Today, Best Buy
While my colleague Stephen Simpson agrees that the company's doing an admirable job, he's a lot tougher sell than I am. While I'm still on the fence with the company, it recently began one program that sounded to me like it could have huge potential. It was summarized recently in The New York Times and TheWall Street Journal. The articles discuss pilot projects aimed at specific niche customers: Smaller stores of varying design, maybe something warm and nookish for soccer moms who feel overwhelmed by the usual blaring bass (Studio D), and something steel and slick (Escape) for the alpha tech nerds.
In other words, one size won't fit all.
It's about time that the big-bricks retailers relearned this lesson. After elbowing out most of the small mom 'n' pop competition through operational efficiencies and low prices, they seem to have forgotten that there were some advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way. Knowing your customers counts, especially if you want to have a meaningful advantage over your competitors in an era where cheap prices are just a mouse click away.
In this respect, it's ironic that many e-commerce companies have been able to provide more personalized service, though it's filtered through a stack of servers. Netflix
Which gets me back to wondering whether Best Buy's boutiques couldn't really take off. I'll be honest -- though I love gawking at new gadgets, big-box prices are rarely enough to get me to go to the big-box store. If a Best Buy or a Circuit City
- Buy Best Buy, or say goodbye?
- Review the pointy end of technology.
- I'm not the only Fool who thinks, "it's the customer, stupid!"