Originally Posted by bryansj
Sort of like Apple...
I wouldn't argue with that...
It's odd because I used to sell BOSE along side brands like Polk Audio and Infinity, JBL etc... Back in college in the late 1990's and early 2000's I worked for Circuit City and I started in the audio department. I was young, but I was already an electronics and HI-FI geek. I remember some co-workers and I took apart a BOSE speaker (301 or 201 I think) and were disgusted it uses a cheap paper cone and very simplistic cross over inside. The cabinets were cheap wood, covered with this laminate black stick on paper like stuff to make them solid black. The front grille actually had a decent amount of quality, and attention to make it look good from the front. That's all consumers cared about. It looked good from the front. In comparison - Polk audio used a trilaminate dome tweeter (better) and a non paper cone and the combo allowed the speaker better bass, ability to play louder, and actually sounded better (to me)
The 201 was just under the price of the RT bookshelf. The 301 was actually $10 more. The Infinity was decent about the same price, used a poly woofer or CMMD something or other.. that was some engineering advancement marvel from Harman group.
We are talking now about $99-$150 speakers. Polk had a 5.25" and a 6.5" model - as did Infinifty and Bose.
At first being an audio geek and knowing nothing about selling- I always tried to sell the Infinity or the Polk because not only did they sound the best to me, but I believe in my heart they were better because of the quality of parts they used compared to BOSE and paper cones, simple dome tweeters and cheap cabinets with parts. But- I lost a lot of sales because I would push the Polk and Infinity and consumers seems to prefer or want the BOSE because of the name and marketing. It wasn't uncommon for people to say "bose is the best" but half the time the idiots never even heard them before. Needless to say I lost a lot of sales and back then I was trying to put myself through college and pay my tuition and I was working on commission.
About a year went by and I started to understand it's better to swim with the current than against it. So as soon as I found a customer that seemed to be interested in the BOSE, rather than explain why and how the infinity or Polk was also really good for the same price I just went with it. I'd say something like "I see you seem interested in the BOSE, have you ever heard bose speakers before ? " Depending on the answer I knew which direction I should take. If they said something good about them, I'd say something like "these are the some of the best speakers we carry and our best seller, we already sold a couple pairs of these today. They are really hard to get and keep in stock, we sell out often because they are hard to get and they are in high demand" Often I'd sneak in a "not sure if in stock anymore, just sold a pair" too. Almost like a take away from the customer so instead of me trying to push them into a sale, they are hoping for one. Of coarse we had like 10 pairs of all of them. I'd come back after checking stock - "only 1 pair left" Customer: "I'll take it"
Bose were price protected back then. They sold for the same price everyday almost, and they sold for the same prices at all retailers. It was hard because if you couldn't close a customer they rarely came back. Such is the way with retail.
Moral of the story is while they didn't sound the best (to me) and they weren't the cheapest, and they did't use the best parts - they looked good and the name BOSE was what people wanted to see because of effective marketing. Customer bought them, and never returned them. They had a much lower return rate than POLK or INFINITY did, especially when I beat a customer into them instead of BOSE. The lighbulb clicked for me when one time I spend about 20 minutes selling hard the Polk Audio to a guy that was clearly interested in the BOSE. I demo-ed both side by side and I thought it was pretty clear the Polk sounded better, I explained paper cones vs advanced tech etc... I took twice as long for the sale as I should and I missed out on a customer that bought a much bigger purchase during the time I was with this gentlemen, and the idiot of the department made that sale. The next week I saw I had a loss of income from a return, so I went into the computer and found that they gentle man that bought the two Polk Speakers actually returned them and bought the BOSE from another store- I lost my commission. That was the point I opened my eyes... I knew too much and it wasn't helping. I needed to be simple if I wanted to sell more. I did, and I ended up becoming one of the top 200 sales associates for CC in the country year after year (2000,2001,2002 etc) I graduated college, went into managment and eventually became a store director. I was still young and stupid, and although the job paid well for a kid I didn't realize working all those hours and nights and weekends and holidays was not normal. I left CC before it went downhill and out of business, because I decided I hated retail. I was there in the glory days before the internet changed everything.
I think there is a lot of successful companies that seems to get it just right, and balance looks, reputation, product quality, and price in that perfect optimal mixture for success. I think of Apple much the same, not the best, not the cheapest, but a good level of quality and looks and a good blend of price, quality, looks, and reputation to justify a good margin with good sales. Bose is the same way- a good balance of quality, to price, to performance, to appearance to maximize margins and sales. Look around the world is full of them, Mcdonalds sells a coffee for $1 and I can't say it's bad compared to $4 coffee from another place. Starbucks sells lots more coffee all day long because of the appearance of the store, reputation, quality.. and seem to have a good balance of price /margin/ sales. It's almost crazy how much a coffee costs there. It's also crazy how much a really crappy sandwich costs at Panera bread. It's twice the price of most other places with better sandwiches- yet panera bread has great sales and margins (profits)
I guess such is the way of the world we live in. I'm not really a fan of Bose, Apple, Panera, or Starbucks myself but sadly I've bought them all. lol. Explain that ????