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?