8th Jun 2023, SINGAPORE – Steinway & Sons was featured by Inside Retail Asia, Asia’s premier source for retail news. Celine Goh, General Manager of Steinway Gallery Singapore was interviewed by journalist, Anil Prabha, as she explains how Steinway & Sons is reaching next-gen music lovers.
Inside Retail Asia Article:
Founded in 1853, Steinway pianos have long been known for their craftsmanship, fine finish and sound quality, making them the choice of artists from 19th century Russian composer Rachmaninov, to modern-day American songwriter Billy Joel.
But while some things haven’t changed in the company’s 170-year history – every Steinway piano is still individually built by a master craftsperson and undergoes extensive testing, with each key being played up to 3200 times to ensure stability – in other ways, the company has continued to move with the times, introducing innovative products, such as the Spirio player piano, and investing in omnichannel retail.
First launched in 2015, Steinway’s high-resolution Spirio player piano uses proprietary software to bring life performances from the world’s greatest artists. In 2021, the company launched SpirioCast, which enables customers to easily access an expanding library of performances, recorded live in the company’s master recording studio, via an iPad app.
“Even the artists that have recorded on the instrument agree that the Spirio captures the true essence, nuance, and soulfulness of a live performance, allowing us to bring artists and their audiences closer than ever before,” Celine Goh, General Manager of Steinway’s retail stores in Singapore and the Philippines, told Inside Retail.
Like many retailers, Steinway was forced to adapt its offering during the pandemic. The company launched an e-commerce site in April 2020, shortly after the Singapore government announced the lockdown, and it has continued to invest in its omnichannel capabilities and diversifying its product offering.
“We understand the importance of becoming a true omnichannel retailer and that’s the reason we started our own production studio, combining an acoustic environment of a recording studio with a space for visual experimentation with different musical collaborations,” Goh said.
Steinway has also had to deal with other repercussions of the pandemic, such as supply chain shortages, a tight labour market and increasing inflation. These factors have led to the opening of Pianoland, a second-tier outlet in Singapore.
This outlet is focused on high quality yet affordable acoustic and digital pianos for modern homes, including Steinway pianos, as well as the Essex range of uprights and Dexibell, a digital piano hand-made in Italy.
“In this way, we are able to optimize our operations by offering a more premium one-of-a-kind piano models” at the company’s full-price store, Steinway Gallery, at ION Orchard shopping centre,” reducing customer wait times and increasing order accuracy to cater to the upmarket clientele,” she noted.
According to Goh, one of the key factors behind the company’s success in the Singapore and Philippines market is its belief in giving back to the community together with its business partners in the ecosystem.
“Through this network, we collate our resources, encourage interactive exchanges and share the joy of music-making. We actively engage in piano competitions, educational programs with teachers and students too,” she elaborated.
Interestingly, the demographic of Steinway buyers has shifted in recent years, with millennials representing a greater share, as they increasingly appreciate experiences over physical assets, such as buying land or property.
“Steinway recognises the importance of appealing to these younger generations. Thus, we have curated unique experiences including interactive workshops such as musicians and stage persona workshops and intimate concert performances by Steinway artists,” she said.
Passion For Music
“My unwavering commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction stems from my deep passion for music and my strong belief that every customer deserves an extraordinary musical experience,” Goh said.
She is of the opinion that music has the ability to inspire and uplift people, and she is driven by the desire to create magical moments for each and every customer she serves. Her goal is to continue the brand’s success and growth in the region. Against the backdrop of great prosperity, the company is seeing more interest in the company’s products from ultra-affluent Singaporeans and foreigners.
“The confluence of wealth and stability have created an environment to strive for refinement. The ultra-affluent are more focused on using their wealth to grow personally such as developing an appreciation for the arts,” she said.
While macro-economic indicators may not be very positive, Goh reiterated that the company recognizes the importance of resilience and adaptability to mitigate the impact of these external factors. “We take confidence in the fact that in Singapore and the Philippines, the population of the affluent continues to grow, and the luxury market has shown stability over time. This provides us with a strong foundation to navigate through economic uncertainties,” she concluded.
Inside Retail Asia article: https://insideretail.asia/2023/06/08/how-iconic-piano-brand-steinway-is-reaching-next-gen-music-lovers/