Mr. Michael Tien views the evolution of sound and theater systems as a journey with its own challenges and rewards. The Executive Chairman of Atlas Sound & Vision, a leading retailer of home entertainment systems in Singapore, has even worked out three major shifts in retail. The first was focused on the product, which he called Retail 1.0. This was followed by the customer-centric Retail 2.0, and finally, the experience-centric Retail 3.0. “Currently,” he points out, “our business is focused on delivering an omni-channel experience to the customers.”
These evolutionary stages have required an amount of nimbleness and responsiveness from Atlas. Most recently, it has resulted in much smaller showrooms that communicate the brands and their USPs. No longer are they the display hubs packed with full product ranges ready for immediate pickup. As customers obtain information about audio-visual entertainment systems from several sources, the retailer’s job has moved towards providing an experience of the product.
“What customers get from the showrooms today is brand recall, and that doesn’t require a lot of space. We have products that they can interact with, but for a fuller experience of complex entertainment systems, we welcome them to our experience center.” He is referring to purpose-built labs at the Atlas headquarter at Leong Huat Building on Harper Road.
Atlas has come a long way from a record library when it started out in 1963 to becoming a retailer of sound systems. It has seen transistor radios giving way to turntables and records, only to be replaced by 8-tracks and cassettes, CDs and DVDs, and finally, digital format. Today, Atlas represents well-known brands including Bose, Loewe, and Devialet.
Home entertainment products are now powerful platforms for streaming, Mr. Tien points out. “Customers get their music from Apple or Spotify, and their films from Netflix. This is reflected in the type of products that are available.” Products, for example, highlight connectivity and portability.
Besides delivering the equipment, Atlas also emphasizes the provision of after-sales service, such as installation and calibration. Mr. Tien foresees Atlas focusing on the “entire service flow – from the time the customer steps into our store to the time he needs a system upgrade or a full replacement”.