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What do you want to see in an audiophile store?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
One of the most frustrating things for me (especially being relatively new to the audiophile world) is not being able to get my hands on something I begin to obsess on. But, most of all, not being able to physically demo the item (especially high end headphones) in a store near me. I recently bought the HiFiman HE-500 and fell in love with them but when one of the wires stopped working, I had to return the entire thing and have it replaced by mail, almost half way through the burn in process. Two weeks later, I'm still waiting for the replacement to arrive.

Then it hit me, I live in Orange County, Southern Cailfornia. If there is a shop where I could have gone to demo headphones like these or buy a replacement cable, or demo an aftermarket cable I would all but live there. How many of you feel the same?

I want to open up a brick and mortar storefront that caters to the likes of us. A place where you can demo ANYTHING we sell, from HD-800's to Blue Hawaii amps to headphones as exclusive as Stax. After all, who would spend upwards of $5000 for a pair of headphones never having heard them?

I am in the investigating phase and am putting together a business plan. This is where I need your help. Sound off, what would you like to see in a storefront like this, what brands are a must-stock, what can we do that others don't currently do. I want to stay open late, maybe midnight. We all know what it is like needing a last minute adapter but all stores are closed. I want to feature mid to high to very high end audio, video, auto sound/video, apple products, misc personal electronics and specialize in hard to find items, all of which we let you demo or demo or demo for you, thoughts?
post #2 of 27

Hey,

 

I live in Perth(Australia) and we've only got one store that is serious about high-end audio equipment, albeit very small.

Although you said you'd like to focus on mid-high end gear, lower end commodities (sub $200) would be favourable in my opinion. I've visited the aforementioned audio store several times and I've mainly seen other customers purchasing in this range, with only a few others including myself reaching above this price point.

 

I would think there'd be two ways/approaches to determine what brands you would stock; the first being similar(common) brands that other stores provide OR brands that are more niche and harder to find (the difficulty I've had in finding a local store that stocks Beyerdynamic/Aurisonics/Koss over here for example). Or you could provide almost all the brands out there, the choice is up to you.

 

I'm not sure if this is relevant but the Perth store also has a singular chair, although exceedingly comfy, specifically for auditioning, so you can fully relax and indulge in the music which I found to be a nice touch. You could consider adopting this as well (perhaps throw in a few more chairs or a long bench that can seat multiple people? 

 

Hopefully something written above is of use to you, best of luck with your store!

 

Cheers,

James

post #3 of 27

tell me about it denon i live in NSW all i've got is Minidisc.com, there no place where i can audition higher end headphones lol. unless there is a place in NSW that i dont know about? In regards to Australia i think Melbourne has all the audiophile equipment jaben, noisy motel, ACustoms and addicted to audio are located there.

post #4 of 27

We have Harvey Norman in Tassie.

 

They stock every model of Beats that you could possibly want:)

post #5 of 27

Yeah, I almost always have to purchase from Addicted to Audio for anything out of the "ordinary" e.g. no Beats/Souls/Low-End Sennys/Bose, they do run some pretty sweet deals occasionally though. Do hope NSW and WA start taking audio more seriously, I dare say that WA is probably the worst State to be an audiophile/enthusiast, always have been envious of the abundance of headphones and ease of access the rest of the world has.

post #6 of 27
HEYYYYY!!!!! I'm writing a business plan as well! biggrin.gif it's a competition (Grand price: $1000, yes if I win that, will throw 70% on audio. Targeting runner up)! I wrote about audio retailer as well biggrin.gif but I am only left with the final page and the hardest of all... The Financial Plan page... Tearing me apart. Anyway, would love to hear what you guys wanted from an audio shop as well.. Will add it in my survey page as well MUAHAHHAHAHAHA xD

Anyway, there's 0 audio shop in here Brunei and the only possible way to buy audio gears is through online which cost like twice the amount not sure why probably because of the stock availability. So if I can have an audio shop here, I want it to have as many brand as possible but no celebrities headphones (with exceptional of V-Modas and AKG Tiestos). With resonable price. I do not want it just for high end audio gears, I want it from lowest end to the "Avatar" state-end so that everyone can afford to buy something out of the shop. Big brands like Sennheiser, Sony, Unique Melody, JH Audio, Ultimate Ears, FiiO, iBasso, Headamp, AKG, Hifiman, can't be left out. I do not need it to be a huge store, and I hope it can have something unique. That is, customers are allowed to bring home the demo unit to try it at home for a week but they will need to pay for a full deposit for it just in case they never return xD

AFTER-SALES SERVICE IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! I'll never go back to that store again if it have bad after-sales service! Of corse, customers services are equally important xD

Lastly, stock a large avaibility of stocks so that customers do not have to wait at all for the product to arrive. Should also include on the spot ear-impression by a REAL audiologist, not anyone from the street. Yes, CIEM would be nice if possible biggrin.gif

Billson smily_headphones1.gif
post #7 of 27

We have plenty of Audiophile stores here in Melbourne.

 

Best thing about places like Addicted to Audio, Noisy Motel etc is staff who are very helpful and allow you to demo equipment. I've been able to listen to a number of different headphones before settling on something. I love being able to do this and no blindly purchase.

 

One of the important parts of these businesses succeeding is having support that are very quick to response and help if need be. For example I could drop an email to Noisy Motel and billy would be in contact in 30 minutes on a Sunday, that is exceptional. Likewise they don't push you hard to sell something to you, they let you try and have a look. Its always nice to talk about our music tastes and discuss different gear while buying.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DenonFnatic View Post
 

Yeah, I almost always have to purchase from Addicted to Audio for anything out of the "ordinary" e.g. no Beats/Souls/Low-End Sennys/Bose, they do run some pretty sweet deals occasionally though. Do hope NSW and WA start taking audio more seriously, I dare say that WA is probably the worst State to be an audiophile/enthusiast, always have been envious of the abundance of headphones and ease of access the rest of the world has.

 

 

Don't Headphonic have a brick and mortar store over there?

post #8 of 27

btw just wanted to also say minidisc.com have great customer service as i recently bought an ak120 and received it immediately, also i just wanted to point out the Myers at the Sydney cbd do stock almost every major headphone from sennheiser except for anything jumping over the 500 something models

post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leliana View Post
 

We have plenty of Audiophile stores here in Melbourne.

 

Best thing about places like Addicted to Audio, Noisy Motel etc is staff who are very helpful and allow you to demo equipment. I've been able to listen to a number of different headphones before settling on something. I love being able to do this and no blindly purchase.

 

One of the important parts of these businesses succeeding is having support that are very quick to response and help if need be. For example I could drop an email to Noisy Motel and billy would be in contact in 30 minutes on a Sunday, that is exceptional. Likewise they don't push you hard to sell something to you, they let you try and have a look. Its always nice to talk about our music tastes and discuss different gear while buying.

 

 

 

Don't Headphonic have a brick and mortar store over there?

 

Hey,

 

Yes they do, but the range they provide is much smaller and prices are usually more expensive, unfortunately.

post #10 of 27

Realize that this is a very niche group of people that are interested in high end headphones, It's probably not the type of business that you're going to be able to get rich from, if even maintaining your investment. It would take a lot of of research, the right location, and probably above all great web-based marketing and sales. 

 

If you go Brick-and-Mortar only with all of the high end equipment imaginable you're seriously looking at probably 200 - 300k in gear just sitting there waiting for someone that happens to be in town to walk in with an enormous budget. That's not even accounting for the overhead of maintaining a business.

 

I'm not trying to be the antagonist of the thread, just make sure you really think things through before taking any big financial plunge.

post #11 of 27

Keeping up with all the classics and Head-Fi FOTM can be a very expensive task. A few isolated listening booth would be cool. My local store keeps somethings locked, which is a good idea. Some kind of system tying the headphones down will protect your investments well.

 

Host a few local Head-Fi meets, could be great for publicity. A2A in Australia does this and it was pretty cool.

 

 

Having a few pairs of STAX would definitely be quite a sight.

 

 

 

 

Oh, and some international sales too, audiophiles often have to buy international on the internet, and a few second hand/old stock deals would be awesome too.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by DenonFnatic View Post
 

Hey,

 

I live in Perth(Australia) and we've only got one store that is serious about high-end audio equipment, albeit very small.

Although you said you'd like to focus on mid-high end gear, lower end commodities (sub $200) would be favourable in my opinion. I've visited the aforementioned audio store several times and I've mainly seen other customers purchasing in this range, with only a few others including myself reaching above this price point.

 

I would think there'd be two ways/approaches to determine what brands you would stock; the first being similar(common) brands that other stores provide OR brands that are more niche and harder to find (the difficulty I've had in finding a local store that stocks Beyerdynamic/Aurisonics/Koss over here for example). Or you could provide almost all the brands out there, the choice is up to you.

 

I'm not sure if this is relevant but the Perth store also has a singular chair, although exceedingly comfy, specifically for auditioning, so you can fully relax and indulge in the music which I found to be a nice touch. You could consider adopting this as well (perhaps throw in a few more chairs or a long bench that can seat multiple people? 

 

Hopefully something written above is of use to you, best of luck with your store!

 

Cheers,

James

 

The ball chair at headphonic is pretty cool, I'd get one myself but for the price I'd rather buy a HE400 or HD600


Edited by Parall3l - 9/8/13 at 11:56pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnomeplay View Post
 

Realize that this is a very niche group of people that are interested in high end headphones, It's probably not the type of business that you're going to be able to get rich from, if even maintaining your investment. It would take a lot of of research, the right location, and probably above all great web-based marketing and sales. 

 

If you go Brick-and-Mortar only with all of the high end equipment imaginable you're seriously looking at probably 200 - 300k in gear just sitting there waiting for someone that happens to be in town to walk in with an enormous budget. That's not even accounting for the overhead of maintaining a business.

 

I'm not trying to be the antagonist of the thread, just make sure you really think things through before taking any big financial plunge.

 

your point... I agree :)

post #13 of 27

One suggestion I'd have, aside from the obvious one of stocking the right products (to me, that's basically all things Stax and the Koss ESP/950), is to let customers audition the equipment with their own sources.

 

It's highly doubtful that you would manage to cater to everyone's tastes music-wise, to say nothing of the people like Mad Lust Envy and myself who want audiophile-level cans that are useful for competitive gaming.

 

Perhaps this should extend to letting people figure out what amps match up best with their headphones of choice, particularly with dynamic/ortho sets.

post #14 of 27

I don't have any business acumen, so I don't know if it would be feasible, but it would be cool if you could hire TOTL head-fi gear (with a bond) for a set period of time with the option to buy. 

 

I'm sure most Aussies who don't live in Melbourne are forced to make blind (deaf) purchases, with only reviews to go by. This makes me hesitant to fork over $$$ for something like the HD800 or a Woo amp when I don't know whether I would like it as much as what I currently have.

 

However, I guess sales of many products would probably go down if customers had the opportunity to do extended auditions and comparisons at their own leisure.

post #15 of 27

you should stock the popular products the cx90 stuff and keep some high end stuff, and when people want it make an order from the supplier that way you can protect your cash flow

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