Best Buy’s Experiments
By George Anderson
Best Buy isn’t afraid to try new things. The consumer electronics chain has set its sights on becoming more customer-centric and it has been willing to test a number of new store concepts knowing, at worse, there may be learning that it can apply in its big box stores.
Stephen Baker, director of industry analysis at NPD Techworld, said, “Not everything is applicable or transferable, but you try to roll out as much as you can into the big stores.”
The consumer electronics consumer has changed significantly in the past 10 years and, with stores such as Studio d, Eq-life and Escape, Mr. Baker said Best Buy is able to focus on specific segments to gain insights into those who may or may not be currently shopping in its full line stores.
Studio d, for example, focuses on providing education and personal service in helping consumers determine the right product for them. The store, located in Naperville, Ill., runs classes and provides individual instruction for digital cameras. The goal, said Mr. Baker, is to create “an experiential environment around preserving memories.”
Another of Best Buy’s testing laboratories, Escape, is targeted to young male video gamers. Eq-life has products that are intended to appeal to aging baby boomers.
Moderator’s Comment: What can Best Buy learn from separate concept stores that it cannot learn from tinkering with tests in its existing big box locations?
Is the chain succeeding in achieving its stated goal of becoming a customer centric organization? –
George Anderson – Moderator