SPECIALTY hi-fi outlets are a diminishing breed worldwide, thanks no doubt to the plethora of online stores that have surfaced in recent years. A growing number of audiophiles, it appears, have no qualms about ordering gear via the Internet based solely on reviews and reputations.
The downside – scammers populate the Internet at every nook and cranny, from those offering to cut you in on a hidden fortune to bogus businesses that lay out an impressive website and are everything the term “virtual” mean. Then again, even with genuine online retailers, how about warranties and after-sales service?
Well, PS Audio is making it easier for its customers, past, present and potential – the Boulder, Colorado-based manufacturer of audio electronics and power products is returning to online retail, joining its exclusive brigade of “brick and mortar” outlets However, sales outside the United States will continue to be handled by PS Audio’s network of worldwide distribution partners.
“We now live with an exciting online retail outlet that will better serve our customers throughout the United States. This move is a return to our roots as an online retailer dating back to 1997,” PS Audio CEO Paul McGowan said in a statement.
“With a decreasing number of brick and mortar specialty retail outlets in the United States and an increasing number of unauthorised online retailers selling our products without proper warranty and service benefits to unsuspecting customers, we felt it was important to clean up our dealer base and make sure our customers have proper access to our products.
“Our new online store is state of the art and gives our customers a chance to try anything we make in their homes without any risk. PS customers in the US will enjoy free Fedex shipping, a month to try the products and if they’re not happy we even pay the return shipping.
“It’ll be great for customers not close to one of our brick and mortar retailers. I am most excited for our customers who now have more choices and more freedom to choose from retailers they can trust.”
Rather than providing competition for the specialty stores, PS Audio says the move will enhance customer experience.
According to PS Audio’s director of sales, Angie Duran, the company last month reduced its brick and mortar retail outlets in the US from 450 to just 90 of its strongest and most trusted stores.
“Working together, we can cross-promote the brand and the products as well as maintain both the value and service levels. This is an exciting move for the company and our domestic customers, and one that will help our worldwide distributors maintain the brand’s value.”
PS Audio was among the first online retailers in specialty audio, back in 1997. It sold both direct and through a network of US dealers until 2009, when the company turned its online store operation over to US retailers Music Direct, Audio Advisor and Crutchfield. All three online retailers continue to be strong partners of PS Audio.
The online e-commerce store can be visited by going to the main website – all transactions are handled through a secure 256-bit encryption system for maximum security.