Apple stores have been popping up across the world, and apparently, that has caused at least one electronics retailer to grow extremely envious. Recent reports from Best Buy have suggested that the big-box electronics retailers is considering creating smaller, friendlier versions of its stores in cities across North America.
In fact, Best Buy has already built one such store in a city in Minnesota, which is where Best Buy is based. That store is approximately 20% smaller than the traditional Best Buy warehouse locations, and it’s designed to focus attention on some of the hottest electronic products, including tablets, e-readers, and smartphones.
Why are those three products so popular? Well, one of the main reasons why customers still visit retail electronics stores (as opposed to simply ordering online), is that they want to get a hands-on feel for the products they’re about to buy. Since it’s difficult to judge the quality of a tablet or e-reader from the comfort of your home, many people head to the nearest Best Buy location. In other words, brick-and-mortar electronics retailers still have a place in this world.
Many of the changes made to the smaller Best Buy store reflect innovations that Apple has introduced in its own retail locations. Along with being smaller, the new Best Buy also has a ‘Solution Central’ desk staffed by the notoriously expensive Geek Squad employees. Meanwhile, Apple stores have a Genius Bar where customers can also get computer repairs – for a price.
For now, Best Buy plans to convert 60 of its stores to the new format in an effort to get a bigger sample size for these changes.
If these improvements go through, it will make a huge change for Best Buy’s image. After all, when most people think of Best Buy they think of a huge electronics warehouse filled with semi-knowledgeable staff members and long lines of angry customers.
With more and more people buying products online, Best Buy doesn’t exactly need the cavernous warehouse space any more. The company expects that downsizing its stores will cut costs without impacting sales. Apparently, Best Buy retail locations have already suffered from dwindling sales in recent years, and a store redesign could fuel new growth – or at least temporarily stop the bleeding.