Celestion Takes the Online Plunge

One by one, the name brands of audio are confronting the difficult issue of whether or not to take their products online. Recent brands to join the club include Roksan, Chord Electronics, Harman/Kardon, and PS Audio. Now it's time to add one of audio's deeply rooted loudspeaker marques, Celestion, to the list.

Last week, Celestion America and Hifi.com, sister company to Cambridge SoundWorks (itself founded by Henry Kloss of KLH fame), announced an exclusive agreement whereby Hifi.com will be the "first and only e-tailer of Celestion products."

While some have characterized online retailing as "mail order with a Web address," important to any virtual or distant sales venture through which customers can not touch and feel real products in the flesh is having brands that customers already recognize and want. Tom Hannaher, Hifi.com's VP of merchandising, remarks that "we are honored that a company so rich in tradition as Celestion has named us as their exclusive online retailer. In a time when most websites focus only on entry-level commodity items, I'm proud to offer a premium line like Celestion at Hifi.com."

For their part, Celestion appears to not have made the decision lightly. "We have been hesitant to enter the online market due to the lack of customer support offered by e-tailers," said Rob Ain, executive VP of Celestion America. "We were impressed when we saw what Hifi.com was doing to reinvent the online customer experience for consumers . . . it's a natural to have our name associated with their service."