Logo of Best Buy, US-based retail chain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Not too long back, I had posted an article on Best Buy’s closing down of 50 selected stores. In the article I had mentioned how brick and mortar stores such as Best Buy can actually survive the onslaughts of online juggernauts such as Amazon. Unfortunately, lately I have the feeling that Best Buy might never be able to recover and will find itself to go down the path of failed big box retailers such as Circuit City. How come? So far, Best Buy does not show any sign of taking customers away from its main competitors such as Amazon, and so Best Buy’s in store strategies are definitely not working to Best Buy’s advantages. Meanwhile, personally and recently I had a bad online experience with Best Buy which confirmed my thinking now that Best Buy might never be able to regain the market dominance.
So, the story went like this. I purchased Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings with Best Buy’s website. I went for the digital download version. I thought digital download version would be quicker than just drive to the store and grab a physical copy of the game. I was wrong! After the purchased of the digital version of Witcher 2 Assassins of Kings, I waited for at least forty five minutes to one hour more (something like that) before I received a confirmation email that contained the instruction and detail of game download. Unfortunately, Best Buy wanted you to download Best Buy PC App first before you could download whatever digital contents you bought with Best Buy. So I went ahead and downloaded Best Buy PC App, and I found out the app refused my login credential even though I had log into Best Buy account using the browser just fine, using the same credential of course. I called up Best Buy for help but got redirected couple times before someone was able to help me solve my problem. So, I thought finally everything would be smooth sailing! Unfortunately, I found out that through Best Buy PC App, the download of the game was way too slow. Sure, the game was huge in size, around 13 GB, but I had downloaded many things around this size so many times faster than the download speed that I got from Best Buy PC App.
My Internet connection was and still is capable of downloading stuffs up to 24 Mb/s, but my download with Best Buy PC App felt like the speed was lurking below 5 Mb/s! I wasn’t downloading anything else at the time! The download with Best Buy should not have any competition, therefore it should be able to download much much faster. It wasn’t the case as you already knew!
The moral of the story was that Best Buy’s online capability is so limited that it hurts just to buy stuffs from Best Buy’s online presence (i.e., website). The idea of downloading digital contents from Best Buy is to save time from driving to a store — an illusion of instant gratification. Perhaps, I think in certain scenarios even this notion might not be so true when one does the math, to be exact. (What if you live so near to a Best Buy that you can just walk to it? So driving to the store might get you the game faster than downloading a really huge game over the Internet, right?) Unfortunately, Best Buy’s online presence is too slow to deliver its digital contents, therefore Best Buy’s online competitors may not have a hard time in pulling certain customers away from Best Buy. Don’t Best Buy know that their online customers might also be their brick and mortar customers? When a brand is as huge as Best Buy fails to beef up its online presence, it tells the customers that Best Buy brand isn’t a serious brand anymore. The feeling of Best Buy isn’t serious enough might translate into something much worse for Best Buy brand, because Best Buy isn’t the only brand in town that can deliver the goods. So, I think Best Buy needs to beef up its online presence quick and they have to do it right or else time is running out for Best Buy, I think!
In summary, I really want to see Best Buy and other brick and mortar stores survive and thrive, because these stores allow me to experience an illusion of instant gratification — as in driving to a store and grab something quick. Nonetheless, when these stores fail to please customers on their premises, their only chance might be all about their online presences (another potential for delivering an illusion of instant gratification). If these brick and mortar stores have weak online presences, in general isn’t this means that these stores are deliberately delivering a slow death to their brands? It won’t be a good thing for customers when brick and mortar stores go away, because waiting for one day delivery is still one day waiting. Sometimes, more days of waiting for a delivery can happen at chances. So, I really want to see Best Buy and similar brick and mortar stores shape themselves up, quick and fast!