There is another alternative, stores such as mine,
watch for the Dagogo article about Audio Doctor coming soon.
Audio Doctor is an uber home based dealer, with four sound rooms and about $1 million dollars worth of display inventory.
We have over sixty lines of gear on display and create systems from $1,000.00 to $250,000.00, we also do state of the art custom installations and represent many different kinds of home entertainment systems from high end two channel, home theater, distributed home audio and automation and high performance lifestyle systems.
We have a simple model: fill a store full of interesting and exciting products, cater to a broad audience, and have a very low overhead, I live upstairs in my shop, therefore only one mortgage, one set of utilities bills, one internet and TV bill etc.
Pity most store owners that have to duplicate every cost, they have all of their personal expenses as well as the business, for all of these reasons it is imperative that stores make money in order for them to survive, and be able to reinvest in exciting display products, that prospective clients actually want to hear.
I have been a proponent of micro retailing for years. I have an very wide selection of state of the art equipment from the best brands in approx 2,000 square feet of display space.
If you look at the failing Best Buy model they have gigantic stores 20,000 or more square feet, with a tremendous amount of wasted floor space and walls of very low profit flat panels, not to mention poor uneducated sales people, poor demo rooms, and a confusing product mix, and zero appreciation in the art of the up-sale as well as too many areas of extremely low profit items.
Lets look at a possible scenario Lawyer or Doctor with a small firm, his or her computer, fax, camera breaks and they need to pick one up, they go to the local Best Buy and instead of being in an electronics wonderland, they grab what they need and walk out.
Now what if that same person was greeted by a friendly greeter who escorted them to the department they needed and then helped them to decide what the customer wanted to purchase, and then told them about "our new music department, or some exciting home theater product and then if there was some interest, the new client gets to experience the wonder of quality home entertainment perhaps for the first time? Perhaps that person might actually be so impressed by hearing real music reproduction that they want to purchase a high quality sound system.
If you look at the Best Buy store model it is a world of failure, compare that to Ikea. In a Best Buy you go through the doors and you have a central corridor which branches off to the individual departments. So rarely do consumer get a taste of something new that they weren't shopping for. They get in, go to the department they want, pick the product, and leave.
Ikea presents a beautiful store where you have to walk through entire departments before you can get to the specific department you want to get to. This exposes the potential buyer to other ideas and other products then the one they were only interested in in the first place, then all of a sudden it is more than purchasing a new desk but maybe next trip a new couch or rug or whatever.
The audiophile lives in their respective bubble what is killing our industry as well as Best Buy is the lack of knowledge and exposure to our ideals.
There are many people who can afford to buy a good stereo but live in the world of Bose ignorance or suffer from the misunderstanding that "I can't hear the difference" or "better equipment is too expensive or too complicated."
We have lost a generation of young people to the concept of headphones and computer being a music system this hasn't helped either.