A few short years ago, many in the retail world and beyond were beginning to write the eulogy for Best Buy. The consumer electronics giant was being taken apart brick by brick by online retailers and showrooming.
Fast forward to present day, Best Buy is in the midst of a reimagining, breathing new life into its brick-and-mortar stores and adapting to the current retail climate to remain viable.
Among the myriad of steps taken to reduce costs and increase profit – store sales rose almost 4% over last year – there is one thing Best Buy would not skimp on, the customer experience.
According to a recent article in Business Insider:
“Despite the more than $1 billion of costs taken out of the business, [CEO Hubert] Joly stated in Best Buy’s most recent conference call that the amount of customer-facing labor has increased. The company’s rounds of layoffs have mostly targeted middle managers and staff at the company’s headquarters, an approach that ensures that the customer experience doesn’t take a hit for the sake of cutting costs.”
Some electronics chains cut costs across the board to stay afloat only to sink even faster (Circuit City), Best Buy was very strategic about where it cut costs and where it knew it needed to keep the foot on the gas. Instead they embraced that which made them unique against their online adversaries, the ability to walk into a store and see, touch, and engage with their inventory.
Best Buy is not finished and will certainly need to trim some fat in other areas of the organization, but their commitment to the customer experience is a decision that has paid off and can serve as a case study for other retailers facing the same situation.
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