Best Buy CEO-For-Now Promises Change, End To Showrooming

Best Buy has been shaken up by the recent, unexpected departures of both CEO Brian “My Work Here Is” Dunn and company founder Richard “I Need a Better Nickname” Schulze. And interim CEO Mike Mikan says more changes are coming to the electronics retailer.

Speaking at the annual meeting this morning in Richfield, Minn., Mikan told shareholders that the first thing Best Buy needs to do is figure out how to curb showrooming, the growing practice of using bricks-and-mortar retailers as a place to check out items that will eventually be purchased online.

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the company will be providing “new intensive induction” to 50,000 Best Buy employees at a training center in Minnesota starting in August.

“We have to invest in employees by giving them more training and better tools to maximize what they can offer for our customers,” explained Mikan.

Best Buy will continue to try to pare back the mammoth retail footprint that it spent the better part of the last decade expanding.

While Mikan says Best Buy is a “personalized technology solutions” company, it is also looking to make more business-to-business arrangements — like tech support contract between Geek Squad and the AARP — to bolster revenue.

And yet, while Mikan and others are praising change, Best Buy employees are still busy making the same head-scratchingly bad upsells.

Anxiety and questions at Best Buy annual meeting [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

Best Buy Committed to Change, CEO Says [NY Times]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Coffee says:

    For now, Best Buy is keeping quiet about the new “You touch it, you buy it” that it will institute this holiday season, and thus far, speculation about the details pertaining thereto has been fruitless.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      All small electronics such as ear buds, batteries and thumb-drives will now be stored in a refrigerator in a hotel room like setting. As soon as you touch the thumb-drive you will be billed for it even if you put it back.

      • HomerSimpson says:

        Same with the TVs…you watch more than a few seconds and you own it, bud!

      • Coffee says:

        Also, effective Thanksgiving, they will only be carrying Monster ear buds, batteries, thumb-drives, etc.

  2. Smiley Massacre says:

    How about price-match with internet retailers. That’ll make things a bit better, but just a bit.

    • Jawaka says:

      They wouldn’t do that because they’d lose money. The main purpose of a company is to make a profit.

      • gman863 says:

        Fry’s does match Internet pricing in their retail stores, based on the item’s total price (including shipping).

    • BurtReynolds says:

      At least make it close. I think people would be willing to pay a bit more for convenience, but when you see a TV for $200 less online, you are going to head for the door. Make that difference $50, and someone might pay for the “now” factor.

      • hansolo247 says:

        agree, but then you need it delivered, and it starts unraveling fast.

        • BurtReynolds says:

          I actually bought my last TV from BB (price was actually lower than online, and I needed a huge rear projection taken away) and I’m pretty sure the delivery was free.

    • LastError says:

      They won’t have to price match when BB carries TV HD5021BB and everybody else has HD5021AA. It’s not the same item, you see. Even if it IS, it’s not.

    • MurderGirl says:

      I’ve gotten prices matches at Best Buy from Amazon, Newegg, and Buy.com

    • kouotsu says:

      The managers at my store always insist that they’d rather match an online price than have you walk out with nothing, so it’s certainly worth asking. Stores don’t make much off of TV’s or PC’s in the first place, though. It’s the cables and other accessories that they profit from.

  3. WalterSinister2 says:

    While showrooming is a real problem, I have my doubts about how they are going to fix it. Hold the customer at gunpoint if he looks at a TV and doesn’t buy it?

    • Smiley Massacre says:

      They could install moveable walkways throughout the whole store, and if anyone tries to walk backwards they’ll be sprayed with water and hit with long sticks.

      • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

        That’s probably part of the “new intensive induction” effort. Employees will now be equipped with sticks and hoses.

    • bdgbill says:

      The best cure for showrooming is having the product in stock and having an employee available when it’s time to go get it. Having a pimply faced Blue Shirt telling me I need a Core i7 to surf the net while I’m trying to make a decision will only push me out of the store before I buy.

      • Jawaka says:

        Having 100 units of a specific product in stock is great for the customer but not so great to the retailer if only 25 of them sell before the upgraded version comes out. At that point the retailer just took a loss on 75 items which is why they don’t usually stock 100 units of most items.

        And the employee thing varies depending on who you ask. it seems like most people want the sales reps to be completely invisible… until they want them and then God forbid they be helping another customer.

        • Nikephoros says:

          There is an entire branch of every major retail business dedicated to making sure inventory logistics are done properly so there are neither shortages nor gluts. It’s not a perfect system, but the scenario you describe very rarely happens.

    • Costner says:

      What they will do is contact with companies to sell exclusive products. So basically electronics sales will soon resemble trying to comparison shop mattresses.

      For example, Best Buy will sell a Samsung television with model number XYZZ55. However that same model will not be sold anywhere else. It will be a custom build for Best Buy and Best Buy alone, so if you try to comparison shop that same model on Amazon, you will come up empty.

      Amazon (and other online retailers) will sell a TV which is very similar, but it will have a few minor software changes, maybe one less connection on the rear, a remote control with two fewer buttons, and the model number will be XZYY55 which will make price matching and 1 to 1 comparisons all but impossible.

      People who are well versed with electronics will be able to do comparisons just as people who understand beds can compare mattresses from several different stores… but people who are clueless will no longer be able to comparison shop with their smartphones, and since they can’t find the same exact product on Amazon for $300 less… they will probably be more apt to buy the TV from Best Buy.

      • Jawaka says:

        Isn’t this already the case? I know that HP/Compaq have been making specific models of computers that were unique to Walmart for years now.

        • Sudonum says:

          Yeah, there was a Samsung laptop I was looking at that was a BB “exclusive”. Highly rated on cnet, great features, but only available at BB. I passed. Found one with almost identical hardware on Newegg and bought it there.

      • gman863 says:

        Same thing Circuit City did back in their heyday and Lowes and Home Depot do now on major appliances.

        For example, Lowe’s may have a GE washing machine model WWR2000ABCD. Home Depot has a model with identical features, model WWR2000BBCD. Since it’s not the same model #, no price match guarantees have to be honored.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        That’s what I would do. The company should buy more models that are exclusive or under a Best Buy house brand. If these stores want to go one on one with their competitors there will be winners and losers.

      • bluline says:

        I used to work for a major consumer electronics manufacturer (hint: we had a logo that featured a dog listening to a grammophone, or whatever those things were called). Many of our national account customers wanted, and got, proprietary model numbers and feature sets that made it all but impossible to comparison shop. And that was long before smart phones, tablets, and other such devices were even thought of. It’s an effective strategy for a retailer, but a pain in the butt for the manufacturer since they must alter their production runs to accommodate this demand.

      • incident_man says:

        I believe that Wal-Mart already does that sort of thing vis-a-vis model numbers.

    • Real Cheese Flavor says:

      They’re going to install 3G/4G jamming technology so that you can’t use your phone/tablet to comparison shop while in the store.

      Kidding aside, I would much rather buy from a physical store. First and foremost is the whole immediate gratification thing but returning things is also a lot less hassle (provided the store has decent customer service).

      However most of the time Best Buy’s (or any other retail store) items are priced so high that buying online would still be the less expensive option even if the online retailer was going to charge sales tax and shipping.

  4. CTrees says:

    Curbing showrooming? I.e., the only reason I go to Best Buy? I see two ways:
    -Provide better pricing than the online retailers, so I buy there
    -Remove my ability to go and play and see how I like things, removing any reason for me to come through the door.

    • JJFIII says:

      It always cracks me up ho people say “I’d be willing to pay more for better service/quality” , but the first thing out of their mouths is, “GIVE ME A LOWER PRICE.”

      • mikedt says:

        In most cases I don’t need “more” service. I generally know more about a product I’m buying than the people working at any store. Anything above a couple bucks I research. What I need is a low price, and a warranty/refund program that is up front, honest and not riddled with loopholes that they can worm their way out of.

        Go ahead and have a Geek Squad, lots of people need it, but do it honestly. Don’t rip off grandma. Don’t sell backups and then trash a hd and say the backup didn’t work. Don’t allow employees to offload customer data onto personal thumb drives. Don’t sell and lie about what an extended warranty/service plan really covers. In other words, don’t be a dick.

      • jefeloco says:

        I will pay more for quality service, but unfortunately for Best Buy that is pretty much on a case to case basis. I have bought a few things at my local BB here and there because there were semi-knowledgable people working at the time, but those are far overshadowed by the times where nose-picking dorks were all hovering around the hot girl looking at a phone cover and none were willing to go to the backroom to get what I wanted.

        Best Buy fails at most things, this is no exception.

      • CTrees says:

        Honestly? I’m not the average consumer. I’m tech savvy. I do my research ahead of time. I like using Best Buy as a showroom, because I can go there and feel things for myself. See how a mouse fits in my hand, check out the build quality of a laptop for myself. I’m not the sort of person your statement really applies to, at least with regards to electronics – I don’t WANT the extra services, I don’t want people who know less about the merchandise than I do to give me “advice.” If we’re talking restaurants? Yeah, I’ll pay more for better service/quality. Best Buy? The ONLY place they can compete for my money is pricing or impulse buys (based on being in the store for showrooming), so…

        Regardless, whatever assumptions you may be able to make about my initial comment? I said not a word about paying more for better service or quality there, so your response to me was misplaced (I did say something on that order to Blueskylaw, but with the qualifier that Best Buy, with their staff, couldn’t possibly qualify as adding that sort of value (which implies that they MUST compete on pricing)).

      • who? says:

        There *is* a segment of the market who will pay for quality. It’s a small, but profitable market segment. Best Buy, however, doesn’t play in that segment. Their whole business model (and hence the name “Best Buy”) is based on competing on price. They’re already sunk, because with the internet, they can’t compete on price, either.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    “Best Buy is a “personalized technology solutions” company”

    What is it with corporations and nebulous statements such as this? This is not how normal people talk. I never went to a store and said: Excuse me kind salesperson, I’m looking for a personalized technology solution to my problem. What makes it personalized anyways? A salesperson talking to you? A modem with your name engraved on it? Cut it out with the bullsh*t corporate speak and just say we try to sell you things.

    • The Twilight Clone says:

      Because the more complicated it sounds, the more CEOs can use it to justify their existences.

    • CTrees says:

      Actually, my job is buying thhings, and I have vendors who could accurately be described as “personalized technology solutions compan[ies].” And they’re fantastic. People to whom I can say, “I need these servers, designed from the ground up, to fit in this thermal profile, this space, work with these add-ons, and support this hardware.”

      Best Buy is not one of those companies.

    • PunditGuy says:

      The move away from selling “products” to selling “solutions” makes sense for companies that want to avoid the commoditization of their offerings. It’s a way of justifying something approaching the old margins they’re used to.

      In terms of personalized solutions in the world of small tech, this isn’t so hard to envision. No, they’re not going to monogram your modem — but they may ask questions to determine what your modem needs are. Are you a gamer? You want something that doesn’t eat CPU cycles. Are you someone who only checks email once a day? You probably want the cheapest thing you can get away with.

      The value they’re looking to provide is to perform the research on the actual products for you, so you don’t have to. That won’t work for the portion of consumers who are particularly savvy about tech, but it’ll serve the muddy middle very well if they pull it off in a way that comes off as genuinely knowledgeable, friendly, and useful.

      In other words, about a 180-degree turn from their current operations.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        “The move away from selling “products” to selling “solutions” makes sense for companies”

        So if I need to put a nail into a wall, the old company would want to sell me a product which would be the hammer. What would they sell me if they switched from products to solutions? That’s right, a HAMMER!!!

        All they did is re-name a hammer from a product to a solution.

      • BurtReynolds says:

        Yes, the problem with selling “solutions”, like higher end A/V stores do, is that you need a competent sales team to do it.

        I’d imagine their ideal “solutions” scenario is this: Guy comes in to buy a TV. Find out what the guy really wants: complete home theater. Work with customer to build a home theater. You just turned your bare TV sale into a TV, blu-ray player, AVR, speakers, speaker wire, cables, and of course a copy of Avatar or something to try it out on. Don’t forget the Geek Squad install service.

        In my experience, the average BB employee is unequipped to do that. The TV kid barely knows TVs and spits out advertising terms like 1080p and the “number of hertz” like it is all that matters. Ask him about a good home theater receiver and he’d probably have to find someone else. If you go to a “boutique” place where I bought my Monitor Audio speakers, you don’t have to talk to 5 people to put together a home theater. Every salesman is knowledgeable about speakers, receivers, amps, subs, mounts, TVs, blu-ray players, etc.

        It is like finding a good mechanic. A good mechanic might not be the $15 oil change, but he will notice when your car is making a noise that needs attention and is able to make the repair right the first time. The $15 oil change has some guy who is barely a “mechanic” doing the work and you are lucky if he can change the oil without something going wrong, never mind noticing that your CV boot is torn while he is under there.

    • cyberbird168 says:

      I think what it translate is to:
      No more extended warranty push to a battery/dvd movie/beef jerky/bubble gum.
      No more brand new PC (each one of the computer sell at best buy come with personalized crap ware/boat ware and optimized for you).

      And to fight the showroom situation, there will be no actual products on the sale floor. You can check out what they have in store by looking at their Product Information Card. If you want to buy it, all you need to do it grab the product card to the cashier and they will bring the product out from the back to you at the cashier. No more touching.

    • kouotsu says:

      I hate that corporate buzzword use of “solutions” in general. According to every business in the country we’re all just a bunch of people with a bunch of problems!

    • Chet Coenen says:

      Its funny, but Officemax has been doing this for a long time and we’ve been doing much better then Best Buy, comparitively. We might not have as many stores or making as much revenue, but at least we aren’t absolutely failing.

      However, I’ll agree with the whole “Total Solutions” crap. It’s a bit insane how they have everything tied up in that.

  6. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    More training and better tools are fine, but how about more money and benefits? Some dude making minimum wage simply isn’t going to care no matter how much training and tools you give him.

    • Jayrandom says:

      Someone isn’t going to care because you pay him more. Paying more means you have more choice in hiring someone who might actually be qualified and more ability to keep around the people that are successful and get rid of those who aren’t.

      I don’t think Best Buy’s model supports that, though. Expensive service at increased prices is a smaller niche and Best Buy is just too big. There are certainly some people willing to pay more for top-notch service and support, but I don’t think there are enough.

      • dwtomek says:

        Really? You are honestly going to try to claim that pay has no correlation to job satisfaction? You are a strange bird.

        • Sudonum says:

          There are multiple studies that prove him right, but they don’t pay me enough to look for them.

        • Jayrandom says:

          First, I said nothing about job satisfaction, only about job performance (i.e. caring). Second, I did claim there was a correlation but that it wasn’t a direct one.

          I was claiming that for a job you have, you’re probably not going to be any better at it or try any harder if you suddenly get a 10% raise. That being said, if the wage is 10% higher at place A than place B, then it’s likely that place A will be able to keep and attract better workers than place B (all else being equal between the two). That would indeed provide for a correlation between pay and performance but not a direct causation. It’s possible that you might start worrying more about getting fired if you’ve got a better-than-market wage and that could motivate you, but that’s definitely conditional on the company making it clear that increased money is for increased performance coupled with improved means of assessing that performance.

          I didn’t think it was that subtle an argument but I guess I didn’t explain myself very thoroughly.

    • Jawaka says:

      But then their prices would have to be even higher.

      Brick and mortar companies that have to pay for employees, a retail presence, utilities, etc just aren’t going to be able to compete with online retailers who can offer rock bottom prices.

  7. Zelgadis says:

    Oh man… I’ve worked retail before, and anytime I ever here the words, “invest in employees,” I know that the bullshit train is pulling into the station and it ain’t loaded with money.

    • slightlyjaded says:

      “Oh man… I’ve worked retail before, and anytime I ever here the words, “invest in employees,” I know that the bullshit train is pulling into the station and it ain’t loaded with money.”

      This is the best thing I’ve read today, hands down. Excellent work.

    • HDTVTECH says:

      I LOVE this. Might be the best quote accurately describing corporate psychobabble that I’ve ever heard. Although to me “invest in employees” usually equates to “Bend over. And NO you don’t get any Vaseline!”

  8. The Twilight Clone says:

    Geek Squad and the AARP. Isn’t that like taking candy from a baby? Older people are probably the most likely to get totally fleeced by Geek Squad. I fixed our daycare lady’s laptop earlier this week (for free, dammit). She’d have paid Geek Squad $130 to fuck up her computer even more.

    • BeamMeUp says:

      My older daycare lady was about to go to Geek Squad when I stopped her too. It took me ten minutes to reinstall her printer drivers, reboot the computer, reconnect to the wireless signal and be done.

    • ReverendTed says:

      This was my first thought. AARP + Geek Squad. The perfect crime.

    • kouotsu says:

      Unfortunately not all retired persons have a tech-savvy acquaintance. The fact is a ton of older people come into Geek Squad all the time already. I don’t see the downside of giving a discount to people who already need the service! As for simple things like reinstalling printer drivers, people don’t necessarily have to cough up the price of Tech Support to get a quick fix. Point being, for many people Geek Squad is the only place they know to go, for better or worse. I work for Geek Squad part-time and I’m glad they’re making things more affordable for everyone. They even do in-home service for $50 per trip if you’re a GSTS member. Not an amazing price, but before that recent change you’d have to pay over $100 for in-home service.

  9. Gman says:

    So less “showrooming?” Ok so basically way I read this is as follows:
    – Far more annoying “Can I help you?” from the employees with more intense pushes to make their numbers by having folks actually purchase things.
    – More personalized and unique products [ex. Geek squad “enhanced” [ha!] laptops]
    – More additional useless “services”

    Basically they will probably make each employee into a salesman that will never stop bugging you.

    • AllanG54 says:

      Had that years ago when I went to buy a laptop. Kid (about 17) wouldn’t let me buy it without the service plan. After 15 minutes of me saying no and still not being able to buy I drove across the street to Circuit City and bought there.

  10. Zernhelt says:

    I think the rise in showrooming happened because of two big things. The lower cost of online retailers, and the firing of knowledgeable employees (or not hiring new ones when old ones leave) at stores like Best Buy. Customers got used to cheaper prices and having to figure out for themselves what to buy. Best Buy probably can’t compete on price with the online retailers, but they can compete with knowledgeable employees. I think this might be what the CEO is talking about. I’m not sure if it will work, but I would think that if an employee is friendly and helpful to a customer, the customer is more likely to spend a little more money to buy from Best Buy over Amazon or another online retailer.

    • The Twilight Clone says:

      See how many knowledgeable, friendly, helpful employees you can hire for $10.57/hour, or whatever is the going rate for sales drones.

    • frank64 says:

      Also the up selling, pushing monster cable at monster prices and similar types of things might make a extra buck at the time, but it means a complete lack of respect for the salespeople. You have to have your guard up. You don’t trust the BB sales people anyway, so online is where you go to research and buy.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        You hit on one of the biggest challenges filling this niche, which I think could be a successful strategy. If shoppers are on guard against the up-sell, they can’t rely upon a single thing the employee says. It may well be too late for Best Buy to change their image, even if they somehow flipped their entire business model.

    • castlecraver says:

      How does one use Best Buy as a showroom when hardly anything in their store works properly? I’m hardly an Apple fan, but every time I’ve been in one of their stores, all the iPads seem to work despite hundreds of people playing with them every day. On the other hand, if you want to try out a tablet or laptop Best Buy sells you can almost never count on them having a working floor model.

      • BurtReynolds says:

        True. The source for the TV displays usually stinks. Even the best TV will not look good there.

  11. milkcake says:

    The only way is to either gived added-value (no, not the f-ing extended warranty) or just simply match the price.

    • Jawaka says:

      What would you consider to be “added value”?

      Added value means nothing to me nowadays. Who defines what value is? Added value to me nowadays generally means giving me something that I really don’t need or care for as an excuse to keep charging me an inflated price.

      Retail – “Look, we’re throwing in a carrying case and 1gb memory card at no additional charge”

      Me – “But I don’t need another carrying case and your price is still $30 more than amazon”

      Even worse is when they offer you shit like a free six month subscription to a magazine that you don’t really care about and then automatically bill you for it after that if you don’t remember to opt out. “Oh, but it’s added value”

  12. Vermont2US says:

    I do not ‘showroom’. Don’t believe in it. If the trend continues, not only will we be unable to find brick-and-mortar retailers to ‘try out’ an item, there won’t be any entry-level or mid-level jobs available for local folk. It doesn’t make any sense to save a few bucks in the short-term, when the long-term results are so terrible. Sure, some retailers have questionable staff and policies. There are however many local retailers that provide great service and products, but they’ll be out of business because they can’t compete on price. Why would you want to out-source jobs to someplace in Taiwan just so you can save a few bucks?

    • PunditGuy says:

      That ship already sailed. Big box stores drove the little shops out of business.

      It’s also not the consumer’s job to prop up unresponsive, expensive, and inconvenient stores.

      • Vermont2US says:

        So, what you’re saying is that we should just give up having local stores with local knowledgeable people on staff, and buy everything over the net. Fine…hold your head up high when your kids can’t find jobs (even entry-level ones) and your only answer for them is to move to Taiwan. And don’t forget to tell them what a great deal you got on that video camera that you bought online after you tried it out at the (now shuttered) local store.

        • GoPadge says:

          I think the problem is that some people see a person walk into a store, “showroom” a product and then leave and assume that the person is running off to buy online. And in some cases it might be true. But just because I don’t buy today in your store doesn’t mean I won’t be back tomorrow to purchase.

          I am a bit obsessive about my purchases. I never walk into a store to spend more than $100 without having researched, and comparison shopped for an item. I know what that tablet is selling for online. I know who has the best deal this week, I know the return policy and the shipping costs and timing. I pick a store (B&M or online) based on more than just price. I will pay more to have it today, but I’m not going to pay a whole lot more.

          And yes auto dealers hate me. “What will it take to put you in a car today?” “Lower the price to $99.99….”

          • Vermont2US says:

            “I will pay more to have it today, but I’m not going to pay a whole lot more.”

            How much more ARE you willing to pay? 5%, 10%, 20%, 50%? Most of the time I’m willing to pay as much as 20% more to buy locally – I’ve done it in the past (on a relatively expensive item) – if the retailer is knowledgeable and provides great service. 5% ain’t gonna cut it, but in truth, you really do get what you pay for.

        • PunditGuy says:

          Best Buy does not have knowledgeable staff, so I reject your assertion. Plus, big box retail jobs are not the sum total of all entry level jobs — not that I would ever use such a concern to select where to buy a TV or motherboard from. But good on you for paying more and getting exactly the same level of non-service.

        • bluline says:

          So why don’t you invest all your savings and open a local store, hire and train some local folks, and try to compete against the big-box stores and the internet? Let us know how well that works out for you, okay? There’s nothing like putting your money where your mouth is, and my money says you won’t last six months. And it’s not that it’ll be your fault, either. It’s just that the deck is so stacked against you that the odds of success are practically nil.

          • Vermont2US says:

            I have put my money where my mouth is – I buy as much locally as i can. Last year I paid $750 to a local small businessman for a video camera that I could have bought online for $650. Why do it? Because the local guy hires local kids, pays local taxes, and provides excellent knowledgeable service. I feel that if I can afford a luxury purchase like a video camera, then I can afford to spend a little extra to buy locally. That’s not the only example of what I’ve bought locally, but it gives you an idea of what I’m talking about, and that I walk the talk.

      • GoPadge says:

        Best Buy drove the small stores out of business, now the internet is driving Best Buy out of business. I have no remorse for showrooming.

    • MMD says:

      I share some of your general sentiments, but I don’t think they apply well to this situation.

      Best Buy used to be the big guy that drove independent electronics stores out of business. Now, they’ve driven themselves into the ground through terrible service. Further, your shopping at Best Buy doesn’t exactly guarantee that the employee you work with will remain employed…do you really think Best Buy will do right by their employees if their business continues to sink?

      I’d say a better bet would be to support locally-owned small businesses wherever you can. You reinvest in your local economy that way…and if your local Best Buy goes under in the next couple of years, maybe some Best Buy employees will get hired by the businesses you’ve supported?

      • Vermont2US says:

        Your last paragraph pretty much reflects the point I was trying to make. The local stores in my community have knowledgeable staff, pay decent wages and benefits. But they can’t compete on price. Give them your business – most of the time you will get the product that day, and they’ll even take the time to show you how it works. They hire local people. They pay local taxes. They’re friendly. They may even offer free delivery. They give good service. In the long run, it’s worth the extra money you pay. How is it that people don’t understand this?

        • MMD says:

          Sometimes there’s just not a viable option. I’m in the market for a new TV right now, and I really, really wish that I had a truly independent, local store to purchase from. I absolutely would pay more for that option. But for me, the only places where I could buy a decent TV within any reasonable driving distance are big box stores. As a good Consumerist reader, I don’t trust a place like Best Buy with a major purchase.

          So, Amazon it will (most likely) be for this purchase…but since I believe in karma balancing things out, I will attempt to do 100% of this year’s Christmas shopping from truly independent small businesses.

  13. CrazyEyed says:

    So does that mean Best Buy is opening a juice bar or will we be seeing Best Buy vacations dot com anytime soon

  14. crispyduck13 says:

    “Showrooming?” Is that when a Best Buy floor jockey makes a sale and then the whole store bursts out into synchronized song and dance as he runs around the room high-fiving all the other associates?

    Shipoopie?

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Yes. It’s called “GLEE-k Squad Guarantee”.

  15. bosozoku says:

    My son and I play a 3 lives game every time we shop somewhere – basically if we are acknowledged 3 times with a “Hi” or “Can I help you?” we are dead and have to leave immediately. I’ve never died in Best Buy – but I have at Lowe’s a few times, I go to Lowe’s a lot – but sometimes it would be nice to be left alone.

    • Jayrandom says:

      I’ve noticed the same thing about Lowes. The must really put an emphasis on having employees there to help customers. What a bizarre concept.

  16. Rick Sphinx says:

    Pay your employee’s much better, and they will give much better service because they will actually care. Pay little, get little, that’s life. You can train all you want, but if you don’t reward it, your efforts will not be fullfilled. Every sales associate should be making a salary of at least $35K, probably $40-45K more in the Northeast.

    • MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

      So now you’re paying your employees much better, so you have to increase your merchandise prices, leading to fewer people buying from your store, and instead showrooming.

      Problem not solved.

      • MMD says:

        When the customer experience gets better, they buy more things, thereby increasing profits through sales volume and mitigating the higher pay that yielded better employees.

        Put another way: what incentive does someone have to provide you with good service when they’re not paid a living wage to do so?

        Also: Zappos’ shoes are generally pricier than shoes from other retailers, but they’re doing a killer business. Why? Because the service is stellar and most customers have a great experience.

        • bluline says:

          Consumers have already voted with their wallets and they want low prices, period. So your idea simply won’t fly.

          And what the heck is a living wage, anyway? It doesn’t exist.

  17. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Here’s how to end showrooming, BB:

    1. Competitive pricing with internet stores. I ain’t paying $90 for an HDMI cable when I can get the same thing online for much less.

    2. QUIT TACKING UNWANTED CRAP ON AT THE REGISTER. If I didn’t buy it or ask you for it, I don’t want it!

    3. Pay your employees more; they won’t work harder for shit money. Make it worth their while to be knowledgeable.

    4. Check returns and stop selling open-box items as new. THIS THIS THIS THIS. I won’t buy it if it’s open or optimized, and I want my damn money back if my box only contains a rock.

    5. Stop trying to check my receipt. I won’t even come in if you do that.

    • LastError says:

      I go to a fair number of computer auctions and flea markets and other similar places. Giant pallet-boxes of used, returned Best Buy merchandise is the lifeblood of these places.

      There must be a mothership somewhere absolutely loaded with BB’s returned stuff, which they then pawn off on these flea marketeers.

    • Jawaka says:

      So let me see if I understand you clearly;

      You want them to lower their prices to match Internet retailers who don’t have to pay for overhead like rent, employees, utilities, etc and at the same time pay the employees that they do have more?

      HOW?

  18. bhurt544 says:

    If they can afford it, continue shrink the store base exactly like they are doing, buy Newegg and put them in charge of running Best Buy as a primarily online retailer with extension brick and mortar stores for those who want to see it now, buy it now, or avoid shipping charges by having it delivered to store. Immediately cease hard sale extended warranties and above all, everywhere reasonably possible, resolve every customer complaint even if is costs money. They need to do it to regenerate good will.

  19. DanGross says:

    Why would they do that when they won’t even price match their own online store?

  20. CubeRat says:

    Please lower the sound on the EVERYTHING. That’s the number one reason I don’t buy stuff there, the noise level.

  21. TehLaser says:

    Best Buy needs to figure out a way to embrace showrooming, not try to curb it.

    Seriously, your big problem is “we have too many people taking the time to come and visit our store in person, we need to get rid of them!”

    Embrace it. Run ads asking people to come check stuff out before they buy it online. Then once they’re in your store, do your best to sell the goods yourself.

    Fixing the customer service problem could go a long way here. Going home and buying a product online will make many people feel a little bad if they got excellent customer service from a real, honest person. If, on the other hand, they worked with an unhelpful droid, they’ll likely feel good getting it online instead.

    Most of all, Best Buy needs to remember that customers are not the enemy. They seem to fail on this one daily.

    • One-Eyed Jack says:

      Exactly.

      I have a vested interest in Best Buy doing better. I’d love to see them succeed and not fail. But my hopes are not high.

    • Jawaka says:

      This sounds nice on paper but most people who are web savy aren’t going to purchase from Best Buy regardless of how great the showroom and customer service is if the price is $50 more than NewEgg or Amazon.

    • Dr.Wang says:

      I agree exactly. But I think they don’t see all the pushy up-sell efforts as being disrespectful or bad. They see those as a necessary part of doing business. So I don’t think they will ever go away, and might even get more intense. I think their focus is more on the number$ than the customer experience.

  22. Bagels says:

    “new intensive induction”…..sounds like a cult….

  23. PhiTauBill says:

    The simple fact that people are much more willing to believe the reviews of people that have actually purchased and used a product as opposed to the presumably biased opinion of sales people is the most important change in my opinion. We simply don’t trust, and don’t have a reason to trust, Best Buy employees to know anything about a product and to make recommendations that serve the customer’s, rather than Best Buy’s, interest. The pricing concerns, annoying upsells, etc., are working in tandem to accelerate the decline of a dinosaur-like industry, the big box electronics store. There will always be a need for local stores, but they might end up being the size of Radio Shack, rather than Costco.

  24. highfructosepornsyrup says:

    The corner stores figured this out a long time ago: If you want change for the bus, you gotta buy something.

    Maybe BB can institute a policy of “if you want to look at something, you gotta buy something”

    • bluline says:

      I know some places that do that already, sort of. The pro shop at the local ice skating rinks charge a $25 “fitting fee” to try on new skates. If you buy the skates the fee is applied to the purchase price. But if you are there simply to showroom the skates to figure out which size you need before ordering online, it’ll cost you. That strategy won’t apply to all retail goods, but it does work in some limited circumstances.

  25. MerlynNY says:

    Want to keep people from buying online Best Buy? How about better pricing? Why am I going to buy from your store, when I can buy something for 50 dollars cheaper on Amazon? Second, how about employing people who actually know something about the store they work in and the items they sell? You know, give us an actual reason to shop at your store. There’s a thought! And I’m not a CEO!

  26. AEN says:

    As for showrooming, get the manufacturers or distributors to PAY YOU to display their product. Kind of like the auto show but for electronics.

    • Overheal says:

      In retail vendors regularly either give retailers their displays for low price or free (especially in mom and pop retail) or in some cases if giving the retailer exclusive product deals the retailer pays for the rights to that exclusivity. Then other times like you are talking about vendors pay to have their products placed prominently within stores. When you see branded aisles or endcaps, this is most likely the case that the vendor is paying the retailer for that space.

  27. Lyn Torden says:

    I went looking for a new computer monitor a couple years ago. First place I went was Best Buy. They have a lot of monitors there. But they had NOT EVEN ONE that matched my one single requirement. I was ready to buy it and take it home that day! But not only did they not have one in stock in the store, but they didn’t even have one in their entire product list.

    So I had B&H overnight one to me. I’m using it now to type in this post.

    From the read of it, it seems Best Buy will end up being totally obsolete. Their online site is worthless. And that’s not all due to the bad programming. Much is due to just the limited product selection. And I would still avoid their online site because of the horrible customer service reputation of the company. Their ONLY value to me was being able to go to the store and if they had something I wanted, I buy it then and take it home.

    That did work out in another trip to their store when I needed a few USB memory sticks. Their selection was very small (maybe about a dozen choices compared to hundreds to thousands on various other retailer sites). But they (and I) lucked out and a usable choice was there for that. I would never go to their web site for that, though. I recently bought more, but went to Amazon and Newegg (now in boycott) to get the high speed ones I needed this time.

    As long as Best Buy does have a store, when I need something “right now” I’ll check out what they have. If I need it later on and don’t need to look before I buy (that’s pretty much limited to monitors and big screen TVs), I’ll check my favorite online retailers (B&H, Amazon, Provantage).

  28. scoobydoo says:

    It is too late to resolve this. They tried to be cool with their price match policy, but fucked us over with stupid rules that made most price match request get denied.

  29. Jawaka says:

    You can train your employees all you want but the fact is that most people really don’t care about anything other than getting the lowest price possible, something that a brick and mortar company just isn’t going to be able to offer.

    Companies seem to have gotten to the breaking point with pricing. They can’t lower their prices any further and think that giving their customers more or extras makes up for a price that’s higher than the online competition. it doesn’t.

  30. JaundiceJames says:

    They’re going to make it less appealing to go into a Best Buy. And then we won’t. And they will close. How about customer service instead? Or having employees who are trained on the products instead of trained in hard-sell techniques.

    Soon it’s going to be like walking into a car dealership.

  31. Ashman says:

    “We have to invest in employees by giving them more training and better tools to maximize what they can offer for our customers”

    Translation – we need to train our employees better to upsell clients on things they don’t need like geek squead optimization and extended warranties that wont adhere to the terms in the contract.

  32. Guppy06 says:

    Will the new strategy going forward continue to include throwing corporate money at gay-bashing political candidates?

  33. LicenseRestoration says:

    First I would just teach the sales people how to sell and explain the technology. To increase sales the SALESPERSON needs to explain to me why one product is better over another. Then I feel a connection with that SALESPERSON and am more likely to purchase there.

    Give this newly trained SALESPERSON tools to make me feel comfortable about shopping there. Tools like a better return policy (no RMA number, or boxing up to send back), better flexibility on price (negotiate with me if some item is 50% less online), and be able to provide a minimum of service even after the sale. If have a operation issue with my widget after I get home and open it, the sales expert should be able to answer simple questions about setup and regular use quickly and without sitting on hold for 3.5 hours.

    Sell me on these things when I come in to shop for my item and I will purchase more from you. Make me feel like I get better service shopping online…why bother.

  34. Maz says:

    One of the common methods cropping up to combat showrooming is the release of models that are retail-specific. IE: this model with these features is only available to Target due to whatever agreement with the manufacturer.

    I did this because I was trying to figure out what the difference was between two products from the same manufacturer. They were minor, cosmetic. The only real difference was trying to find Product A elsewhere because its model number was specific to Target. You couldn’t buy it anywhere else.

    So now you have to be a much savvier consumer when it comes to tech and compare features instead of trying to find a model that gets good reviews cheaper elsewhere.

  35. LastError says:

    They’re trading Showrooming for…. (wait for it!) Mushrooming!

    Instead of actually fix their problems, what they will probably do is demand unique SKUs for every item they sell, thus making it impossible to do item-for-item compares. HaHA! That will surely bring people back into the store, because Amazon will NOT have the same TVs.

    No. But they do have a zillion others that are just as good. No high-pressure tactics. Reasonably good reviews. And no sales tax in many areas.

    To be fair, BB is not the only place trying the “unique SKU” thing. The warehouse clubs sells a Panasonic Blu-ray player model BDP-755. Amazon does not have it. But they DO have BDP-75, which is identical in every respect. The warehouse club version comes with a free HDMI cable. That tiny difference ($1 at Monoprice) not even in the item itself is enough to make it “not the same thing”

  36. TuxMan says:

    Set the store up like a warehouse with restricted access. The showroom would only have thin clients with access to Best Buy online.

    Match amazon prices!
    Charge for shipping!

    Same day would be considered the most expensive. Also known as “In-Stock”
    Match prices for Next day, 2nd day or 3rd day….or ground.

  37. GoPadge says:

    What does Best Buy offer that I can’t get a better deal on locally anyway?

    Walmart has cheaper “new” movies and I buy the classics from my local used DVD shop.
    Lowe’s, Home Depot and even Sears / K-mart already compete on large appliances.
    Walmart / K-mart have cheap car stereos and there’s always the local sound shop.
    The same goes for home audio equipment and TV’s.
    Walmart, Sears, Office Max, Office Depot and Staples compete for computers.
    Walmart, Sears, K-mart and Toys-r-Us complete for video games and tablets.

    Of course having said that, in my house right now, I have the following products from Best Buy.

    Movies (loss leaders only)
    Washing Machine (scratch and dent)
    Dryer (scratch and dent)
    Freezer (scratch and dent)
    2 42″ Plasma TV’s
    Home Theater receiver (year end clearance)
    5.1 home theater speakers
    4 or 5 routers
    25-port switch
    countless USB drives
    Tablet
    GPS

  38. CornwallBlank says:

    Translation: our unspeakably rude, horribly trained, incredibly annoying, amazing underpaid, ruthlessly dishonest employees will do their very best to sell you more overpriced crap that you neither need nor want, will lie to you at every available opportunity, and oh yes, by the way, when you actually want this odd thing called “customer service”, we will do everything possible to make it the most nightmarish consumer experience of your life.

    I will toast the final destruction of Best Buy with at least one (and quite possibly two) glasses of fine Pinot Noir from the Benziger Winery. It will be a happy day when they meet the fate they so richly deserve. Until then, I suggest not only using them as a showroom for online products at every available opportunity, but telling them that you’re doing so to their faces.

    • mikedt says:

      Unfortunately the people responsible for all the bad at BB will continue to get quarterly bonuses until the company is insolvent and then leave with golden parachutes. Meanwhile the people working in the stores will be simply unemployed. In a just world the top levels of management would lose their jobs until moral improved.

    • lol456 says:

      drawing personal satisfaction from being smug to a poorly-paid salesperson? sounds good man,

    • Demoliiton Man says:

      Yeah let’s all have a toast to people losing jobs. That will show them.

  39. Pete the Geek says:

    You really can’t ask a website a question and I believe that most consumers are not savvy enough to determine the reliability and authority of online advice. With this in mind, Best Buy could develop a reputation for being the “go-to” source of knowledgeable, honest advice for technology purchases, reasonable prices and reliable inventory. Best Buy management would have to invest in staff training and probably pay them a bit more. In the end, consumers would go to Best Buy to purchase technology because they would feel valued and find the company trustworthy. I don’t have an MBA, but competing with Internet retailers on price is not going to work, nor is a relentless focus on up-selling extended warranties. Geek Squad might have worked if they had hired more actual Geeks (and paid them appropriately), but now that opportunity has been thoroughly tarnished.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      We patronized our local Circuit City over Best Buy when they had great knowledgeable staff – but then Circuit City fired them all and hired lower cost no-nothings.

  40. JoeTheDragon says:
  41. Jimmy37 says:

    I think the easiest way to stop showrooming is to build a Faraday cage around the store to block cellphone signals. It’s completely passive.

  42. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    A friend’s conversation in a Hong Kong electronics store:
    – can I see that camera?
    – will you buy it?
    – I don’t know yet.
    – f*** off.

  43. scrtyfrk says:

    End showrooming? I don’t think so! But some good ways to get some consumers to actually buy at your store are:

    1) Clear, simple and uniform price matching policies that do not give store managers outs or to handle things in a case by case basis. More than likely, they will NEVER price match on their own. Force them to!

    2) Less douchebaggery with the return policies. The more draconian the return policies are, the less I want to buy from store. I figure that I can take a chance online for less money. Restocking fees are a good example. Yes, BB should protect itself… 48hrs-no-restocking-fee returns. Anything longer than that up to 30 days on non-defective returns is allowed to have a restocking fee.

    3) Small 10% or so discount on price matching would go a long way to bring my ONLINE business to the BB store instead.

    4) Price matching with more online retailers…

    5) End restrictive extended-warranties. If someone has to take a laptop four times with an issue on a bumper-to-bumper warranty before even considering to exchange it, that’s two times too many.

    6) No mail in rebates of any kind. I know it’s a money maker for you but if I can get it online for the same price without the mailing rebate, guess where I’ll be getting it.

    7) Invest on the human capital!!! When as a techy I stand next to a sales rep telling another customer clearly wrong and/or misleading things, that turns me off from asking any questions or engaging them. I don’t engage in a personal level, I don’t buy.

    • Jamie All Over says:

      2. there’s no restocking fee on anything in the store.

      6. best buy hasn’t done mail in rebates in ages.

      • Overheal says:

        Yeah definitely hasnt been a MIR in years.

        Also the warranties are now down to 3 repairs, not 4.

  44. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    “it is also looking to make more business-to-business arrangements — like tech support contract between Geek Squad and the AARP “

    Great, like AOL they will prey on an older less tech savvy population.

  45. u1itn0w2day says:

    It might have been Circut City if not Best Buy but I thought I remember reading about lawsuits and police being called in to arrest or kickout shoppers taking paper notes in the stores. This was years ago, I mean a decade ago.

    Point is people will always shop. I like to see physical product. I’ve shopped at Walmart but bought at Best Buy. So what. It’s give and take. Best Buy can’t close the sale because of price or problmes. It’s not those evil customers or shoppers. What’s next an admission charge to browse or egads- a membership?

  46. dullard says:

    One of the things you buy when you buy a product is service, whether it comes from the manufacture or the retailer. I often will spend more for a product to buy from a local retailer who is knowledgeable, helpful and will provide good service in the event a problem arises.

    Best Buy, as well as other companies, needs to recognize that there are people out there making purchases based upon reasons other than just the lowest price.

  47. wellfleet says:

    How exactly does this line up with the current restructure? One of my best friends is a current employee and all retail locations are going through a massive restructure plan. All supervisor positions are up for grabs, and 1-2 managers per store are being cut, with the plan for key-holding supervisors.

    So fewer in-store employees are the answer to the obvious and widespread customer service problem? The CEOs fucked up by being complete morons and not realizing that people were buying stuff online FIVE YEARS AGO. Instead, the morons in Minnesota went and bought Napster, forcing employees to sell Napster services to people. They invested in electric bikes and exercise equipment and in a women-centered store in Denver and in sending their little boys club to ridiculously extravagant events all over creation. And now that their fuckup has reached completely epic and irreversible proportions, they are laying off thousands of employees, just like they did in the reorg three years ago. I loved this company so much and I hate to see it bumble its way into insolvency.

    When a company is so thoroughly mismanaged, why are the line-level employees the ones to bear the brunt of the consequences? They have nothing to do with the decisions being made at the top. From having met dozens of corporate people, they’re nice folks who are clueless about the world that’s changing around them.

    Good luck, you idiots.

  48. framitz says:

    It sounds like Best Buy is preparing to fail and bail. I don’t much care.

  49. icerabbit says:

    Best Buy a “Personalized Technology Solutions Provider” … pfffftt.
    Good luck with that.
    Based on the “Personalized Shopping Assistance” I’ve been receiving for years, I will be fantastic.

    I haven’t even “showroom-ed” a Best Buy in two, probably three years.

    It used to be that the closest electronics store was Best Buy (outside of Circuit City, which I refused to go to). That store was 45 min away (otherwise hour and a half to get more options) and I’d actually drive there and shop at Best Buy, I admit. So, years ago, I was thrilled when a Best Buy store opened up minutes away from my house.

    But I quit going. I simply got tired of the harassment and hassles; and just get whatever I need right-away from Staples or Amazon next day.

    You can pick several of the following that apply to any of my last visits to Best Buy:

    Staff is rude, staff thinks they know more about the product then the customer, every staff member in the entire store approaches you while you’re there for 10 minutes, uncompetitive prices, will not price-match BestBuy online, limited item selection, advertised item in flyer is not available at this store, out of stock items, items are locked up and need manager’s approval to be shown to customer, pushy with service contracts, pushy with add-on software, insisting certain products need to be Best Buy / Geek Squad optimized before being taken home, stereo systems being run at such loud levels that it causes temporary hearing problems, staff member jamming wrong cables into the wrong product, …

    Insisting one day I could not buy laptop x with a closed seal on the box; is what killed it for me. Everything in the store had been “inspected and optimized” … and would cost more! That’s when I decided Best Buy was no longer worth my time, and that I would no longer buy anything from Best Buy if I could avoid it.

    • icerabbit says:

      PS: Forgot to include lying to customers who need advice.

    • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

      “Staff is rude” – happens sometimes. I doubt very seriously that the entire staff was rude though. You may have a few, but I’m sure others said hi or wanted to help you…oh wait you essentially say this further down…

      “staff thinks they know more about the product then the customer” – we usually do know more than the majority of our customers, and since you don’t wear any descriptive clothing that tells us how smart you are how are we to know?

      “every staff member in the entire store approaches you while you’re there for 10 minutes” – conflicts with your first comment as to them being rude, since if they approaching you I’m sure they were saying hi, welcoming you into the store, and seeing if you needed help, but whatever…

      “uncompetitive prices” – completely competitive with retail B&M, even with online as far as big ticket items. Our biggest weakness is that in smaller items we are higher, but that’s what makes money..

      “will not price-match BestBuy online” – lies

      “limited item selection” – compared to the internet? otherwise that’s just stupid

      “advertised item in flyer is not available at this store” – happens, that’s why they put quantity limits on some items, but if you weren’t too busy sticking your nose up at the guys trying to help you, they may be able to track one down at another store and get it to you

      “out of stock items” – happens, it’s called customers

      “items are locked up and need manager’s approval to be shown to customer” – so I can expect your house and cars are unlocked and available for anyone to try your stuff right?

      “pushy with service contracts” – I agree with this, but it’s not like that everywhere

      “pushy with add-on software” – by asking you if you need it, I guess that’s pushy. wonder if you would bitch if they didn’t offer you though? I know the answer…

      “insisting certain products need to be Best Buy / Geek Squad optimized before being taken home” – again, feel free to wear that tag that tells me you know everything about everything, and that includes knowing more than me, then I won’t be tempted to offer you services that benefit your purchase…

      “stereo systems being run at such loud levels that it causes temporary hearing problems” – so typically old people are the only ones that complain about this. I don’t like that either, but you can just ask a manager to turn it down..

      “staff member jamming wrong cables into the wrong product” – so I don’t know the context of this one. I assumed you made it up since you don’t need or want our help, so how could you know whether a staff member is working with a product or not

      • PunditGuy says:

        I appreciate that you want to defend yourself and your company against accusations that may or may not be unfair. But seriously — you did yourself and the company no favors here. That person is not going to be back, and you come off as dismissive for actual problems that Best Buy stores have. That dismissive attitude has been a huge part of the problem.

        Perched here in Minneapolis, and as an early adopter who buys a lot of tech, I’ve watched the Best Buy shopping experience seriously degrade over the last 10 years. Sticking your head in the sand will not serve you well. It makes your looming implosion seem much more inevitable.

        • icerabbit says:

          @ PunditGuy

          Early adopter here as well with more computer and tech experience than the average age of best buy employees.

          I wasn’t trying to accuse Best Buy of anything. It was just a combined statement of issues, niggles, misadventures over the years – just like many people have experienced – that resulted in me not even browsing Best Buy any more.

          Of course plenty of times our purchase visits were fine, but over time the niggles wear you out. I’m not going to lie about it or make stuff up.

          I could write a similar but shorter paragraph about Circuit City, which I’ve only been to a handful of times. Or write about problems Comp USA had … even though I used to love to shop there … 12-15 years ago.

      • icerabbit says:

        @ CurrentGeekSquadEmployee

        Dear CurrentGeekSquadEmployee,

        You failed to understand that the series of issues I posted – with a tongue in cheek check all that apply jib – happened over the course of 10 years and countless Best Buy trips and purchases. Many visits were without issue, but some more recent visits had one or two that make a customer think mmmm?

        I indeed don’t wear any credentials nor my IQ on my shirt. But should a customer not be treated at least as equal? And in this day and age informed about the product they’re looking to buy? …

        Why do so many staff members at Best Buy assume they know best / everything and have more computer experience than the customer? My personal and professional computer experience both easily surpass the age of the average Best Buy employee. I don’t hold their enthusiasm against them, but it get a bit annoying after a while.

        >>> And note that I’ve had similar observations with Apple sales staff. One particular memorable moment was when I drove 3 hours one way to the nearest Apple Store to get my new system (update released, system on phone hold in my name) and the sales person tried to talk me out of the purchase into a different system with less capabilities etc … Come to find out the sales person did not even own a mac and was just rehashing whatever marketing training had told him.

        Anyway …

        Thanks for the accusation that I am lying about the wrong plug incident. You were not there, so why accuse me? My wife was my witness, by the way. This was several years ago, we were looking at cameras together and a young female staff member at the camera area came over to help with a camera that did not have power. She found a loose end of a cable and proceeded to plug it into the camera, when it didn’t match she tried several times with increasing force to jam the wrong plug into the camera. She didn’t believe my observation that that camera had a different plug …

        I’m not going to comment further on your replies. They have been my honest experience and some of these instances – like price matching – have been documented on plenty of sites.

        No hard feelings.

        • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

          So you are right. I took a cheap shot there. I absolutely don’t know what was going on with the cables & such, thus I was wrong to make my snide remark. You have no past history of bashing Best Buy, thus my comment was very unwarranted. I apologize for my comment.

          I do believe sometimes this site rubs me the wrong way. I want to help clients. I’m part time & do it every day I’m there. Full time I design cell sites & plan & that pays the bills. I am at Best Buy because I like getting to play with technology and talking about computers. There are so many biased a-holes on this site who I guarantee only had 1 bad experience but assume that is the normal way things are. Then they talk about their bad experience and it taints how others feel. I would love any of them to sit with me one day and see how Best Buy normally runs. It just makes me mad.

  50. Rick Sphinx says:

    Saw someone mention paying $99 for a HDMI cable, I got pack of 2 for $4.99, at Tuesday Morning (yes Tuesday Morning), they work great. Those things are so way over priced.

  51. kingdom2000 says:

    It sounds like they only thing they plan on improving is the time and soul sucking upsell training. Didn’t really hear much about just generally improving the customer service experience. I use to love Best Buy but sometimes asking for help just isn’t worth the trouble. Also it seems like I can get a lot of stuff at cheaper prices elsewhere (and I don’t mean online). I am still a fan of buying the more expensive items at brick and mortars in part because like to see and touch item before buying and also much easier to return if change my mind.

  52. Geekybiker says:

    I foresee them replacing UPC codes with RFID tags to prevent smartphones from scanning for pricematches. Or just training employees to chase down people looking at smartphones and telling them they have to put it away.

  53. gman863 says:

    the company will be providing “new intensive induction” to 50,000 Best Buy employees at a training center in Minnesota starting in August.

    Translation: They’ll be training them to act like Apu in The Simpsons

    “Dis is not a showroom for Amazon. I need you to buy something now.”

  54. djkatscan says:

    So, the solution to curb something that loses the company money is to spend a whole bunch of money flying 50 THOUSAND people to a training in Minnesota and paying for work time, travel, board and meals???

    THIS my friends is why Best Buy is failing, more than anything else.

    • Overheal says:

      Flying in 50k employees to make them feel a part of a company and not just clerks like the part timers at the GAP? I’d say it’s probably going to be money well spent.

      • djkatscan says:

        OK Overheal, its obvious from your post history that your paychecks say Best Buy Co Inc on them. So keep drinking the koolaid. If you think they are sending line level employees to the “intensive training” think again. Unless you are supervisor or above you are not going.

        As any current or former BBY employee knows…intensive training really just means drinking at the hotel Bar at the Raddison across from the MOA anyways.
        The line level employees will get “taught” all the new policy at some 6AM meeting on a Saturday morning in September. I’m sure that will make them feel like “a part of the company”

        BTW: Does PR know you are representing the company on a social media platform? /burn

        • ckintheskies says:

          I work for Best Buy and every single one of our Full Time employees have been scheduled for extended training. Many of our Part Time associates have as well. Since these are the employees with the most face time with customers, it makes the most sense.

          Slamming another commentor with speculation? I wouldn’t call that a “burn”. Just plain ignorance.

  55. jnl says:

    If Best Buy had been honest, treated customers decently and stopped playing games they would not be in the situation they are in today. At least 3 times that I can remember they have been in trouble with the Federal government for their shady business practices.
    There have been countless stories right here on The Consumerist of how poorly shoppers were treated by the company and by their employees.
    Play no games, take care of customers in an honest and professional way and sell at decent prices and they could have a great business! But alas, I don’t think it’s in them as they just can’t seem to get their act together!

  56. podunkboy says:

    I used to be a fairly regular customer (and buyer) at Best Buy, until they almost completely eliminated their computer software department (where I spent most of my money) and they’re always out of stock of their “on sale’ movies and music (where I spent most of the rest of my money). So when I ask about out-of-stock items at the store, they say they might not get any more in before the sale goes off, but I can order it online and have it shipped to my house. So I decided that if that’s how they’re doing business, I’m buying it online as cheap as I can find it.

  57. insaneferret says:

    Corporate Asinine Ideas Gallery:

    “if our customer service is top notch then people will spend extra to buy from us”, we’ve got to transform our surly lowly paid drones into helpful customer assistants who make the shopping experience so good they’ll overlook the price, and surely all of our abusive policies and tactics wont detract from the goodwill we gain from having friendly employees.

    “We’ve got to focus on the whole solution personalized for the consumer” – if they’re buying product X, we aren’t selling them product X, we’re providing the Product X experience, which of course includes a slew of 6000% markup accessories and an extended warranty not worth the paper its printed on.

    “We’ve got to stop them from using our stores as a showroom”, Ostensibly by changing model numbers which consumers armed with smartphones wont figure out in 10 minutes, or perhaps we could eliminate the ability for them to see all the products! Surely madness like competitive pricing wont help

  58. weezedog says:

    “We have to invest in employees by giving them more training and better tools to maximize what they can offer for our customers,”

    Unless what they can “offer” me is a better price, I’m not interested.

    • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

      It’s impossible for B&M to compete on price with online. And it’s ignorance to believe that you can walk into a B&M and expect that. Granted, there are occasional sales, etc. that will change that, but it’s not the normal thing.

  59. soj4life says:

    If you don’t want people looking at your products on-site and then buying them online, look at why they are. Prices online can be cheaper and or delivery is also cheaper. Consumers will usually look at what place has the lowest price.

    Also, your online and store prices should not be different, keep them the same; it look like morons when the prices are different and customers have to prove the difference to a cashier.

  60. Jemaine says:

    Two reasons I don’t like Best Buy: One is they try to force Geek Squad on their customers. If you buy any electronics, you have to checkout through Geek Squad. Two, which applies to all stores, is the employees should only have to know one specific part of the store. The more they know of that area, the better they should be at helping the customer. I have a friend that worked at BB, and she told me everyone had to know about the whole store, unless you’re a Geek, or radio installer, etc.

    • CurrentGeekSquadEmployee says:

      Thanks for the input. The reasons for both are pretty simple.

      “One is they try to force Geek Squad on their customers. If you buy any electronics, you have to checkout through Geek Squad.”

      This serves 2 purposes. There are things that the majority of clients need: anti-virus software & recovery disks. Some clients are comfortable dealing with this themselves, others aren’t. The checkout process allows me to verify they were spoken to about these things, and to see if they want Black Tie coverage on their purchase. I ask only once, but I always ask. The other advantage is that if my number is on your receipt, and you come back with a software issue or damage to your laptop, I will look up your purchase. Then if you bitch because I tell you your problem isn’t covered because you elected not to purchase protection, you have no legs to stand on. Because I damn sure know I explained & offered it.

      “the employees should only have to know one specific part of the store. The more they know of that area, the better they should be at helping the customer.”

      So this one is touch. I have clients like you that say this. Except what happens when we have only 2 GPS people that are experts and they are tied up with other clients when you come in and want to get answers about one? Would you feel the same way and be willing to wait for one of them? If you are, you are .0000001% of our clients. The majority of people want someone and someone now. It is impossible to do both. However, there is almost always someone in each store who is a go-to employee for each area, staying the most updated on devices, software, etc. All you gotta do is ask for that person.

      • thevicequizzle says:

        Best Buy employees are the worst, and around here we are getting a heavy dose of DirecTV assholes that won’t leave you alone. Best Buy will fail based on the fact that people want to be left the fuck alone when they shop, and not badgered to buy a fucking warranty from some chowderhead who couldn’t hold his own in the real world.