June 29, 2006, 12:00 AM

Guitar Center now has an e-commerce duet

While the new GuitarCenter.com looks similar to MusiciansFriend.com, the company says the site will enhance its multi-channel retail strategy in multiple ways.


Guitar Center Inc. is launching GuitarCenter.com, a new web site designed to expedite the company’s multi-channel retail program.

Guitar Center already owns and operates Musician’s Friend Inc., No. 50 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, which includes an e-commerce site and catalog. While the new GuitarCenter.com looks similar to and carries mostly the same merchandise as MusiciansFriend.com, the site will enhance the company’s multi-channel retail strategy.

"The introduction of GuitarCenter.com as an e-commerce site is an integral component of our overall direct response strategy," said Guitar Center chairman and CEO Marty Albertson. "From a long-term perspective an integrated retailer can build stronger customer loyalty and, in turn, increase repeat traffic and sales.”

The launch of GuitarCenter.com coincides with the retailer’s planned implementation of a buy-online-and-pickup-or-exchange-in-store program. Though Guitar Center isn’t releasing any details, the company also plans to roll out an interactive kiosk program for its chain of more than 180 stores. Customers will be able to use the kiosks to search for products across all Guitar Center stores, catalogs and web sites.

“We are not only strengthening our offerings of music gear but we are also extending Guitar Center`s brand awareness,” Albertson said. “Our vision is to turn Guitar Center into a world class multi-channel retailer that better understands and serves the musician community across all purchase occasions and expanding our online presence positions us to achieve this goal."

In conjunction with the launch, Guitar Center is hosting a 100-hour grand opening celebration. All consumers who make a purchase during the first 100 hours will be entered in a sweepstakes to win $1,000. Additionally, Guitar Center will provide its first 1,000 online customers with free, limited-edition t-shirts and free shipping on all orders over $49. Also included in the launch are several “buy one and get multiple items free” deals on drum sticks, instrument strings and other items.


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