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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Why We Don't Want Best Buy to Fail

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Last week, I traded some tweets with a friend that was looking for some advice prior to buying a new laptop.  Instead of just saying, “Buy a Mac! They’re the best!” like everyone told me when I asked for laptop advice (for the record, I bought a Sony VAIO. No regrets. YOLO, right?), I suggested that she check out The Wirecutter’s best laptop research.

The next day I asked what computer she decided on and if she had made the purchase. She tweeted back that she had read the research, decided on a model and went down to the store to make the purchase. She was a consumer, cash-in-hand, excited, ready and able to buy.

Except, it didn’t work out that way.

“I went in two stores (Best Buy and Office Depot) prepared to spend $1000 and couldn't get any help. Everyone was busy. I went to the register and asked if they had it in stock, and they said ‘Yeah, go see that guy there.’ And he was the one I had already been waiting for. Still busy. So I just left. She said, ‘Did you find him?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, but he's busy,’ and just left. I mean, if he'd looked at me and said, ‘I'll be right with you,’ it would have made a difference. But I got totally ignored. I prefer Amazon anyway so I just ordered it from Amazon. Should be here tomorrow. And I got a 3 year damage protection plan and a case too. I should walk in there with my Amazon box tomorrow and go, ‘Big mistake. BIG. HUGE. I have to shop now.’ I was so mad.”

In a nutshell, this is why brick-and-mortar stores are going out of business. People are coming in with money in hand, ready to buy, and they are not getting the level of service they expect to receive. And instead of closing a slam-dunk deal that should have been a positive experience all around, they turned the interaction into a customer that left enraged.

The end result is these stores have perpetuated the modern shopping alternative; a human-less interaction now frequently seen as preferable because an Amazon server is always there, ready and happy to take your money and complete your order.

The market consensus is also not good. Disappointing stock price, falling earnings, increased competition from "showrooming" all adds up to this Businessweek article from October of last year: "Best Buy is in trouble. In March it posted a $1.7 billion quarterly loss. Same-store sales comparisons have been declining, and a Bloomberg analysis suggests revenue will fall this year."

And while I have ragged on Best Buy in the past (here’s two great examples: Best Buy Back Not Such a Best Buy,  and Thanks, Best Buy! Couldn’t have done it without you!) I’m going to take what might be a slightly controversial position and say that, as much as we all might like to make fun of and deride them, it is actually in all our best interests that this Big Box retailer stays in business.

Here’s 6 reasons why…

Categories: July 2013, Electronics