Published on February 15th, 2015 | by Varuna Singh1
I step inside Sony’s flagship store in Dubai Mall
Sony recently officially opened its flagship store in Dubai this month. The store which is located right on the top most floor in Dubai Mall Level 2, right among all the other electronics stores.
Sony expects 40% sales increment
Sony is calling this store, a flagship boutique store and it covers every bit of Sony consumer product range, from Cameras, TVs to Sony Mobile’s phones and tablets.
Sony hopes to provide shoppers both avid and enthusiastic with an “immersive experience” of Sony products. The space is obviously quite spacious and I saw Sony doing some impressive and unique experiences for every product range. More on that later.
“The retail environment has increasingly become more relevant with customers looking to touch, feel and experience products before making their buying decisions”
“Our new Sony Boutique showcases every detail of our latest products and technologies, while allowing consumers to instantly step into our world of entertainment content such as movies, music, games. We are convinced this boutique will hold high appeal not just to tech aficionados with their exacting standards but also to Sony fans and lay consumers who will find technology demystified at this boutique.” said Satoru Arai, Head of Sony Middle East Marketing Company.
Sony expects about 40% incremental sales with this investment making the Sony flagship store the single most important retail showcase in the Middle-East and Africa region.
These were the sections and here is what I thought about them.
This section is probably the most visual. Right when you enter the store, you are greeted with none other than the 20th Aniversary PlayStation 4 console with its cringe grey that is both nostalgic and a testament to Sony and PlayStation. I loved its presence, even if its pretty much “Not for Sale”. Sony pretty much just made 12,300 of them, but we’d love to see a few even as auctions for the region.
Another experience is a huge display and racing simulation chairs to play PS4’s Gran Turismo. One of the best games since PSOne, there are two seats and you are pretty much set to try them. The staff encourage you to try it and its pretty awesome.
It not only showcased Sony’s hardcore presence in gaming however no indication of actually being able to buy it. I would have also liked to see more games being showcased. There is another stand for other games, but PS4 is huge and so is its ecosystem. Sony made a big push with Destiny when it launched in the region last year, and I think Sony should have more games to display. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was impressive nonetheless. The PS Vita is also on display.
Extending from games, on right center, there is Sony Mobile’s section with the Z3 and the Z3 tablet at focus. Sony is expected to refresh its phone and tablet lineup next month at MWC in Barcelona. There are also a showcase of its many accessories for the Xperia Z3 line up.
Apart from flagship phones, Sony is also displaying its mid-range devices that add to Sony’s mobile experience. You naturally see the Xperia phones being dropped in water.
What I would have loved to see is how these phones did better than the competition. For an average consumer and customer, the conversation is always what can this do better than the phone next door.
This section was probably the most immersive and well thought of in my opinion. Photography has become so much of an enthusiastic area from a professional one. Sony does have great cameras and they were one of the pioneers in the mirror-less cameras in the past. A lot of innovation and decision-making is still left to the professional reviewers and friends who are subjected to specs, price and comparison.
Sure, Sony will try to set a stage for the perfect picture possible, but it does allow you to take the camera and use their set stage to play around to better aid your decision of buying their photographic products.
There is a unique shooting object area with both close range and far off subjects. It is very pretty and lets to try out the many features of the camera.
I would personally loved to see a low light situation being set up. When Nokia was demonstrating low light capability in its camera phones, it set up a cheap dark box to show case the low-light capabilities of its Lumias. I think there is scope for that too. It looks nice, and so are the cameras.
A few lenses and cameras were on display with some difficult photographic terms being explained really well. I really liked that section of Digital imaging.
The most impressive part of watching some amazing 4K footage is the fact that the media complimented Sony’s digital imaging section. Some of the footage was taken by mid-range Sony camcorders and they looked good.
Sure there are many 4K –enabled LED TVs and projectors, but there isn’t much reason to go with many of the home entertainment features, and I was easily distracted from this section.
High resolution Audio
This section was probably the most interesting to me. High end audio is very subjective, and it is sort of the thing you get or you don’t. High end audio zone showcases Sony’s latest product offerings from premium headphones, portable mp3 Walkmans, to voice recorders and wireless speakers.
I really did like how they separated trial areas in different genres. It’s not that surprising that they are not cheap. These devices cross the AED4000 mark easily.
The new amplifiers that compliment Sony’s new Walkman players really do enable you to crank up the volume really high to probably make you deaf. Not that it is a bad thing, it’s not really a selling point either.
Sony did try to glamorize their new expensive high-end gear with some fashion brands, but it did not add any value. Look I really do like good quality audio, but it was really hard for me to really differentiate between High-end audio to normal ones that come out of your phones. Especially if you consider you are in a mall that really is never quite, its hard to really hear the missing notes.
A private session would have been nice, something like what Bose does with its high-end audio equipment.
Overall, I enjoyed my own time at the store, and felt more confident with Sony. But if Sony wants to deal with real customers to people really comparing other products, it needs to maybe offer a more specific experience for some of its products. I would recommend you check the Sony’s flagship store in Dubai Mall Level 2.
Let us know what you think of Sony’s flagship store too in our comments.