recentpopularlog in

jerryking : consumer_electronics   10

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
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
For Some Manufacturers, There Are Benefits to Keeping Production at Home - WSJ.com
January 22, 2007 | WSJ | By MARK WHITEHOUSE.

much of what can go abroad already has, leaving behind what can and should be made in the U.S. One area of strength: high-end goods like top-of-the-line $6,000 Sony Grand WEGA TV sets and $15,000 Sub-Zero PRO 48 refrigerators, which appeal to the affluent folks who have been driving much of the growth in U.S. consumer spending.

"It's the very high-end products," says Daniel Meckstroth, chief economist at Manufacturers Alliance, a trade group. "Manufacturers who have niche markets in high-end products have a very good outlook."...."Manufacturing is contributing to the welfare of the economy in terms of standard of living, but it's not generating net new jobs," says Mr. Meckstroth. "The electronics sector is one of the areas where that's most visible."
manufacturers  offshoring  white_goods  Sub-Zero  appliances  onshoring  high-end  consumer_electronics 
june 2012 by jerryking
Best Buy Details Store Closings - WSJ.com
April 14, 2012 | WSJ | By MIGUEL BUSTILLO.

Best Buy Details Store Closings
Best_Buy  big-box  retailers  consumer_electronics 
may 2012 by jerryking
Toshiba Sets Sights on Southeast Asia - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 30, 2010

Toshiba Set to Tap Emerging Markets
Company's new TV sets will be designed to counter blackouts and poor reception often found in emerging markets
By JURO OSAWA
Toshiba  emerging_markets  Southeast_Asia  television  consumer_electronics  tv 
july 2011 by jerryking
When Being First Doesn't Make You No. 1 - WSJ.com
AUG.12, 2004|WSJ|CRIS PRYSTAY.In Jan. 2000--almost 2 yrs.
before Apple.'s iPod hit the mkt.--Singapore-based Creative Tech.
unveiled a similar prod.: an MP3 player w. a tiny hard drive that stored
hundreds of hrs. of music. In biz., though, being 1st doesn't always
make you No. 1. Creative is best-known for its Sound Blaster audio cards
for PCs, a product category it pioneered & dominates. But it's
still a niche player; annual sales are a tenth of Apple's. Apple ran
mktg. rings around Creative even in its own backyard. For iPod's
Singapore launch in late 2001, Apple plastered the CBD with funky
posters & ran a hip ad blitz in movie theaters.Creative's response
finally came last month, when it began sponsoring a children's TV show
& running its 1st-ever TV ad campaign--but only in Singapore.
"There's been a big shift in our biz, & right now, our biggest
challenge is mktg.," concedes founder/CEO, Sim Wong Hoo. "But I'm
stingy. I don't want to waste $ unless I know it's going to work."
branding  Xerox  Ricoh  image_advertising  Apple  iPODs  competitive_landscape  product_launches  Singapore  first_movers  fast_followers  consumer_electronics  marketing  new_products  new_categories  category_killers 
october 2010 by jerryking
HOW LESSIONS LEARNED IN CANADA ARE FUELLING A $100-BILLION AMBITION
May 12, 2009 | Globe & Mail | by DAVID EBNER.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20090512.RBESTBUY12ART1933//TPStory/Business

Multiple brands in different businesses are not unusual.

In beverages, Coca-Cola Co. sells an array of products.

In the automobile industry, it's a hallmark of companies such as General Motors Corp. In retail, examples include Hudson's Bay Co., which operates higher-end Bay and lower-end Zellers stores.

In electronics, however, it can be more challenging to differentiate between brands. According to Best Buy Canada president Michael Pratt, the difference is in the details. "Anything that is customer-facing should be a different experience for the consumer," he said, referring to both the look of a store and the products.

In general terms, Best Buy's brand is positioned as a no-hassle electronics retailer, with ready-made packages and wider aisles designed to attract women (who appreciate having room to manoeuvre strollers or keep toddlers in tow, as well as being able to move around in a neat space without bumping into displays). Future Shop, in contrast, is the place for tech geeks.

While both brands sell computers and televisions, the selection isn't the same. More than 50 per cent of the models in various categories offered at Future Shop will be different from Best Buy.
lessons_learned  consumer_electronics  branding  Future_Shop  Best_Buy  big-box  sub-brands  customer-facing  brands  product_portfolios  Canada  Canadian  retailers 
may 2009 by jerryking

Copy this bookmark:





to read