The Future of Tech Shopping

If you’re a geeks like us when it comes to shopping for technology and you can choose what you want online based on knowing the specs of what you’re looking for- you need not read any further. In our world we are the tech 1% that knows what full-duplex and half-duplex mean. We know the difference between 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11a. What can be said for our friends who actually have social lives and aren’t as invested as us in the tech space? Best Buy appears to have the answers and according to an article from trefis.com, Best Buy is poised to grow larger in the retail technology sector. Here is the two step approach:

1.)  Create experiences, not sales

I remember from my days working at Best Buy (late 2007 – 2010) that management was always pushing trust. The sales associates and Geek Squad agents like myself were taught that nobody can survive this space going forward without earning the trust of their surrounding clientele. In that time Circuit City had recently closed and the future looked very much uncertain for Best Buy. Those of you living around Illinois might remember that Tiger Direct was also competing in that space and HH Greg was preparing to open 10 stores in the Chicagoland location. Best Buy sculpted a sales model that focused not on a high volume of profitable transactions but instead focused around listening to the needs of the customers and identifying what products Best Buy could offer that fits the lifestyle of the customer. That was then. Today’s Best Buy has changed radically and the emphasis for product knowledge among sales associates is the highest its ever been (even though that’s not saying much). The realities are that manufacturers need spaces to sell their identities as the focus in today’s tech market is to gain subscriptions and daily users to guarantee the survival of their brand. For this reason Best Buy has opened their doors to work in-house with brands like Samsung, Apple, and LG that can set up powerful store Demo’s for the sake of offering a limited ownership experience to the client. Say you walk into Best Buy to get some wearable technology, but you’re not a geek who follows the development of things like that. Best Buy has set up in many store locations a whole station devoted to Fitbits and Garmin heart rate monitors to help you identify which product is best for you. In other words, Best Buy is going to meet the online shoppers half way. They must have identified that most customers don’t have the product knowledge to make good decisions about what to buy online, so they need to see the product and get a demo in store, and for that they will pay only slightly more. Presumably the Geek Squad is in-house to fix the things you then break over time.

2.) Online Sales Growth

The internet has in many ways destroyed the retail landscape and continues to do so. Many retail stores are migrating to superwarehouses and financing smaller store spaces to show off their product lines in the tech space. For many years speculators have believed that stores like ours would not survive unless we turned into a high-tech boutique that offers special hard to find products at a premium. Best Buy is not worried about this and over the years they have developed their business in such ways that they can now offer a lot of refurbished and open box items online and in many cases can ship them to your store for in-store pickup at no extra cost. Online is really where the money’s at these days when it comes to technology so branding and ease of use are critical. Best Buy has a well organized system in place already that allows them to keep marching ahead where other’s may struggle with branding.

Needless to say, I don’t work at Best Buy anymore and I can’t say I particularly like them, but they are doing a lot of things the right way these days which they were doing the wrong way in 2008. If you want to get proper computer repair and education without enormous price tags and a ton of corner cutting, don’t waste your time there. That’s the space Zombie Techs is in and we’ve been around for 5 years now because we can beat their pricing, service, and we will perform a lot of repairs that they won’t touch in-house.

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