Consumer Alert: Sony To Shut Down Online Store and More....

Sony Experience - Best Buy Store-Within-a-Store Concept
Sony Experience - Best Buy Store-Within-a-Store. Image Provided by Sony

Dateline: 08/04/2015Trouble In TV Land

In light of Sharp's recent announcement that they are pulling out of the U.S. TV market (as well as the rest of North and Sound America), eyes are on the two remaining Japan-Based TV makers, Panasonic and Sony.

Both Panasonic and Sony have taken financial hits in recent years, especially in the TV sector, resulting in Panasonic finally abandoning Plasma TV and putting more reliance in the marketing power of Best Buy to sell its products.

For Sony, it has also been tough times in the TV market in recent years, with an inability to fend off the likes of LG and Samsung - and now with China-based brands increasing their profile in the U.S., and World market Sony's TV market share is getting squeezed further. This has resulted in Sony revamping its strategy by reducing the number of TV model and screen size offerings to a more manageable number and focusing more on consumers looking for a quality product.

Sony Changes Product Selling Strategy

Word has come out that Sony is also doing some further retreating, not in the same manner as Sharp, but perhaps just as significant.

While Sony is still marketing TVs and other consumer electronics products (see my listing at the end of this article for 2015/16 models), it has now formally announced that consumers will no longer be able to purchase Sony products direct via their Online or Brick-and-Mortar Company Stores.

To put it simply, Sony is shutting down its online store as of 1 PM on Friday, August 28th, 2015. After August 28th, online visitors will be provided necessary information on product specifications and features, but will be directed to authorized online and brick-and-mortar dealers for additional purchasing information.

In addition to the change of their online presence, Sony will also continue to close Sony-branded storefronts, which will now include all locations, except for its New York City Sony Tower location. Sony's brick-and-Mortar strategy has been to shift to a store-within-a-store concept in partnership with Best Buy.

In the age of consumers buying almost everything on-line, even home theater products, the shutting down of Sony's physical storefronts is not entirely unexpected, but the decision to shut down their online store seems counter-intuitive, especially when most of their competitors have online shopping opportunities on their websites.

What May Lie Ahead For Sony...And Others

It will be interesting to see how these changes affect Sony's market share in the U.S. going forward, especially when it comes to TVs. With Sharp and Toshiba both exiting the U.S. TV market in 2015, the pressure is on for both Panasonic and Sony, the two remaining high-profile Japan-based TV makers, to carry the torch.

Can both Panasonic's and Sony's TV business survive? If they do, that would be the best case scenario, as, for consumers, it is the more, the merrier, when it comes to competition - but if they don't survive, which one will be the next to leave the TV business? If one, or both, exit, it certainly won't be because of product quality issues.

The Good News: TV and Home Theater Products Announced By Sony For 2015