Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Larry Downes of Forbes has an absolutely brutal--and accurate--article on why Best Buy is a dead company walking. Shorter version: Best Buy's management is focused on making things easier for themselves, while successful companies (Amazon is Downes' example) make it easy on their customers. A sample:

[Best Buy] Management, at least, still believes it has competitive advantages–advantages that even make it attractive to shareholders. According to the company’s most recent annual report,

"We believe our dedicated and knowledgeable people, store and online experience, broad product assortment, distinct store formats and brand marketing strategies differentiate us from our competitors by positioning our stores and Web sites as the preferred destination for new technology and entertainment products in a fun and informative shopping environment."

There’s just one problem. Not one word of that, at least in my experience, is true. Their “people” are not knowledgeable; they are annoying. The store “format” is entirely generic; perhaps a little confusing. The stores and Websites are not “preferred destinations”—they are destinations, at best, of inertia, or in the case of exclusives, destinations of the only resort. The “shopping environment” is the opposite of fun and informative. It’s depressing and humiliating, as in “I can’t believe I had to go to Best Buy to get this.”

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