Music & Sound Retailer August 2021, Vol 38 No 8

Page 32


ALOHA TO HAWAII Greetings, MI Spy fans! Although I’ve been ecstatic about my return to in-person store visits, I mentioned in a prior MI Spy feature that I would still be taking occasional breaks from the road to visit stores online. So, this month’s report will be an internet-focused report (but don’t worry, I’ll be back on the road next month). Now, about my assignment this month, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that, thanks to the wonders of the internet, your MI Spy can visit places that HQ would never foot the travel bill for, like this month’s destination: Hawaii. The bad news is, of course, that I won’t actually be in Hawaii. After all, who hasn’t daydreamed about visiting Hawaii — relaxing on the beach with a cold cocktail in hand, munching on fresh pineapple, peering at distant volcanoes and listening to the sweet sounds of an ukulele? Your MI Spy has! Yes, a Hawaiian vacation would truly be magical. (Speaking of magic, sometimes I wish I could make like Harry Potter and instantly apparate to a place like Hawaii.) But for now, with pandemic restrictions still making long-distance travel more than a bit difficult, yours truly will have to settle for a virtual visit to this island paradise by checking out musical instrument store websites and social media. Although nothing quite compares to an in-store visit, I have been thinking a lot lately about the importance, especially in this day and age, of how stores use not only their websites but also their social media capabilities. Stores can get a lot of mileage from utilizing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms (Twitch? TikTok? YouTube? Pinterest?) Social media is a low-cost and fairly easy way to document and publicize your business, and some musical instrument stores are making their posts and curating their social feeds accordingly. Social media is also easier to update than your typical commercial store website. So, let’s take a look at the online offerings of some of the 50th State’s music stores and see if they are as dreamy as I’ve imagined. Since Instagram has become one of the preferred platforms for retail stores, I decided to gather intel on each store’s Instagram profile. And, given the setting for this month’s report, I was particularly interested in seeing how these stores promote the guitars and ukuleles that they sell. Strum along with me. 32

Easy Music Center Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @easymusiccenter

Your MI Spy appreciates a website that is colorful, easy to navigate and serves snacks … wait, I suppose the last requirement isn’t necessary (especially since I do have a bag of veggie chips handy). I also like a website that offers a clear price range guide, such as the one offered on the Easy Music Center website. Click on any product category on the Easy Music Center homepage, and you’ll be taken to a page listing the store’s offerings in that category. Look to the left of the page, and you’ll see options to limit your search results by brand and product type, as well as other categoryspecific filters like number of strings for stringed instruments, etc. You’ll also find the price range guide, which lets you enter the lowest and highest prices you’re willing to pay. Once you’ve set your search parameters, you just click on the product pic in which you’re interested, and you’ll be taken to a page that shows multiple photos and specifics about the product. If an item is sold out, the store can email you when it’s available. Easy Music Center offers items in a wide range of prices, so if you’re a beginner with limited funds or a wealthier musician, you can find something here for sure. There is also a sizable clearance section to poke through. Are you in the market for an acoustic guitar or an uke? There are plenty on offer here. The least expensive acoustic guitar the store had in stock was a Yamaha Folk model for $159.99, and the priciest in-stock guitar was a Taylor acoustic-electric at $5,499. As far as ukuleles, Easy Music Center offers a soprano uke bundle (including bag, strings, DVD and a tuner!) for $84.99, and at the other end of the spectrum, they sell two Kamaka ukuleles for over $2,000 each. Overall, the Easy Music Center website is really nice. The store logo is a cute guitar drawing, and the website offers a very wide selection of instruments, accessories, studio and pro-audio equipment. It’s a bright and clear website, and easy to use. According to the website, the store offers lessons, repairs and rentals in addition to retail sales. You can also click “Our AUGUST 2021

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