Brian Dunn, The CEO of Best Buy, resigned this week. The reasons are clear on the face of it – Best Buy, like Borders, Circuit City, Blockbuster, Tower Records – you name the company – couldn’t withstand the onslaught of social and mobile networks.
Critics said Best Buy, which dominated electronics the physical retailing world of this industry for much of the past two decades, wasn’t moving swiftly enough to counter the emergence of consumers armed with smartphones, who use the company’s large stores as showrooms for merchandise that they then purchased on line.
Despite the CNBC documentary less than 2 months earlier about the return of the big box, when Brian said he was sticking with his big box approach to retailing, it was clear in the end, the buying on-line is faster, better and cheaper for many of us. More importantly, competitors, such as amazon aren’t burdened with the added cost of operating stores, and Apple, just delivers an amazing shopping experience in person that Best Buy doesn’t understand.
The real question for all physical retailers is can they avoid the same fate of these companies if they don’t embrace social, mobile and cloud technologies? I don’t think so unless they deliver an in store experience that parallels Apple.
Like the old expression goes – it’s all about location, location, location. And today’s location is On-line! The question for all retailers is: what are you doing to meet your customers where they are, not where you are? Happy retailing!