Dyson tight lipped on Australian store opening

DysonDyson Australia is tight lipped on whether the vacuum cleaner brand plans to open a store in Australia.

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Following the opening of the brand’s first dedicated retail space in Britain – dubbed Dyson Demo – in London last week, a spokesperson for the Dyson Australia said the local office was unable to comment on the likelihood of opening a Dyson Demo store down under.

The manufacturer is pursuing a strategy of opening flagship stores well staffed with product experts, similar to Apple or Nespresso.

Dyson opened its maiden flagship demo store in Tokyo in 2015, followed by a second Asia store in Jakarta earlier this year.

Announcing the opening of the UK store last week, Max Conze, CEO, said Dyson is “restless to create more demo spaces around the world.”

Located on London’s Oxford Street directly opposite Selfridges, the Dyson Demo is designed to encourage shoppers to pick-up, test and experience Dyson products.

“We are in the business of making technology that works in fundamentally different ways,” said Conze. “It is best understood when experienced and explained in a Dyson environment by Dyson experts.”

The store design is geared towards trialling the products; there are 64 different dust samples and four floor types to put the vacuum cleaners through their paces and the second storey features hairstyling stations to test Dyson’s new $700 hairdryer.

The store fitout also features Dyson lighting products and the shop’s air is treated by Dyson air purifier technology.

“The  Dyson  Demo  encourages  people  to  be hands-on,” said Jake  Dyson, research  design  and  development  director. “The Supersonic salon introduces hair science to the high street for the first time, and nowhere else can choose between 64 types of dust and debris to test a vacuum cleaner.”

Dyson is well positioning to become a premium brand showroom thanks to its design-lead innovation, says chief executive of the Retail Doctor Group Brian Walker.

“We know that over 90 per cent of retail is done in the physical shops where people like to talk to other people, see and touch product,” Walker told Inside Retail Weekly. “What Dyson has the ability to do, and has done for many years, is really fascinate people with the quality of their engineering.”

On the question of whether a move to open stores will tick off its retail partners, Walker said Dyson will need to present a case the showrooms will generate more sales all round.

“If Dyson presents a case that the overall sum of the parts is greater than the individual parts, in other words the overall business increases and their partners receive more referrals… that could work,” Walker said.

The key is for the stores to function as branding statements and demo spaces rather than attempting to compete on retail metrics such as sales, price and margin.  

“If Dyson were opening shops purely to be another retail distributor of their products I think that would be very difficult,” Walker said.  

In the vacuum cleaner category Dyson is credited with lifting average sales prices through its commitment to R&D and expanding product features.

Thanks to its strong brand, analysts consider “a floorcare specialist failing to carry Dyson equivalent of an electronics retailer not ranging Apple.”

Vikki Weston, co-author of this column, is part of Retail Doctor Group’s retail insights team added that in the UK, Dyson is seen as an aspirational product.

“Its aspirational brand image has grown significantly through word of mouth, design-led product appeal and a strong perception of quality,” Weston said. “Similar to the strategy of Apple stores, this new Demo store with a focus on demonstration rather than selling plays directly into this.”

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