COMMENT: Sonos Move Quickly To Screw Retailers With New Speaker
At 8.45am this morning an email dropped into my inbox soliciting me to place an order direct with Sonos for their new $299 Sonos One speaker that was launched last night in New York.
In what appears to be a direct two finger salute to their retail channel Sonos is blatantly trying to stop existing customers from buying from their retail partners to whom they have to pay a margin, rebates while also delivering in store merchandising.
The email was sent even before a lot of the retailers selling Sonos were even open.
This is despite it being the retail channel, in particular JB Hi Fi and the specialist channel that made Sonos a household brand in the first place.
Actions speak louder than words and the move to direct selling by Sonos appears to be a case of Sonos now wanting retailers to sell to a new customer and as soon as that customer has registered with Sonos for their software upgrades and access to their software they start marketing directly to that customer to buy additional Sonos hardware direct.
Retailers that ChannelNews have spoken to are not happy with several specialist dealers who were the first to sell the Sonos product when it was unknown and struggling to even get in the door at JB HI Fi, now moving to drop Sonos.
Instead they are recommending products from Bluesound and Heos by Denon.
For them this is an easy transition as both Bluesound and Heos are 24Bit High Res audio enabled while Sonos is still only able to deliver 16bit audio.
Is there a difference, you bet there is, especially when one is watching a movie or listening to a high res audio album from the likes of Deezer?
The move by Sonos to sell direct is set to be further complicated by the fact that when Amazon launch in a few weeks one the key products being sold by them is the Sonos range of products.
I am an Amazon Prime customer and I have already got emails requesting me to buy the Sonos product direct from Amazon.
For a retailer it may be time to move on from Sonos for three reasons.
Sonos is not 24bit audio.
Retailers will make more margin selling a 24Bit Bluesound or Heos product than they are selling a Sonos product for the simple reason that they are slightly more expensive than the Sonos speaker.
Thirdly retailers have to chase down network sound brands that deliver excellent average selling price long term.
Network sound brands are today all about the add on product for additional rooms which is why Sonos is chasing the second and third sale.