Best Buy is Still In Business. How is That Even Possible?

The last decade was brutal to the U.S. consumer electronics retailing industry. Several well-known companies failed, including Circuit City, Radio Shack, and Brookstone. And with the entrance of giant discounters CostCo and WalMart together with Amazon into the market space, success in the industry has become even more difficult to achieve.

Yet against all odds, Best Buy in 2017 remained the largest consumer electronics retailer in the U.S.

Just how did Best Buy pull that off? A recent article provides some insights and lessons applicable to any company in any industry:

  1. Reinvent your business. Best Buy doesn’t think of itself as a retailer, but as a “consultant to consumers like Accenture to businesses” and its employees as personal chief technology officers.
  2. Don’t assume the market is a zero-sum game. Instead, the company believes there is plenty of market share for both Best Buy and Amazon.
  3. Get close to customers (via 20,000 Geek Squad-ers). Determine how to “value and capture customers’ time”.
  4. Identify a key competitive advantage. Best Buy has something that Amazon and Google don’t have – over 1,000 big-box store locations.
  5. Leverage the competitive advantage. In a counterintuitive move, Best Buy has worked with competitors to establish in-store mini-shops including Apple boutiques, Samsung and Microsoft stores-within-stores, and space dedicated to Amazon and Google products.

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