Amazon was supposed to crush stores like Best Buy, old-fashioned places that you have to actually go to physically instead of via your phone. But something funny has happened on the way to virtual everything: Best Buy has posted two straight years of steady sales growth (3% per quarter) and has won a very loyal following while doing it.
Not only has the company invested heavily and intelligently in its service arm, the Geek Squad, which guides and helps consumers once the promise of plug-and-play is dashed. But Best Buy is a tremendous example of how brick-and-mortar locations can still serve customers in a way apps, sites and robots still can’t, despite their massive data edge. Best Buy has obviously invested in its employees, and when you go to a Best Buy store you can reliably expect knowledge, respect, honesty and pure old-school helpfulness. It’s a retail revelation.
This may not be a path all beleaguered retailers can follow — after all, people shopping at Macy’s already know how a shirt works — and socks, too — whereas those visiting Best Buy may not understand the advantages of a certain printer or which Echo they need for their home. (Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Dot, etc.) Best Buy employees, who are paid better than the average retail floorperson, bring that knowledge and they seem to delight in sharing it. (The job site Indeed has 21,000 reviews by Best Buy employees that average a 4-out-of-5 stars rating.)
Personal Experience with Best Buy: Recently our business needed to fix and/or get rid of an older printer. We hardly used it, but a new business initiative required that we be able to print a significant number of mailing labels daily. The Best Buy employee delivered the unhappy news that our current print heads had dried out and couldn’t be rescued — at least not easily. But then the silver lining was presented. Best Buy would recycle the printer and that recycling option would make us eligible for a 15% discount on a new printer. Then the Best Buy employee coolly assessed our needs with a quick series of questions and granted that we’d be smart to buy the least expensive option they had. No upselling for the sake of it here. And voila, trust was born. Best Buy is winning by training its workforce and giving them the tools and environment in which to succeed. The customers feel it. And you know who also likes it? Amazon. Nobody else is selling so many Echos while paying their own rent in malls across the country.
Note: This article is not a paid endorsement.