Will the largest consumer electronics specialty retailer successfully reinvent itself and shine again despite its current string of problems? Or will it go the way of former big-box giant Circuit City?
The topic has mesmerized the dot-com news world, pundits, investors, advisers and consumers alike for the better part of the last year.
On the thumbs-down side: Yes, online-only retailers are selling the same products for less. And “everyone” claims the big-box approach to retailing is dead.
But Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn recently told CNBC that when a customer walks into one of his stores looking to make a purchase "we love our odds every time."
On the thumbs-up side: Dunn believes his 1,100-plus big-box stores and 180,000 employees are assets that drive sales as the company pursues a "bricks and clicks" strategy. "Online is really important," he said. "But by itself, it's not going to be sufficient, just as bricks by itself is not going to be sufficient. Where those things come together is really going to matter for this industry."
Our free advice: Best Buy is starting to talk the talk. It needs to give customers a smooth, integrated experience in any shopping channel. See our case study for a major retailer on how predictive modeling can help analyze interrelationships and drive a unified business plan across channels. By using its data to learn more about its customers both in-store and online, Best Buy can deliver the right message and merchandise via the right delivery point at the right time.
Even though shoppers in Best Buy stores are often using smartphones to compare prices, the bottom line is, it’s not all about price. It’s all about customer knowledge and balance.