Will a New Head Geek Help Best Buy ‘Renew Blue’?
While much of the press attention on Best Buy has been focused on the company’s store-within-a-store initiative and looking to smooth out the seams that mark its brick and click businesses, very little has been paid to the Geek Squad. The most recent piece of significant news was that Best Buy was pulling out of its test of Geek Squad members at Target stores. The consensus was that Best Buy took the action so it could hold onto one part of its business that made it unique in the marketplace.
Now comes word that Best Buy has hired a former NCR, Lenovo and Dell executive to lead its services unit. Priority number one for Christopher Askew, the aforementioned hire, will be to generate greater profits from the Geek Squad.
Mr. Askew’s hiring, according to a statement by Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly, "Shows the importance of the Geek Squad to our overall Renew Blue transformation. Our more than 20,000 Geek Squad agents represent a unique competitive advantage for Best Buy."
A Star Tribune article maintains that one of Mr. Askew’s priorities will be to make the Geek Squad an IT resource for businesses. His background appears to lend itself more to business operations than the consumer services on which the Geek Squad has so far made its name. While business services may represent an opportunity, there is plenty of competition, primarily from hardware manufacturers, in the space already.
Another line of thinking, written about by The Wall Street Journal, is that Mr. Askew is being brought in to make the Geek Squad work more effectively within Best Buy stores. The retailer’s move to branded shops within its stores also includes a help desk called Solution Center. Like the Apple Store with its Geniuses, Best Buy puts Geek Squad members behind a desk to help consumers with a variety of issues
- New Geek Squad chief may signal Best Buy push into business services – Star Tribune (tiered sub.)
- Best Buy Hires Executive to Revamp Geek Squad – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Will Best Buy See Big Returns From Overhauling its Stores and Website? – RetailWire
- What Now With Geeks Out at Target? – RetailWire
Where do you think the Geek Squad has the best opportunity to drive revenues and profits for Best Buy? Is there value in pursuing the business services market in addition to the Squad’s traditional role serving consumer needs?