Saturday, January 22, 2011

Close Encounter with Best Buy On, an example of a multi-channel approach that includes "in-store digital media" and an on-line magazine

(Cross-posted on the Interactive Multimedia Technology blog.)
Over the next 9 months or so,  I'll be in the market for a computer, an iPad or something similar, a Kinect, and maybe a mid-size Internet-enabled HDTV.  As a consequence,  I turned in to  a Best Buy on my way home from work Friday to see what I could find.  I didn't want to spend much time at the store, since I'm the type of shopper who goes in, finds the desired item(s), and leaves.  

During this trip to Best Buy, my shopping habits were broken, at least temporarily.  I found myself wandering around, looking at the numerous displays of all sizes located about the store.  The displays distracted me from my intended mission.  

I spend more time in the store than I'd planned, and I left the store empty-handed.  But that is OK, since I think that this strategy, in the long run, will have the power to entice me back to the store and leave knowing that I've made an informed purchase.

According to Gail Chiasson in her Daily DOOH post,"Best Buy's New In-Store Network", Best Buy established an internal advertising and editorial team in 2009, and officially launched a multichannel network called Best Buy On, which extends the in-store network of displays, to the online magazine, also called Best Buy On .   Best Buy On focuses on different theme each month. This month's theme featured all of the cool things that were unveiled at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. 

The bottom line is that customers are provided with with enhanced information about various products in each department, and can access additional information on-line.  In turn, this might lead to better sales and happier repeat customers in the long run.

There is room for improvement.  It would be nice if the in-store network of displays was less disjointed.  I was puzzled by the somewhat inconvenient placement of some of the displays.  The content running on the screens also could be better focused on the needs of the customers in specific departments, including the needs of customers from all age groups. For example, my 80-year-old mother needs a new laptop and would also like to find an eReader that is suitable for someone her age.  I'm not sure what she'd make of the displays that run animated comments about products from Facebook fans!

Although there is room for improvement, the Best Buy On approach is a start.   I would like to see more touch-enabled displays as part the in-store network, given the fact that Best Buy sells touch-screen gadgets, tablets, and all-in-one PCs.  They also need to get the Kinect demo up and running!

Below is a slideshow of the pictures I snapped as I wandered about Best Buy:

FAR OUT 1/9/11 (Best Buy On video about products at CES)
video platform video management video solutions video player
What is Best Buy On?  (Description of on-line magazine)
Best Buy Addresses High-Tech Obsolescence
Shirley Brady, Brand Channel, 1/18/11
Buy Back Program from Best Buy Helps "Future-Proof" Today's CE Purchases
Jeremy Baier, Best Buy, 1/10/11
"Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn describes the consumer electronics retailer's just-launched Buy Back program as "a game-changer." The goal: to help customers embrace new technology with greater confidence."