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Bye Bye Best Buy?

Circuit City has come and gone. The Shack isn’t doing so hot. You would think that their business is getting swallowed up by a big box electronics retailer like Best Buy, but that doesn’t appear to be the case either. In fact, it’s quite possible that Best Buy could be completely calling it quits in “a few more years.”

That’s the notion being put forth by Larry Downes of Forbes Magazine. Despite the slow bleed out from other electronic competitors, Best Buy actually saw its market share drop with a corresponding 40% drop in stock value last year. WSJ said that the “worst is yet to come” for Best Buy.

But why is that? One idea put forth has to do with customer service. You can generally categorize customers in one of two groups. There are the self-service types who know exactly what they want and don’t need any help. These are the folks that may rather turn to online shopping, or in the case of my local Vancouver area, a store like NCIX. Then, there are the folks who do want some customer service and guidance. The trouble is that Best Buy isn’t providing “customer service,” according to Downes. It’s “anti-service” because the associates are too busy upselling, suggestive selling, and cross-selling. That’s “in lieu of actual training on either the products or effective sales.”

And let’s not forget about the Apple Store. Best Buy has run out of that unique selling proposition, it seems, and it’s just going to be a slow and gradual death with customers leaking out to other channels. What do you think? Is Best Buy joining Circuit City to the pits? What can it do to attract customers again? Or will it be deemed “too big to fail” and get a government bailout?  What’s your experience at Best Buy?



About Michael Kwan

A freelance writer and tech geek from Vancouver. Find me at michaelkwan.com and follow me on Twitter @michaelkwan.

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  1. Best buy’s prices are to high you can just go online and find the same thing cheaper or at another store.

  2. Best buy provides a necessity to the consumer base that buys in its speciality. Where else are you going to go to go for the hands on consumer electronic? Walmart could never compete in that space and the online space is what it is. Best buy as an organization is more fluid than those compared in this article. If best buy dies it is based on the consumer no longer needing the hands on experience with the electronic world

    • The problem here is that people browse in the store, and then buy online from cheaper alternatives like Amazon. That is part of the reason that the book retail industry is dying. Someone will go to a Barnes and Noble and flip through a book that they heard about, but then go online to buy it.

  3. Is it crazy that Amazon would buy Best Buy…?

  4. Actually Best Buy does not have a restocking fee on most items, take a minute and actually read on that Costco computer!

    • Apparently they removed the restocking fees one year ago.  Apologies for not keeping up on the return policies of a company I no longer choose to do business with.

    • Download Price Check App by Amazon.

      Enough Said.

      I used to work there and I never bother with employee discount or ask a manager for a discount.
      I just walked over and scan with one click patent technology from Amazon I bought what I needed.

      I saw customer do it all the time specially in TV.
      I left in good terms and having against them but conviences is conviences and saving money is saving money

  5. I’m not a fan of Best Buy (BB), and I’ve only ever shopped there when I’ve needed something right away and when Staples doesn’t carry it (cables, SD card, etc.).  They have a terrible restocking fee for many items, so that if the sales person tells you something is compatible and it turns out they were wrong, you can’t return the item without a penalty even though it’s not your fault.  BB employees are also always hitting you up for their extended service agreements, just to squeeze a few more dollars out of you.  The only good thing about BB is that you can look at the items in person to judge the dimensions or quality of build of whatever you’re interested in—they you buy it online from someone else.

    For major electronic purchases (computers, TVs, etc.) I prefer Costco.  They have a good selection and an unbeatable return policy.  Once my laptop gave out in the middle of an academic quarter and I desperately needed it replaced that day.  I walked right past the BB into the Costco, which are next door to each other, and bought a new laptop from Costco without hesitation.

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