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Brief Published: 25 Jul 2016

Sonos’ Experiential Flagship: In-Context Exploration


Tapping the emerging trend for branded micro homes – in-context retail spaces offering active product immersion (see The Rise of the ‘Apartment Store’) – US home audio brand Sonos has unveiled a new flagship in Soho, New York offering a refreshingly relaxed approach to sales.

Central to the main floor of the two-storey, 4,200 sq ft space are seven soundproofed hubs intended to feel like a ‘friend’s house, not a retail store’. Each resembles a different room – living room, kitchen, study – differentiating the listening experiences, all of which are enjoyed in private.

Guests can customise playlists from streaming services such as Apple and Spotify via the Sonos app, held on an in-store tablet. Additionally, a Products tab within the app allows users to peruse the Sonos catalogue without needing to interact with a sales assistant.  

The store follows the brand’s similarly experiential flagship in London – opened in late 2015 – which it refers to as “a living prototype of the Sonos listening experience”. Designed by sound engineers, moveable elements in the ceilings and walls let guests manipulate the ambience and acoustics.

Towards the rear of the store, a double height ‘sound wall’ features an impressive 279 Sonos speakers (eight are active), while a dwell-time-primed lower ground floor features comfy sofas, further Sonos products and iPads for e-browsing.

For more on the power of exploratory, self-steered retail experiences, see Retail Beyond the Algorithm in our Macro Trend, Get Real.

See also Tactics for Retailing Tech, Smart Stores: Connected Flagships, Active Flagships: Tapping the Experiential Economy and Retail Domiciles