“The world needs Guitar Center”: New Guitar Center CEO on how the retail giant needs to “evolve and execute better” to survive

“The world needs Guitar Center”: New Guitar Center CEO on how the retail giant needs to “evolve and execute better” to survive

Newly appointed Guitar Center CEO Gabe Dalporto has outlined how the company needs to “evolve and execute” better to remain competitive.
Speaking in the May issue of Music Inc magazine, Dalporto – who was named GC’s CEO last October – believes the company is one that “really needs to exist in many markets”.

READ MORE: Why the CEO of America’s oldest guitar company is embracing radical change

“If you want to experience musical instruments and start off or accelerate your journey as a musician, the world needs Guitar Center. Our customers need us and our vendors need us,” he says. “But in order to earn the right to be here, we need to evolve and execute better.”
For Dalporto, that begins with expanding GC’s premium offerings and rethinking the experience of its physical stores, a strategy driven by a desire to shift the company’s focus back to their core customer: the “serious musician” i.e. “the gigging artist or the passionate player where music is a big piece of their identity”.
“We have some premium product, but we don’t have enough,” Dalporto explains, a by-product of the company pivot to the entry-level market over the years. “And it’s very hard to experience our premium product because we have our best guitars locked on the top row where you can’t easily get to them. So, if I’m a serious musician and I walk into a Guitar Center, it doesn’t feel like the right place for me anymore.”
“I want customers to walk into [a store] and have the same experience I had when I was younger and just be hit in the face with, ‘Wow, this is amazing. This is a playground. This is where I belong,’” he adds. “And that means having a much more premium assortment that’s more easily accessible where I can get in and grab a guitar and plug it in and try all these pedals and effects and just geek out and have a great time.”
Beyond its products, Dalporto also highlights the need to invest in Guitar Center’s sales team and their “consultative skills”, so they can help customers “really experience the magic of some of these instruments.”
“If you go into a guitar store and you set out a $3,000 Martin acoustic, nobody buys it out of necessity,” he says. “They don’t buy it until someone actually spends time with them and says, ‘You know, this wood is extremely rare, and it gives this incredible sound you can’t find anywhere else.’”
“We need to be consultative and relationship-driven. If I help you find the instrument of your dreams, and I give you a great experience and I check in on you and make sure everything is good, you’re going to come back and you’re not going come back to Guitar Center, you’re going to come back to me, the sales associate at your local Guitar Center.”
“It isn’t about selling that tuner today, it’s about that relationship over time.”
And given Dalporto’s background in digital business, it’s no surprise the executive also cites a push into the digital space as one of GC’s key focuses heading into the future.
“We were kind of in the dark ages of digital as a company,” he says. “There was a point in like 2008 where we were the dominant player, and then we lost our focus and seeded all that market share to our competition.”
“That has been a high growth area that we’ve not had the right strategies to win in. Our competition has more engaging content that makes it easier to find the right product and buy the right product.”
The post “The world needs Guitar Center”: New Guitar Center CEO on how the retail giant needs to “evolve and execute better” to survive appeared first on Guitar.com | All Things Guitar.

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Source: www.guitar-bass.net