Best Buy is changing its retail attitude yet again. Earlier this year it finally got out of the UK partnership with Carphone Warehouse, a venture that was supposed to bring American-style big box stores to British shoppers. Given the struggling economy and changing shopping behavior, that strategy is gone.
Recently, Best Buy's US stores have been carving out store-within-a-store sections devoted to specific brands like Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft (above). By adding depth to high-profile branded inventories and training salepeople on product specs and benefits, Best Buy aims to convince shoppers to buy in the store rather than going the showrooming route and defecting to online competitors. This also requires a sharp pencil for pricing--which appears to be hurting Best Buy's margins, for now.
Given its tech orientation, it's not surprising that Best Buy is social and mobile: It has 6.7 million Facebook likes, 365,000 Twitter followers (not including its dedicated customer support Twitter account), a Best Buy YouTube channel, and of course apps for mobile browsing and buying.
Can Best Buy parlay its multichannel presence and branded boutiques into higher sales and profits?