Every time I go into a B&M store, I'm always armed with my smartphone. If I see something that looks expensive, I always cross-check the same item or a similar one with an online retailer. If the online retailer is cheaper and I can afford to wait a couple days, I leave the store empty handed. It's seriously that simple.
As more and more people realize that they can do this, it will begin to further chip away at the appeal of retail stores. That smartphone ensures that the customers are now more well equipped than that of the employees. Employees are 100% told not to use their phones or other devices in the stores. That means any customer that walks through the doors with a smartphone will win 100% of the time.
The retail stores will be forced to either 100% compete with online retailers, or they will have to undercut them. I understand the need for customer service, but when the consumer either knows more than the employee or has access to the information in a matter of a minute or less, then customer service becomes a moot-point... that is unless that customer service comes with other advantages, such as strong prices, instant gratification, and guarantees that the product will meet or exceed the expectations of the customer.
The world of retail for things such as electronics is still treating customer service as an afterthought to the product. That mentality needs to be switched. Premium Customer Service should be the first and ONLY goal of a B&M store. It's a proven fact that satisfied customers tend to spend more, but only if the prices are already competitive. If the prices are too high, they could care less about the customer service in most cases (The Apple Store disagrees with this mentality, but it's impossible to convince those drones of anything else.)
The model to fix Best Buy:
- Lower prices to compete with online retailers
- Genuinely help customers find a solution, either in store or online... even if that means suggesting a competitor.
- Make ordering online easier - if it can't be found it store, offer to ship it to your doorstep next day!
- STOP PUSHING EXPENSIVE ACCESSORIES AND CREDIT CARDS!!!
Do these 4 points, and watch the droves of people flood the stores. They will run out of inventory so quickly that there will be trucks there restocking every other day, rather than once a week.
And saying that stores like Best Buy can't compete on price is a load of crap. I've seen the overhead on these products, and the amount of money that BB makes on even stock items is staggering. Compete on price, and websites won't stand a chance unless it's a specialty product.Edited by Mad Pistol - 3/29/12 at 3:24pm