When was the last time you bought something at Best Buy?

For that matter, when was the last time you shopped at a Best Buy?

A couple of years ago, the company was brash and made headlines by categorizing its customers as angels or demons … and talking about it publically.

For example, from a Fortune article:

Best Buy concluded that companies are often oblivious to the fact that not all customers are profitable ones. Some are very lucrative to deal with, while others cost more to sell to than the business is worth.

They called the first group angel customers and the second demons.

By catering to the angels, companies can reward customers, employees and shareholders alike.

In short, here’s how it works: Figure out which customers make you the most money, segment them carefully, then realign your stores and empower employees to target those favored shoppers with products and services that will encourage them to spend more and come back often.

Sounds good.

Unless you’re slotted as a demon, in which case you get shunned as profitless instead of being cultivated for your potential.

Even at the time, critics argued that intentionally dissing a bunch of your customers was a bad idea for retailers.  Someday, you may just need those demons to keep you afloat

Well, it seems that those days have come for Best Buy.

A recent Forbes article is titled: “Why Best Buy is going out of business gradually”.

In a nutshell, the author points out that a nimble  Amazon is cleaning Best Buy’s clock, that killer electronic products are few and far between, and that having money tied up in brick & mortar isn’t where you want to be these days.

He forgot to mention the demons … maybe they’re getting their revenge.

Thanks to AY for feeding the lead

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One Response to “When was the last time you bought something at Best Buy?”

  1. Bernard Nossuli Says:

    Your Best Buy article struck a chord with me. I thought you might appreciate one of my recent BB experiences:

    BB opened at midnight the Thursday of Thanksgiving. My mom needed a new computer, so I volunteered to get one for her. I arrived and parked at the store at 11:57pm. Got to the front of the store and saw a line. I figured, “how long could this be?” and started walking to the end of the queue. I walked for a block, and kep walking for another block. And another. After about another half-block, I made it to the end of the line. I thought, “well, the doors open now and we should all be able to get in fairly expeditiously.” (Perhaps at this point in the story you can denounce my reasoning for not turning around the moment I even saw the line, but i digress). In any case, they were letting in about 40 people at a time. As a result, it took me 75 minutes to even get into the store!

    Once there, I went to the computers and selected the one I wanted to purchase. Of course, at BB, the price labels never match the products themselves. So, I asked one of the under-qualified “associates” to provide the price. He went to his computer, and after five minutes, informed me that the product I had selected was on sale for $530. Super, i thought to myself. However, having been burned at BB before, I asked him to write down the price on the box. He refused, saying, “Um, i don’t think i’m allowed to do that. But just bring it to the register, and you’ll get that price.” I reluctantly agreed and headed to the checkout line. Only, THAT line was egregiously long as well. So, i thought outside the box and noticed that there was an open cash register in the music department. I raced there and was ready to pay for my computer when the cashier scanned it and told me that i owed $680 with tax. When I explained that the associate had quoted me $530, the cashier told me that the $680 was in the system and that he could do nothing about changing it. So, I declined to pay and raced back across the store to the computer section, with my computer in hand, to find the friendly associate. I waited about another 5 minutes before I could locate him. Finally, i flagged him down and explained the situation. So, he told me he would check the computer again and get back to me.

    I waited five minutes. Then ten. Finally, 15 minutes passed. The helpful associate went on the lam! He never showed up. Well, i was fed up. The only saving grace was that I had my ipad with me. So, I went on BB.com, found a similar model for a similar price that the associate had originally quoted and purchased it.

    In summary, I wasted two hours of my life standing in line, going to a bricks-and-mortar BB, talking to these knowledgeable associates for a computer that I could have purchased at my convenience at home in my pajamas (all the while not throwing off my sleep schedule for a day or so).


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