Best Buy has been working on making a move toward focusing on online sales vs your normal in-store experience for a few years now. In doing so, they have been fancying many ways of still making use of their stores while also cutting back on staff and other operational expenses. Various methods have been tested in both the US and Canada, which includes the use of floor space for more of an exhibit experience where you’d browse in person, and then order the product online once a decision has been made (like buying a Tesla).
Now, thanks to the wonderful effect that Covid has had on everything, they have been applying even more pressure onto this plan over the last year. During this window, Best Buys has laid off thousands of workers across all of its store locations, adding 5,000 over the last few weeks.
This has been a tough time for retail, with many companies shrinking or even closing their doors. Just recently, the complete fall of Fry’s Electronics was felt across the country (given, it was mostly due to their own actions over the last few years).
Best Buy’s situation is a little different, as the company has been wanting to make this transition for some time now as online sales continue to climb. The past year simply seems to have given them plenty of time to plan forward and speed things along. So, at least, the company doesn’t seem like it will be doing anything drab like closing its doors anytime soon.
In the future, you might find yourself experiencing a completely new vibe as you walk into a Best Buy store. An experience close to walking into a show like CES or E3. A practice that many consumers have been doing for years on their own as online shopping overtakes the pricing and availability of retail stores. To simply walk into a store, get a feel for something to make sure it is a good fit for you, and then go online to look for better options. The only difference is that Best Buy wants to capture that traffic and get customers to order from Best Buy’s website before they leave the store. While also bringing in a whole new form of possible income through sponsored floor/exhibit space (just like a convention floor).
Who’s to say if they continue down that path or not. They still have plenty of time to shift their ideas around and make a decision on what shape they want to take. They could have already chosen a new path between now and when we got our last bit of information of what’s in the works. Either way, they seem to have a hard focus on online sales before anything else. The demand is there and it is an evergrowing one.