Marketer’s Playbook: The Truth Behind The Unstore

Marketer’s Playbook: The Truth Behind The Unstore


Retail giants from Sony, Apple, Samsung and Fuji are betting the future of brick-and-mortar has little, if anything, to do with actually selling product on site.

In fact, higher-ups at Sony Corp. in Japan had one demand for its retail outlet located at the base of its new Manhattan headquarters called Sony Square NYC: make it flexible.

With its magnetic wall panels, hidden LED TVs and removable displays, Steven Fuld, senior VP-corporate marketing at Sony Corp. of America, says Sony Square NYC is built to accommodate anything from in-store concerts, movie premieres, new product launches, private events to branded takeovers and will be remodeled every four to six weeks.  In essence, it’s set up to do everything but sell product.

“It’s a necessary way to tell the brand’s story about what we are. It gives people more of a reason to come in than just driving down to get the lowest-priced product that sits in a cardboard box in the back,” he said.

But not everyone is buying into the concept of the unstore.

Michael Goldberg, CEO of retail-focused Zimmerman Advertising, says the idea of showrooming, selling by not selling, is more public relations stunt than revenue-generating business plan. He points to Samsung’s recently opened 40,000-square-foot flagship located in the Meatpacking District as a near-perfect example.

“Take a look at what Samsung has done to one-up Apple, which is ‘We won’t sell you anything, we will sell you a donut, but not a washer.’ It’s amazing,” Mr. Goldberg said. “It’s a great store, but how many businesses can really afford to do that?”

In fact, Mr. Goldberg says even Samsung wouldn’t be able to afford the price tag of its unstore if it weren’t for its many other revenue-generating avenues.  “In the quest to jump over a competitor, anybody can make a statement, but a future of retail where you can’t buy things? I think that’s more for press than for practicality.”

The inherent risk of the unstore is not lost on Sony.

Customers can purchase some of the items at Sony Square NYC but they may have a hard time finding the single cash register. It’s hidden from plain sight, tucked away in a back corner.


August 12, 2016 / by / in , ,

Leave a Reply

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: is a website owned and operated by Scooblr, Inc. By accessing this website and any pages thereof, you agree to be bound by the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, as amended from time to time. Scooblr, Inc. does not verify or assure that information provided by any company offering services is accurate or complete or that the valuation is appropriate. Neither Scooblr nor any of its directors, officers, employees, representatives, affiliates or agents shall have any liability whatsoever arising, for any error or incompleteness of fact or opinion in, or lack of care in the preparation or publication, of the materials posted on this website. Scooblr does not give advice, provide analysis or recommendations regarding any offering, service posted on the website. The information on this website does not constitute an offer of, or the solicitation of an offer to buy or subscribe for, any services to any person in any jurisdiction to whom or in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful.