Experiencing the new "Store Within A Store" concept at my local Best Buy has completely restored my faith in the retailer.
I've always been partial to Best Buy, but the painful sting of losing our Circuit Cities a few years back left me bracing for the other shoe to drop. I remained hopeful as Best Buy announced its "Connected Stores" in 2011, but was uninspired by the resulting changes to their format. Where was the store's entertainment factor? Where was my shopping experience? It seemed as though all Best Buy had to offer was a mounted set of 3-D glasses in their TV section and a few video game consoles (half not functioning and half perpetually occupied by kids).
"Experiencing the new "Store Within A Store" concept at my local Best Buy has completely restored my faith in the retailer."
As I walked into the new store format, it immediately evoked emotion. Directly ahead of me, where I was used to seeing the "Computers" section, was the new Windows Store. Even though I was there for camera equipment, I immediately walked to the back and started playing with the new Windows tablets. I postponed my camera shopping further to go talk to the Google reps to experiment with the new Chromebooks and, just for the sake of having the experience (and even though I'm a devoted iPhone user), I even spent a good amount of time experimenting with some of the Samsung phones.
When I finished playing around, I went and tracked down my camera accessories and headed for checkout. Funny thing though, I'm now actively trying to pick out a Windows 8 laptop as a result of my experience in Best Buy—I hadn't been previously interested in Windows 8.
This is, in my opinion, the right direction for Best Buy. They should become the first true electronics department store. Instead of generating revenue solely from selling products, why not start sub-leasing space to companies to showroom their products. Give companies a place to feature what they are doing. It could become a year-round CES to showcase new technology. Also, bring in the start-ups. What better way to feature your new product than to be able to show it off across hundreds of Best Buy stores across the country.
Best Buy should jump in with both feet and adopt a broad expansion of this in all of its stores. It could become the place to go for any potential electronics consumer. The next step is for Best Buy to become a junior anchor in our malls. This concept would fit perfectly with the shopping experience we create in our malls.