Best Buy knows tech. What about fitness?

Discussion
Photo: Best Buy
Jun 19, 2019
George Anderson

Best Buy announced that it has added connected home exercise devices to bestbuy.com and that it plans to display and sell the products in more than 100 stores by the end of the year as a part of the chain’s health and wellness focus.

The retailer is carrying a number of well-known fitness equipment brands, including Flywheel Home Bikes, NormaTec compression recovery systems, Hydrow’s connected rowing machines and NordicTrack connected treadmills. Many of the products will connect fitness trainers with home exercisers to help keep them motivated and moving toward their personal goals.

Best Buy is providing special training to its Blue Shirt in-store associates and in-home advisors so they’ll better understand how to advise customers on making the most of the equipment they purchase. Best Buy’s Geek Squad will handle installation of the equipment in customers’ homes. Members of the retailer’s total tech support program receive a 20 percent discount off this service.

“We know there’s a growing intersection between fitness and technology, and no one knows tech like we do,” said Jason Bonfig, Best Buy’s chief merchandising officer, in a statement. “We’ve promised our customers we’ll help enrich their lives, including their health and wellness, by using technology. This is a great example of how we’re living up to that commitment.”

The move into connected home fitness equipment is a natural progression from Best Buy’s sales of items such as activity trackers and smart scales. The company also recently began selling telehealth tech, such as Tyto Care’s remote care devices, to connect consumers with healthcare providers. Last summer, Best Buy acquired GreatCall, a maker of medical alert devices and Jitterbug cell phones that are designed to help senior citizens live more independently.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect Best Buy to be successful with its move into connected fitness equipment? What will this mean for other retailers competing in the fitness equipment category?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Few retailers, other than the brands themselves, can do this category justice. Best Buy has the ecosystem to make it come to life."
"A closer look here would surely reveal that Best Buy has greatly romanced a large population ripe for this mix addition."
"For Best Buy the move makes sense, it’s part of a wider strategy to offer services and products that help consumers create better lives."

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12 Comments on "Best Buy knows tech. What about fitness?"


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Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

This makes perfect sense for Best Buy. They are known for in-home technology (TVs, music, computers, communication, IoT, etc.), and as fitness equipment and technology blend together, it’s a natural extension.

This means another choice for the consumer, which will put other retailers selling fitness equipment on notice for competitive prices, well trained salespeople, and a value added experience that keeps them competitive.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Best Buy has the physical space, the customer traffic, and the expertise to make a success of connected fitness. It also has access to a slightly older demographic that may not venture into traditional sports or fitness retailers. For Best Buy the move makes sense, it’s part of a wider strategy to offer services and products that help consumers create better lives.

The threat here is inevitably for players like Dick’s. While Best Buy may not has such an extensive range as sports rivals, it will have a reasonably curated range, strong service, and sharp pricing, That said, I see much less of a threat to more specialist players like Peloton.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Fitness equipment seems to be a natural extension to C-E products. Best Buy should do well with this category and other retailers should beware and make sure that Best Buy does not eat their lunch.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

It’s all about the intersection between tech and various segments of our lifestyle. Best Buy is a go-to retailer not just because of the products they carry, but because of their ability to teach the customer how best to use those products. Best Buy is a learning and service center, not just a seller of stuff. Their recent acquisitions and now this step into tech-enabled fitness is a smart evolutionary move.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Simply a brilliant innovative move by the Best Buy team, as the lines between the digital, fitness and healthy lifestyle worlds are blurring. Best Buy has mounted such an impressive comeback, which has helped to squash the false retail apocalypse narrative. The move to carrying fitness equipment in-store represents another step of the evolution, innovation, and growth of the Best Buy brand, led by Corie Barry and the customer experience-focused management team.

The expansion of the Best Buy brand into new customer-focused services and now a fitness solution has been stimulated by the renaissance of the in-store and digital shopping experiences. As discussed with Carl Boutet, considering how successful this program is, the Best Buy team should consider opening smaller scale connected “Geek Pulse” fitness centers/showrooms.

UItimately, this will allow the Best Buy team to tie together their smart home and digital health tracker solutions, along with the fitness offerings from Flywheel etc.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

This is an easy one. Yes, they will be successful. It will take some training of sales personnel, but Best Buy has accomplished that well in every category.

Strategically, Best Buy is the consumer’s connection to everything connected. Do not be surprised to see Best Buy morph into the connected home store.

Carol Spieckerman
BrainTrust

Smart and very in-brand move for Best Buy as fitness goes high tech. Best Buy’s suite of services and Geek Squad set-up capabilities bring real differentiation and will break barriers to adoption. Few retailers, other than the brands themselves, can do this category justice. Best Buy has the ecosystem to make it come to life.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Makes sense. We have all seen someone on exercise equipment television ads that continually have a television in front of them. A closer look here would surely reveal that Best Buy has greatly romanced a large population ripe for this mix addition. And I’ve said it before: the service and knowledge of Best Buy’s staff members never fails to impress me. For me, this adds up to a big positive.

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Good for Best Buy. Connected fitness equipment is exciting. Buying fitness equipment should absolutely be a seamless experience. Browsing, physically testing, product information and delivery. Mom and pop stores and order-online brands should definitely take note, Best Buy could become the category leader and killer in connected fitness from apparel to high tech equipment, almost immediately!

Bill Hanifin
BrainTrust

Best Buy has been brilliant in turning the threat of “showrooming” to its own advantage. The experiential nature of the shopping experience in Best Buy stores is attractive enough to entice customers to make a destination trip and browse products of interest.

Any product that is higher-ticket and whose sale can be reinforced through in-person demo and trial is perfect to be added into the Best Buy environment. Fitness equipment falls into this category.

Could we see e-tailers like Peloton co-locate showrooms for its products in Best Buy stores in the future? At a minimum it provides another sales channel. Going deeper, it is a lower cost path to brick and mortar exposure for DTC fitness brands like Peloton.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

After a bit of a training curve for employees, Best Buy has an opportunity to expand this space effectively. They know tech, but they have to learn fitness. One concern would be around assortment and brand variety as customers looking for equipment will take the time to compare and contrast $1000+ merchandise. Will the selection be large enough?

Specialty retailers already in this space will see limited drawdown, but those that don’t have an active physical trainer in the store showcasing the benefits of the product will be challenged.

Mark Price
BrainTrust

Technology associated with fitness is a good business for Best Buy. The question is whether fitness equipment specifically is a reasonable adjacency to the BBY brand. Not sure consumers will make the connection or whether or not BBY is credible in this field. 50/50.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Few retailers, other than the brands themselves, can do this category justice. Best Buy has the ecosystem to make it come to life."
"A closer look here would surely reveal that Best Buy has greatly romanced a large population ripe for this mix addition."
"For Best Buy the move makes sense, it’s part of a wider strategy to offer services and products that help consumers create better lives."

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