facility for its staff and then figured it may as well turn it into a shop. Any publicity is good publicity! :--D

      This is the main point I like about this concept. I recently bought a Sony TV and PS3 and turns out that I can use the TV's remote for basic PS3 operations. I also read that other Sony products are integrated into the same system. So I've been try to setup a hifi system bit by bit using Sony product, that way I can keep as much of the system integrated as possible. Also reducing extra remote controls.

      But most importantly... When looking for phone accessories, I'm not interested to see the mountain of similar apple accessories when I have an android.

    Nah Id much prefer to see all the tv's or camera's or whatever grouped together to better pick the best features for price. Im no brand whore, just won't buy sony... ;)

    Brand loyalty has in my experience resulted in an excellent 'X' and a woefull 'Y'. I can see favorable deals and sales tactics resulting in a lot more woeful 'Ys' and a few useless 'Zs' in our future.

    I'll bet that the manufacturers are loving the idea. I can't see how it is in the consumer's best interest tho.

    I like the "cheap" feeling of the fitout at JB.

    If it turns into some fibreglass monstrocity like WOW sight and sound I'd quickly shop elsewhere.

    I also don't think I'd bother going into a JB that didn't sell blurays and cd's very frequently either. Why would you unless you were currently requiring a big ticket item?

    working in electronics, a lot of people now shop by price and not by brand, if you make it harder to compare one tv against the other by putting it in its own section, well people may just move on.

    jb youve done it again (sic)!

    This is TOTALLY baseless and pure speculation on my part, but the Pitt St Westfield looks like it has pretty darn high standards for retailers in terms of storefront and internal fittings. You won't see a regular old Best & Less or Aldi there.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the usual JB "warehouse" design wasn't accepted by the centre and they're adopting this "one off concept" store solely to set up residence.

      This is exactly what's going on, I don't know why people are bitching about it. When Nintendo opened their 'boutique' set-up in Myer City, it didn't stop all the other retailers doing business.

      Dell kiosks are just places you can try before you buy. This is just an adjunct to the regular JB experience so I don't understand the melodramatic shit like this from people like Stewart Walker.

      "Farewell JB Hifi, it has been nice shopping and browsing, but you have pandered to far from the roots that made you great. I hope in a few years you look back and realise the mistakes you have made."

    Loving the debate. It would be a shame to see the best retailer in the country go in the way of just becoming a better version of a Dick Smith... captures it well

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