Crutchfield Employs Unique Technology in ‘21st Century Store’ - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Crutchfield Employs Unique Technology in ‘21st Century Store’

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Crutchfield has been about customer service going all the way back to when founder and CEO Bill Crutchfield first started printing off sheets on how you could install your own car stereo.

Now, with the opening of a new retail center in Charlottesville, it's unveiling cutting edge technologies that could profoundly change the interaction between the customers and the store. Crutchfield calls it the 21st Century store, linking an online experience with a physical retail location.

With so many options for TVs, speakers and gadgets, shopping high-tech can be an intimidating process.

"When a customer is shopping by themselves on the Internet, they get a lot of data, they get a lot of information thrown at them, but they don't have someone there necessarily to walk them through the process and ensure that the product that they're getting is the right one for them," said Jeff Fay, director of retail operations for Crutchfield.

That's what unique technology developed by Crutchfield aims to do: make shopping smart, simple, and accurate. The company has created intelligent interactive fixtures that give shoppers detailed product information on more than 8,000 Crutchfield products with a simple touch.

Thanks to a motion sensor, when someone picks up, for instance, a camera, information about the product appears on a screen nearby. The in-depth technical information includes multiple photographs, customer reviews, and recommended accessories.

This technology has been a dream 10 years in the making for Bill Crutchfield, working with a team of engineers.


"What makes this so totally unique is we're using advanced technology to sell our products with the assistance of our sales advisors. This is a very different paradigm in retail," Crutchfield said.

Along with the interactive displays, perhaps just as impressive are the listening rooms.

"The struggle that we have forever with retail in selling speakers is that we can never match your environment until now," Fay said.

Take, for example, your car. Crutchfield is the only company in the world with software that can tell you what speakers will sound like in your vehicle, taking into account make and model, the difference in products, and even road noise. It can also replicate what speakers will sound like in your home.

Although the team is ecstatic a decade of work is ready to roll, there is one detail that means the most.

"Most people would have thought that this technology of this sophistication would have come out of the silicon valley of California, but no it came right out of Charlottesville, Virginia," Crutchfield said.

The interactive fixtures are so unique that Crutchfield has domestic and foreign patents on them.

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