Best Buy's CEO: Online, or over the line?

  • Article by: THOMAS LEE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 14, 2012 - 4:15 PM

A candid and extensive blog post raises questions about how far executives should go in answering critics.

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  • Comments

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ranger1873Jan. 14, 1210:54 PM

The fact of the matter is that I can go to a Best Buy store, look for items, and then buy them on Amazon for less. Until Best Buy figures out a way to stop being Amazon's showroom, they've got issues.

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tfischbachJan. 14, 1211:34 PM

Best Buy has to wake up and realize that they are no longer an electronics store. The only problem, they don't know it yet. They must develop a plan that lowers their exposure in electronics to 30% of their total business in 10 years. They need to sell groceries (I would suggest organic food similar to a Trader Joe's), have a liquor store on site, dry cleaner, coffee shop, cafe...etc). Best Buy's only hope is to reinvent themselves. They can do it and they should hire me to lead the way.

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mn_cameraJan. 14, 1211:46 PM

Best Buy also has employees who are nuisances in the store with their sales pressure, and generally does not treat customers as anything other than inconveniences, albeit inconveniences with money to grab.

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fenderu2Jan. 15, 1212:20 AM

I read the Forbes article and many of the negative comments thereafter. I do agree the sales people can be annoying, especially with Direct TV, but I don't think BB will ever go out of business. They are the last man standing in most markets, but especially here in MN, with Ultimate and Circuit City closing. The only complaint I have with Best Buy is they really don't carry much high end audio. Amazon is ok, but I still don't envision myself buying a big pair of speakers or TV from any internet seller unless I'm saving $300 or >. Best Buy will have to shrink it's store size going forward, which I've heard they are doing. I'm guilty of browsing locally and buying on line as it is human nature to want to save money, but it's going to be a shame if one day we can't go look at and debut stuff in a store. Just buy online and hope for the best???

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greatxJan. 15, 1212:28 AM

I can't vouch for Amazon, as I always felt that Best Buy was a TigerDirect physical store...

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baxlash04Jan. 15, 12 6:26 AM

On December 13th 2011 we had ordered several items from BestBuy.com for a combined birthday-Christmas gift. A week, or so after placing the order we received an email from Best Buy explaining that some of the items we had ordered are on "back order" and will be shipped in about two weeks. Please keep in mind that when we ordered this there were many, many "out of stock" items on the website. and, that every item that was selected for our order was "available and ready for shipping" according to the website. This was very upsetting news, but we understood that things happen and that we would just have to wait. Thursday, January 12, 2012 - we received another email from Best Buy. Informing us that one of the items we ordered is "no longer available" and that our order has been "canceled" by Best Buy. After getting this email we immediately contacted customer service, they informed us that there is nothing they can do since the items are no longer available, so we contacted the manufacturer of the product and was informed that the items are still being made and being sold worldwide. We checked again with Best Buy and they could not answer why if they still were dealing with the manufacturer, why they could not make the item available. We had to spend a gift less Christmas and a gift less birthday thanks to Best Buy.

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essdee09Jan. 15, 12 6:58 AM

BB being "Amazon's showroom" is not BB's problem -- it is a people problem.

Whatever the product selection of TVs and computers and dishwashers is like, BB has to unpack and display one of each in every store. Amazon doesn't. Regardless of anyone's opinion of the BB sales staff, BB hires dozens of people to work at each store. Amazon doesn't. When you go to BB to "inspect" the merch, you expect to find a parking spot, plowed in winter and free of potholes and biting dogs. I'll bet the parking lot at Amazon's HQ in Seattle is smaller than even the tiny BB near Southdale. Park at your own risk.

BB has lots of expenses Amazon does not, just so you can get your hands on the product you want to buy. For you to take advantage of a brick and mortar store without paying your share of those expenses is -- frankly -- stealing. And it certainly does not keep BB in business for the next piece of electronics or appliances you want to buy.

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myfathurtsJan. 15, 12 7:16 AM

Spent $1000+ on a major appliance this week. Best Buy actually had a better price (albeit slightly) on the unit that Lowes & Sears. Lowes could deliver it within 24 hours, Sears in 3 days, Best Buy told me they could it to me in two weeks.

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kirby96Jan. 15, 12 9:00 AM

Well, seeing as how Best Buy is the one is losing sales, I would say that being Amazon's show room IS Best Buy's problem. That said, the poster above is right. The 'shop at Best Buy, purchase from Amazon' model is great for the consumer. ...Until there is no more Best Buy. Unfortunately, it's pretty unlikely that we can chanege human nature. However, we CAN quit subsidizing Amazon's business by implementing the on-line sales tax. This gives Amazon an immediate 7+% price advantage, which in retail is HUGE. The time for the sales tax break online is long past. Clearly on-line retailing has grown to be a viable sales channel and does not need the subsidy any longer.

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mrdurdenumdJan. 15, 12 9:01 AM

mn_camera, BBY's "Employee problems" are because of management (I am one of the posters in the Forbes article and stand by the validity of my statement). Management dictates that these people put the pressure on for margin-enhancing services like protection plans, partnership services, and whatnot. BBY' first problem store-wise is too many chiefs, not enough indians. Their management layer is ridiculous. This makes for really, really bad ideas that come down and flow back up to corporate.

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