Lots of great content in here. Wanted to add that with the concept I mentioned earlier, it would be my hope that small / mid sized manufactures lacking in distribution would chalk up the cost of a demo unit as a marketing expense. In exchange, the local rep or employee(s) would be trained at length regarding the features of the product. I am 100% certain that at first many companies would refuse to do this, but once the momentum kicked in more and more would be willing.
On the beer front, I think having a "bar / lounge" area kind of like Dave and Busters that is segregated from the retail component is more fitting. Personally for me, I know for a fact that when I bought some of the largest purchases in my life I had to leave the store and mull it over at a bar with my wife and a beer ( or two ). Also, from a retailer perspective consumers are more relaxed with their cards when they have one in them. Now if they gut smashed and buy too much that isn't the objective.
On another note, I'd build this outlet and block all internet reception and control the signal myself.
I thought of this a few weeks ago and how cool would it be to offer free Wi-Fi but put Amazon and other shopping sites as "blocked" Just today I caught a note off a TechCrunch about another company springing up that is doing this and will HELP the retailer by being like Big Brother and offering discounts if Amazon is hit:
So basically if you are in Best Buy on the Swarm Wi-Fi signal and they catch you price shopping, wham, you are hit with a coupon. This is the right concept, but the data capture creeps me out since Swarm would essentially be in the data mining business and I hate that.
One more thing. The poster a while back who connected the dots with the Amazon warehouse in each state and then a "catalog" only showroom is on the right track. Amazon could soooooo do this and it would solve a lot of problems. It would be like this massive IKEA like place that is bolted on to the warehouse. instead of just serving beer, Amazon should attach like a theme park and ride for the kids so I can drop them off and listen to speakers for a couple of hours uninterrupted.