I walked into a Best Buy store today with a purchase in mind as online it mentioned that the software products were in stock. So I figured it would be a simple grab it off the shelf and ring it out and it would be more convenient than waiting for the item to ship if I bought it online. Upon arriving I noticed that all the boxes were simply display boxes. That made sense as the items I wanted to buy buying were well over $100 and so it would be a huge loss for a business if it was stolen. So I thought I would then ask for an associate.
The first issue was there didn’t seem to be anyone available. If there were employees they all seemed to be in a safety meeting mode where people were clumped up amongst each other and discussing things such as what they have been doing in their personal lives. As well, what I observed is that the company appeared to have trimmed down its staff to the point where certain departments are not being handled by an “expert” at all. As a result, you have sections that are massively unattended and in this case you couldn’t find help.
So funny enough, the way I got assistance while at the store was for me to browse its site and do an in-store pickup. Afterwards I was talking to an actual person and he was trying to find an item which eventually he couldn’t. I then mentioned how it said it was in-stock online and he then was saying how the manufacturer recalled everything back due to it being an outdated software. I was thinking there is no way that is true considering they still sold the other versions at the store on top of the fact that I researched the product a lot ahead of time. Basically, he was lying to me it seems as he didn’t know the real answer as to why he couldn’t find any.
You just have to ask yourself, why would you bother to go into the actual store in this case when almost everything can be done online more efficiently with better service? I don’t even think it is so much that stores can’t compete with an online business but rather they aren’t trying very hard to adapt to the times. Like in this case maybe in the past consumers were more ignorant in blindly trusting a sales associate for information, but nowadays that information is everywhere which means the person should know what they are talking about. The same can be said if someone tries to tell you that they have the best deal in town where in the past you would probably have to drive around everywhere to verify that. Nowadays, you can even scan the items and it will search across the Internet for the best prices.
I am inclined to say that whole notion of investing in your people is probably even more true for businesses like Best Buy where it doesn’t seem like they are doing that which ultimately hurts its bottom line. At this rate, they may as well turn the whole store into a showroom as ironically at least that way you have a clear expectation on what to expect at the store.