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Musician’s Friend Unveils New Tablet Catalog For Mobile-Savvy Shoppers

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Nearly half (44%) of consumers plan to shop on a tablet this holiday season, according to the Zmags 2012 Holiday Shopping Survey. Additionally, 45% of these mobile-savvy shoppers plan to browse and buy via their tablets on a weekly basis.

To create a more compelling browsing and buying experience for these shoppers, Musician’s Friend has launched a new interactive catalog —  just in time for the holiday shopping season. The tablet-optimized catalog, titled: 2012 Collection: Musician’s Friend Private Reserve, allows shoppers to listen to audio selections and watch video clips of specific guitar models, access detailed product information and place items in their digital shopping carts. The asset also includes high-resolution, 360-degree images and in-depth zooming capabilities. In addition, consumers can “Like” specific products and post images to their personal Facebook pages.

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The next-generation catalog experience utilizes Verge Viewer, an interactive media platform from Zmags. In doing so, Musician’s Friend can integrate the imaging capabilities, audio and sounds clips, product information and seamless social sharing, according to Ryan Villiers, Director of Enterprise Brand Experience at Musician’s Friend.

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The interactive, tablet-based approach “bridges the gap between traditional and digital experiences, creating a new yet aesthetically familiar channel to interact and engage with our customers,” Villiers said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Musician’s Friend started almost 30 years ago as a catalog business, providing musicians a valuable resource to help support their music and dreams. It is natural for us to seek new ways to innovate and evolve this experience.”

Because musicians often seek specific features and styles of instruments, the entire researching, browsing and buying experience is extremely emotional and time consuming, Villiers explained.
While transactions ultimately are the end goal for this new venture, the offering is “really about getting the customer engaged with our brand and our products,” Villiers said. “We are fortunate to operate in a category where our customers are extremely passionate about the gear we sell. ‘Musician’s Friend’ isn’t just a name: we, as a company, share this deep appreciation for musical instruments and gear with our consumers.  Providing a venue that allows customers to do a deeper dive into their favorite gear contributes to direct sales but also creates an ever-growing halo effect around our brand and products.”

Mobile will continue to be a key focus for Musician’s Friend through 2013, largely because “more consumers are adopting a ‘multi-screen lifestyle,” according to Villiers. “Customers’ expectations constantly are changing in the new digital landscape. We regularly are looking at advancements and trends in this space, and are staying nimble to provide a more personalized, on-demand and engaging shopping experience.”

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