December 2001

Active Trading

We have finally come to the year end/new year sales drive, but is our approach the right one?
The world economy is in a bad state following the September 11 terrorist attack and naturally this situation is severely impacting the Japanese economy and our industry, so we cannot be too optimistic about the sales drive. Consumer sentiment has gone on the defensive, and people are keeping a tight hold on their purse strings. Nevertheless, if we do not take a positive attitude, we won't be able to taste the sweetness of victory.

It is precisely at a time like this that audiovisual products come into the picture. Consumer sentiment pursues the essence of happiness, which means affection, tenderness, trust, bonds, and security. And at the heart of all these characteristics is the family. As we ruminate about the value of peace, do we not pray for the happiness of our family and invest in equipment that will bring it about? At the same time, and from the opposite perspective, when the value of individual existence grows stronger, discriminate consumption becomes increasingly active.
Through the use of digital technology, audiovisual products can make dreams come true. And at the core of this technology is home theater.

When one talks about home theater technology, this does not necessarily refer only to "whole room theater" arrangements. The important point, perhaps the most important, is to propose a variety of home theater environments to customers, with "whole room theater" at the summit. The expression "home theater environment," which I coined, refers to the various components that make up home theater as a cultural base of a home.

Now is the time for local retailers who are firmly rooted in their communities to display their abilities. Home theater is truly a face-to-face business, and a kind of primary physician role is required. So it is extremely important for both the store brand and the people to be rooted in the community. Since the home theater business exists outside the framework of price competition, it is necessary to build solid know-how.

The more rooted the retailer is in its community, the more it can grasp the circumstances of the customer. I strongly believe that if a retailer builds up knowledge and meets needs properly, it will succeed.

In the past I once heard someone talk about "active trading" and "passive trading," likening "active trading" to the way animals don't sit around waiting for game but go looking for the game that they catch. I don't know if it makes a good example, but in terms of building up an environment for home theater, which is an entirely new business, there is no other approach than "active trading." If you don't take the same approach as an animal, then it won't work. You will not succeed if you are not proactive in gathering relevant information and putting together a reliable system.

Also, retailers should understand products from their very essence. For example, plasma and liquid crystal televisions are attracting attention not as substitutes for conventional televisions but because they are extensions of the "paper television" that I have spoken of for a long time. If the price is reasonable, people naturally will want one. So now is the time to go out and actively catch those consumers who can buy, just as animals would do. And the customers should be directed toward home theater.

Despite the harsh climate, the year end/new near sales drive is a fun period. Do your best!