JB Hi-Fi gets exclusive first crack at LifeStudio, other retailers left to wait

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: JB Hi-Fi will have first rights to sell an interesting new external storage solution from Japanese tech specialists Hitachi. The retailer famous for “smashing prices” was chosen because it is the right fit for this product, according to Hitachi Asia Pacific vice president Robert S Chu.

Called LifeStudio, this new external storage brand combines a large capacity hard disk with a docking USB flash drive, enabling quick transfer of files from a stationary device to a portable thumb drive. Thrown into this new brand proposition is an attractive form factor – a rarity in external hard drives, social media connectivity and included cloud storage space.

Considering this product represents a new frontier in what is essentially a bland category, it was interesting that Hitachi has chosen a narrow distribution strategy. We asked him why this was the case.

“We decided that JB Hi-Fi has very good points of sale and we think that they were looking for innovative solutions, such as the USB key, to differentiate us from our competitors,” he replied.

Chu confirmed that Hitachi has spoken to “all the retailers” prior to making this decision. He said that it was “too early to tell” when other retailers will have the chance to sell LifeStudio.

“We’re pretty happy about JB Hi-Fi at this stage, but we’re obviously interested in expanding our points of sale in country.”

“We’re looking to expand beyond the launch: we think there’s plenty of room, not just with one partner but multiple partners, as we’ve done in all markets across the world.

“So it won’t be an exclusivity that will extend to a longer period for future generations, this is just our first step in our go to market.”

When asked if choosing only JB Hi-Fi to sell this product was a way to hold up prices in an increasingly price driven industry, Chu said it wasn’t the primary reason.

“We looked at their interests and their fit to our value proposition and what they could bring in terms of extending the LifeStudio name out in the marketplace, we felt it was the best fit,” Chu said.

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