Gear Review: Roland’s New Online Experience

I’m pretty sure that most musicians feel the way I do. I miss the local music store. And while online shopping is convenient it’s hard to think that it will be the only way to buy musical instrument gear. But there is something new on the horizon: Roland’s first-of-its-kind retail experience at the new Roland Store. The iconic instrument manufacturer is looking to capitalize on in-store retail trends with a new take on customizable in-store setups. It combines technology and music for what might just be the future of shopping for us musicians.

Roland has developed a new technology for the stores, branded “Audience Specific Experience ASX,” that controls the lighting, video, and audio in the spaces and can be altered by the press of a button to match the environment to the taste of individual customers. The music giant debuted the technology in 2020 and currently operates ten of the new store formats globally, and has planned expansion into 2022. Along with global locations, Roland has announced its expanded “Roland Store” experience now at select retailers in the U.S. 

Recent trends in retail shopping show a significant increase in in-person shopping experiences, and even as retailers continue to compete with e-commerce sites, Roland feels that this new experience will help their relationships with consumers on the store floor. What’s different? Well, the new Roland store-in-stores offer full-time Roland product experts available to buyers, education through hands-on demonstrations, and access to the full Roland and BOSS catalog of products. Key to the experience is sharing how Roland and BOSS products can help consumers learn about, create, and perform music.

What is amazing and new is how with Roland’s Audience Specific Experience (ASX), each person who walks into the Roland Stores can enjoy music, lighting, and screen content matched to their own needs. The experience promises to be as good for shoppers as for retailers–a win-win for what must have been a significant investment in research and implementation. Retailers opening Roland Stores have typically doubled their sales of Roland and BOSS products, with many also experiencing significant increases in other categories like piano, synth, and drums.

The new Roland Store could be a breakthrough that other retailers will emulate. It addresses a new generation of customers who are increasingly looking at a shopping trip as more than just walking away with a product and more of an experience with excitement, discovery, and learning.

Currently, Roland Stores have opened in multiple cities in the United States, Glasgow, Montreal, Beijing, Sydney, and São Paulo, with plans to expand the concept to other metropolitan areas.

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