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Best Buy’s Secrets for Thriving in the Amazon Age
SEPT. 18, 2017 | The New York Times | By KEVIN ROOSE.

Here are the keys to Best Buy’s turnaround, according to Mr. Joly:

1. Price, price, price

The most worrisome trend in big-box retail was “showrooming” .....To combat showrooming and persuade customers to complete their purchases at Best Buy, Mr. Joly announced a price-matching guarantee....Price-matching costs Best Buy real money, but it also gives customers a reason to stay in the store, and avoids handing business to competitors.

2. Focus on humans

Mr. Joly also realized that if Best Buy was going to compete with Amazon, which has spent billions building a speedy delivery system and plans to use drones to become even more efficient, it needed to get better at things that robots can’t do well — namely, customer service & customer experience....Best Buy fixed its internal product search engine. It also restored a much-loved employee discount that had been suspended and embarked on an ambitious program to retrain its employees so they could answer questions about entirely new categories of electronics, such as virtual reality headsets and smart home appliances.....Customers had always loved Best Buy’s Geek Squad.....sometimes, people needed help before they bought big and expensive gadgets. So it started an adviser program that allows customers to get free in-home consultations about what product they should buy, and how it should be installed....a pilot program last year, the service is now being rolled out nationwide.

3. Turn brick-and-mortar into showcase-and-ship

Best Buy’s online ordering system was completely divorced from its stores. If a customer placed an order on the website, it would ship from a central warehouse. If that warehouse didn’t have the item in stock, the customer was out of luck.....Mr. Joly realized that with some minor changes, each of Best Buy’s 1,000-plus big-box stores could ship packages to customers, serving as a mini warehouse for its surrounding area. Now, when a customer orders a product on Best Buy’s website, the item is sent from the location that can deliver it the fastest — a store down the street, perhaps, or a warehouse five states away. It was a small, subtle change, but it allowed Best Buy to improve its shipping times, and made immediate gratification possible for customers. Now, roughly 40 % of Best Buy’s online orders are either shipped or picked up from a store.

Best Buy also struck deals with large electronics companies like Samsung, Apple and Microsoft to feature their products in branded areas within the store. Now, rather than jamming these companies’ products next to one another on shelves, Best Buy allows them to set up their own dedicated kiosks. (Apple’s area inside a Best Buy, for example, has the same sleek wooden tables and minimalist design as an Apple Store.) It’s a concept borrowed from department stores, and it’s created a lucrative new revenue stream. Even Amazon has set up kiosks in Best Buy stores to show off its voice-activated Alexa gadgets.

4. Cut costs quietly

Almost every business turnaround plan includes cutting costs. Best Buy has used the scalpel as quietly as possible, gradually letting leases expire for unprofitable stores and consolidating its overseas divisions, trimming a layer of middle managers in 2014, and reassigned roughly 400 Geek Squad employees within the company. No public rounds of layoffs, which can crater employee morale and create a sinking-ship vibe.

Best Buy has also found more creative penny-pinching methods. Once, the company noticed that an unusually high number of flat-screen TVs were being dropped in its warehouses. It revamped the handling process, reducing the number of times TVs were picked up by a clamp lift and adding new carts to prevent TV boxes from falling over. The changes resulted in less broken inventory and bigger profits.

5. Get lucky, stay humble and don’t tempt fate

It’s lucky that the products it specializes in selling, like big-screen TVs and high-end audio equipment, are big-ticket items that many customers still feel uncomfortable buying sight unseen from a website. It’s lucky that several large competitors have gone out of business, shrinking its list of rivals. And it’s lucky that the vendors who make the products it sells, like Apple and Samsung, have kept churning out expensive blockbuster gadgets.

“They’re at the mercy of the product cycles,” said Stephen Baker, a tech industry analyst at NPD Group. “If people stop buying PCs or they don’t care about big-screen TVs anymore, they have a challenge.”

Mr. Joly knows that despite Best Buy’s recent momentum, it’s not out of the woods yet. To succeed over the long term, it will need to do more than cut costs and match prices. Walmart, another big-box behemoth, is investing billions of dollars in a digital expansion with the acquisition of e-commerce companies like Jet and Bonobos, and could prove to be a fierce rival. Amazon has been expanding into brick-and-mortar retail with its acquisition of Whole Foods, and is moving into Best Buy’s home installation and services market....
“Once you’ve had a near-death experience,” he said, “arrogance, if you had it in your bones, has disappeared forever.”
Amazon  Best_Buy  big-box  CEOs  turnarounds  pilot_programs  nationwide  contra-Amazon  brands  kiosks  cost-cutting  luck  Wal-Mart  Jet  Bonobos  pricing  showrooming  price-matching  customer_service  search_engines  in-home  BOPIS  Samsung  Apple  Microsoft  store_within_a_store  consumer_electronics  product_cycles  customer_experience 
september 2017 by jerryking
Why Samsung Abandoned Its Galaxy Note 7 Flagship Phone
OCT. 11, 2016 | The New York Times | By BRIAN X. CHEN and CHOE SANG-HUN.

How quickly Samsung will emerge from the Note 7 fiasco is less clear. The company is facing an immediate, and substantial, financial blow. Perhaps more worrisome is how people may lose trust in the Samsung brand. An editorial in South Korea’s largest newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, said: “You cannot really calculate the loss of consumer trust in money.” It said that Samsung must realize that it “didn’t take many years for Nokia to tumble from its position as the world’s top cellphone maker.”
Samsung  product_recalls  mobile_phones  batteries  complexity  brands  reputation 
october 2016 by jerryking
Apple, Samsung ready for latest patent faceoff - The Globe and Mail
MARTHA MENDOZA

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — The Associated Press

Published Sunday, Mar. 30 2014
Apple  Samsung  patents  litigation  intellectual_property 
april 2014 by jerryking
The Power of 'Thick' Data - WSJ.com
By
Christian Madsbjerg and
Mikkel B. Rasmussen
March 21, 2014

companies that rely too much on the numbers, graphs and factoids of Big Data risk insulating themselves from the rich, qualitative reality of their customers' everyday lives. They can lose the ability to imagine and intuit how the world—and their own businesses—might be evolving. By outsourcing our thinking to Big Data, our ability to make sense of the world by careful observation begins to wither, just as you miss the feel and texture of a new city by navigating it only with the help of a GPS.

Successful companies and executives work to understand the emotional, even visceral context in which people encounter their product or service, and they are able to adapt when circumstances change. They are able to use what we like to call Thick Data.
thick_data  massive_data_sets  Lego  ethnography  visceral  storytelling  social_data  observations  Samsung  consumer_research  imagination  skepticism  challenges  problems  sense-making  emotions  contextual 
march 2014 by jerryking
Patent Wars Erupt Again in Tech Sector - WSJ.com
By
Ashby Jones
connect
Nov. 3, 2013

After a brief hiatus for major new litigation, a joint venture owned by Apple Inc., AAPL +0.10% Apple Inc. U.S.: Nasdaq $520.53 +0.50+0.10% Nov 4, 2013 10:01 am Volume (Delayed 15m) : 9.66M P/E Ratio 13.03 Market Cap $467.89 Billion Dividend Yield 2.35% Rev. per Employee $2,127,850 52552051510a12p2p4p6p 11/03/13 Patent Wars Erupt Again in Tec... 11/01/13 Short Lines for Apple iPad Lau... 10/31/13 Morning MoneyBeat: Are Buyback... More quote details and news » Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.49% , BlackBerry Ltd. BB.T -1.70% , Ericsson Inc. and Sony Corp. 6758.TO -11.13% launched a barrage of new lawsuits against a group of defendants that include Samsung Inc., GOOG -0.25% Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE -0.07% , LG Electronics Inc., 066570.SE +1.03% HTC Corp. 2498.TW +4.86% and Huawei Technologies Co.
litigation  patent_law  patents  Huawei  LG  HTC  Samsung  Google  Sony  Ericsson  BlackBerry  Microsoft 
november 2013 by jerryking
How Google intends to dominate with its Android plan
May. 21 2013 | The Globe and Mail| by OMAR EL AKKAD
- TECHNOLOGY REPORTER.

Android’s importance to Google is two-fold. First, it allowed a company that developed its search services for the desktop age to gain a foothold in the mobile world. Second, it allows Google to put the products where it does make money – primarily, its search engine – front and centre on all Android-based devices. Indeed, whatever revenue-generating software comes up in the future has a natural home on the hundreds of millions of Android devices already on the market...Google is giving away a platform, not a product. The company that dominated the Internet search market by acting as an advertising middleman in billions of user queries is taking the same approach to the mobile world. Rather than looking to profit off the sale of its software, Google is aiming for a critical mass, and attempting to put Android everywhere....Android is now one part of a much wider strategy at Google, whereby the company builds platforms and technologies on which all kinds of other services can run, and then gives them away for free. The other well-known example of this strategy is Chrome, the browser-based operating system....
Android  Google  Omar_el_Akkad  Samsung  platforms  BugSense  mobile_applications  software_bugs  upgrade_cycles 
may 2013 by jerryking
Return of the giants
November 2012 | Economist | Adrian Wooldridge
conglomerates  Tata  diversification  Samsung 
january 2013 by jerryking
Jenkins: The Jury Has Spoken—Think Different - WSJ.com
August 28, 2012, 7:07 p.m. ET

The Jury Has Spoken: Think Different
Samsung's loss is Microsoft's opportunity.

Microsoft is a pygmy in the smartphone business though, unlike Google, Microsoft troubled itself to design a smartphone operating system that does everything a smartphone must without being an iPhone knockoff.

Microsoft may genuinely have believed there's a better way than Apple's of organizing a user's interaction with a mobile device. Microsoft may have concluded there was no future in merely making another Apple knockoff, then trying (thanklessly) to give birth to a third app ecosystem around it.

Maybe Microsoft was just worried about lawsuit vulnerability. Whatever the reason (how's this for irony?), Microsoft was the company to "think different" and create a mobile operating system "for the rest of us"—i.e., an alternative to Apple's vision. The result is Windows Phone 8, the operating system behind the oft-praised but slow-selling Nokia Lumia 900....a too-weak patent system can be as bad for competition as a too-strong one. Until Friday's verdict, it was just too easy for Google-Samsung to gain a dominant share by copying Apple's innovations and giving them away for free. That's especially true of the subtle feedback Apple figured out how to provide users through a touch-screen. Google's business model, Apple could be forgiven for thinking, is more like piracy than competition.

Apple's lawsuits are not without strategic design, of course. The aim is to raise the cost to handset makers of using Google's "free" Android software—one reason Samsung, not Google, was the target of Apple's legal vendetta....But the verdict has an ironic potential. With Android seeming less "free," handset makers now have more incentive to get behind real innovation, such as Microsoft's promising but negligibly patronized operating system. Sooner rather than later, in other words, we might have a choice not just between Apple and fake Apple.

Microsoft and other innovators still face a monumental hurdle, it's true, in a lack of apps. What would really hasten the icejam breakup would be more decisions like one recently from the Financial Times.

The FT has decided to stop making Android or Apple apps or other ecosystem-specific apps in favor of a universal app riding on the mobile browser layer, using the tool set known as HTML5.

By HOLMAN W. JENKINS, JR.
Apple  Samsung  Microsoft  Holman_Jenkins  patents  patent_law  ecosystems  Android  HTML5  knockoffs  think_differently  legal_strategies  lawsuits  litigation 
august 2012 by jerryking
How Apple Got Its Case Across - WSJ.com
August 26, 2012 | WSJ | By JENNIFER SMITH and STEVE EDER.
Lawyers Presented a Clear Story Line for Technology Giant; Samsung Argument Was Harder to Explain.
Apple  patent_law  law_firms  lawyers  Samsung 
august 2012 by jerryking
Apple Victory Shifts Power Balance - WSJ.com
August 26, 2012 | WSJ | By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO and DON CLARK
Jessica_E._Vascellaro  Apple  litigation  Samsung  Android  Google  juries 
august 2012 by jerryking
Mobile phones: Difference Engine: Copying the copier
Aug 6th 2012 | The Economist| by N.V.

The 73-year-old Judge Posner, who also teaches at Chicago Law School, is one of the founders of the legal school that interprets patent law in economic terms. His argument last June for refusing to ban Motorola’s products from the shelves, as Apple sought, was that “an injunction that imposes greater costs on the defendant than it confers benefits on the plaintiff reduces net social welfare”. That is the economic interpretation of patent law at work.

If, as it seems, Apple has had to resort to the courts to stifle competition and limit consumer choice, then it is a sad day for American innovation. That the company can do so with such impunity is an even sadder reflection of how dysfunctional the patent system in the United States has become.

The only reason why governments grant patents (and the monopoly rights they entail) is to promote innovation—in the hope of generating jobs and additional sources of revenue. Patents seek to do this by requiring the inventor to make prompt and full disclosure of the idea, so others may seek a licence to use it, or find ways to work around it. In exchange, the inventor is granted the right to exclude competitors for 20 years or so.

The cost to society of allowing a monopoly to flourish has long been assumed to be outweighed by the benefits that accrue from encouraging individuals to spend their own resources inventing useful things that did not exist before. In short, patents have been seen as a necessary evil for fostering innovation.

That assumption is now being challenged. Indeed, a debate has been raging in the United States over whether patents—especially those granted for protecting software ideas and business processes—help or hinder innovation.
patents  patent_law  Apple  Samsung  mobile_phones  smartphones  litigation  Richard_A._Posner  innovation  uChicago 
august 2012 by jerryking
Rich Karlgaard: Apple's Lawsuit Sent a Message to Google - WSJ.com
August 26, 2012 | WSJ | By RICH KARLGAARD
Rich Karlgaard: Apple's Lawsuit Sent a Message to Google
To Steve Jobs, Android stirred unpleasant memories of Microsoft Windows.
Apple  Samsung  litigation  Rich_Karlgaard  Google 
august 2012 by jerryking
Apple Gets Decisive Win in Patent Case - WSJ.com
August 24, 2012 | WSJ | By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO.

Apple, which cited more than 28 Samsung products, sued Samsung last year and accused the South Korean company of infringing seven patents. Samsung fired back, alleging that some iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch models infringed up to five patents....Apple has won big...being awarded $1.05 billion in damages and providing ammunition for more legal attacks on mobile-device rivals.

Jurors Friday found that Samsung infringed all but one of the seven patents at issue in the case—a patent covering the physical design of the iPad. They found all seven of Apple's patents valid—despite Samsung's attempts to have them thrown out. They also decided Apple didn't violate any of the five patents Samsung asserted against it.

The damage award is shy of Apple's request for more than $2.5 billion, but much larger than Samsung's estimates and still ranking among the largest intellectual-property awards on record.
litigation  Apple  Samsung  patent_law  patents  smartphones  intellectual_property 
august 2012 by jerryking
How Japan Lost Its Electronics Crown - WSJ.com
August 15, 2012 | WSJ | By DAISUKE WAKABAYASHI.
How Japan Lost Its Electronics Crown
Sony, Sharp and Panasonic Fixated on Hardware Breakthroughs; 'Sometimes, It's Easier to Run From Behind'

over the past 20 years for Japan's once-world-dominant electronics firms. Japanese companies have beaten rivals to the market with hardware breakthroughs—from flat-panel televisions to advanced mobile phones.

But in each case, foreign rivals have cashed in by delivering faster improvements, integrating the products with easy-to-use software and online services, and delivering a smarter marketing message....Now, Japan's device makers are an afterthought to Apple Inc., AAPL +0.27% Google Inc. GOOG +1.31% and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE +1.51%

Japan's current weakness is rooted in its traditional strength: a fixation with "monozukuri," or the art of making things, focused on hardware advances.

This concept, a source of national pride, pushed Japan's electronics firms to strive for products that were often the world's thinnest, smallest, or delivered other incremental improvement—while losing sight of factors that really mattered to people such as design and ease of use.

In the case of the e-reader, Sony was focused on selling devices, while Amazon was focused on selling books. As a result, the Kindle was more in tune with the raison d'être for purchasing the device: to buy and read books.

"Even though the first device definitely pointed the way to the future, it's a market that got away from Sony," said Mr. Gartenberg, research director at Gartner Inc. "Others have far more successfully capitalized."
Japan  consumer_electronics  e-books  Sony  Sharp  Panasonic  Toshiba  Samsung  e-readers  what_really_matters 
august 2012 by jerryking
Google at Center of Samsung-Apple Phone Patent Trial -
July 30, 2012 | WSJ.com | By JESSICA E. VASCELLARO.
Samsung Case Is a Proxy for Google
litigation  Apple  Samsung  Jessica_E._Vascellaro  Google 
july 2012 by jerryking
Five Galaxy features you won’t find on the iPhone - The Globe and Mail
Seth Fiegerman
NEW YORK— <a href="http://www.thestreet.com">TheStreet</a>
Published Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011

Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Samsung  Google  mobile_phones  iPhone 
october 2011 by jerryking
Googling Growth - WSJ.com
APRIL 9, 2007 | Wall Street Journal | by CHRIS ZOOK. Rapid
shifts in markets and technologies are forcing companies of all sorts to
change direction faster than ever. Many management teams are tempted
by "big bang" solutions: dramatic, transformative mergers or aggressive
leaps into sexy new markets. The success rate for major, life-changing
mergers is only about one in 10. For most companies, reinvention of a
core business doesn't have to involve such high levels of risk. The
solution lies in mining hidden assets -- assets already possessed but
not being tapped for maximum growth potential.
One way to open management's eyes to hidden assets is to identify the
richest hunting grounds, usually camouflaged as hidden business
platforms, untapped customer insights, and underused capabilities.
accelerated_lifecycles  Apple  assets  Bain  big_bang  business_models  Chris_Zook  core_businesses  customer_insights  GE  growth  hidden  high-risk  iPODs  latent  life-changing  M&A  mergers_&_acquisitions  moonshots  Nestlé  Novozymes  rapid_change  reinvention  resource_management  Samsung  success_rates  transformational  underutilization 
february 2010 by jerryking
Active inertia is the enemy of survival
Oct 8, 2009 | Financial Times pg. 16 | Book review by Richard
Donkin of Donald Sull's The Upside of Turbulence ; Seizing Opportunity
in an Uncertain World ; Harper Business, $27.99/pound(s)18.99. "the
risk, says Sull, is that complacency sets in as companies and their
bosses begin to believe their own press during the good times. The CEO
on the cover of a business magazine, a boss who looks like all the rest,
a grand headquarters - all are examples of companies resting on their
laurels.
Sull concentrates on building agility in business, allowing companies to
shift resources quickly from less promising to faster-growing areas.
Some companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, P & G and Samsung,
have cultivated portfolio agility at the heart of their businesses, he
says. Sull argues that the best companies are able to absorb the shocks
of market turbulence, using cash and profits from their strongest
business streams to cushion the effects of unforeseen events."
book_reviews  Donald_Sull  resilience  upside  turbulence  adversity  complacency  cost_of_inaction  inertia  Samsung  P&G  books  Johnson_&_Johnson  agility  uncertainty  unexpected  unforeseen  antifragility 
october 2009 by jerryking

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