Dan Ferrisi, writing for the Music & Sound Retailer:
The Music & Sound Retailer has been made aware of major news from Fender Musical Instruments Corp., the iconic brand located in Scottsdale AZ. The Retailer has learned that, although no specific timetable has been established, the company is preparing plans to sell its “Fender” brand products direct. This development was first announced the week of August 4 when Fender held a two-day business meeting with key North American dealers at the Fender Visitor Center in Corona CA. The company’s Interim CEO, Scott Gilbertson, and other members of the executive management team discussed the company’s strategic initiatives, which are intended to elevate the Fender brand.
The company announced it is building capabilities to offer its full product catalog through its Web site, calling this change an effort to meet the demands and desires of the modern consumer. Fender also announced a series of digital initiatives focused on enhancing the dealer’s customer relationship-management capabilities and sales-effectiveness tools.
If true, this is a really interesting and surprising turn for Fender. As more and more guitar buyers buy online, the brick and mortar dealers are getting squeezed out.
But, if the majority of people no longer need to play a guitar before purchasing it, I can see why Fender would like to cut out the middle man and increase their bottom line. That being said, they have to walk a fine line not to alienate the dealers they do have. The brick and mortar stores are going to have a hard time competing.
The article also includes this comment from interim CEO Scott Gilbertson:
“By investing in digital capabilities and elevating our consumer experience around our brand, products and services, we expect to drive increased engagement, emotional affiliation and consumer demand,” said Gilbertson. “We believe our strategy will accrue significant benefits across all aspects of our dealer base.”
If that doesn’t inspire you to pick up a guitar and make music and art, I don’t know what will!