There has been a lot written about retailing and the death of the high street. Post Covid we no longer want or need so many physical stores, because there is nothing that the digital universe can’t do in terms of building brands, engaging consumers, encouraging sales and delivering to your door. Am I right?
Well maybe, but entering a beautiful store, that actively seduces you with crafted products offering exquisite sensory appeal is not shopping – these days it is ‘ a premium real-world experience’. An experience compelling enough to lure would-be customers from the safety of their home has even more appeal if it is actually transferrable to the home.
In 2019 Focal powered by Naim, was ahead of the curve when it launched its new global network of concept stores to offer audiophiles a deeply immersive customer experience. The aim is to open more than 100 stores worldwide and throughout 2021 it is unveiling its Australian venues in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The stores are using the existing footprint developed by retail partner, Addicted to Audio.
French brand Focal has, for the last 40 years been a world leader in speaker innovation and quality; over the same period UK-based Naim built its reputation for hi-fi products noted for the quality of their engineering, performance and design excellence.
In 2011 Focal and Naim Audio, merged to combine their expertise in high-definition audio. A whole new product ecosystem followed that delivers an intense experience to audiophiles across a targeted range of key price points.
What is notable about the Focal powered by Naim stores is their emphasis on beautiful interior design – perfect context for products, which apart from audio performance place high value on construction and design.
These stores do more than display products on plinths, they show you how they can be integrated into the sleek lines and quality materials of modern interiors.
At the Sydney store there is very enticing transition between the entry showroom with its displays of the Naim Uniti Atom music streaming system and brand new Uniti Atom Headphone edition (featuring Focal Utopia headphones). Also being showcased are the latest members of the Mu-so wireless music; the cubed QB 2nd Generation speakers and the ethereal long blonde Mu-so 2nd generation, Wood edition. This is, dressed in sustainable Ayous hardwood with a woven front grille in neutral hues, ideal for lighter-look interiors.
From the showroom you progress into a moody ‘headphone bar, its selection curated under a glass bar. Here listeners perch on stools as they dive into the intimacy of immersive listening.
Finally the main listening studio is quite something – the soundstage and gorgeous Focal Sopra 2 speakers created a highly aspirational listening cocoon that was difficult to leave. As experienced from the comfort of a (designer) couch it was way too much of a good thing. Some would say, it’s all too addictive.
Focal powered by Naim
Photo Credits: Focal powered by Naim, Addicted to Audioby