What happened at Sharper Image?

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One of the biggest challenges that Sharper Image faced in the past five years was that the Apple store took over as the place to hang out and play with gadgets in the mall. We were lulled into a period of complacency because of the success of the Ionic Breeze. Were Sharper Image products too pricey, especially when times got tough? The stores had a nice assortment of lower-priced products from $5.99 to $59.99. The strategy was to get people to pick up an item at a price point they could afford on an impulse and get them to walk away with a shopping bag so that they remember you and come back at Christmas. So the days of consumers splurging on $3,000 massage chairs aren’t gone for good? We had our first loss in 1990, after 13 years of steady growth and profitability. We had our second 15 years later. My reaction and my strategy both times was to transition to lower price points. In boom times, it’s easier to sell a $1,000 product. In tough times, it’s easier to sell a $49 product. You ... more
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