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best buy picking customers

Old 11-08-04, 09:20 AM
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best buy picking customers

Nice story in the Wall Street Journal today.

the points are

1. BB is seeing Wal Mart as a major competitor in the next 5 years and taking steps to survive.

2. They are categorizing their customers and local BB's will stock items depending on local demographics

3. they are going to improve service quality, but it will cost you money

4. they are not going to do any promotions except for their most profitable customers

5. if you are not in their new demographic they want you to go to wal mart or someone else


Minding the Store
Analyzing Customers, Best Buy
Decides Not All Are Welcome

Retailer Aims to Outsmart
Dogged Bargain-Hunters,
And Coddle Big Spenders
Looking for 'Barrys' and 'Jills'
By GARY MCWILLIAMS
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
November 8, 2004

Brad Anderson, chief executive officer of Best Buy Co., is embracing a
heretical notion for a retailer. He wants to separate the "angels"
among his 1.5 million daily customers from the "devils."

Best Buy's angels are customers who boost profits at the
consumer-electronics giant by snapping up high-definition televisions,
portable electronics, and newly released DVDs without waiting for
markdowns or rebates.

The devils are its worst customers. They buy products, apply for
rebates, return the purchases, then buy them back at
returned-merchandise discounts. They load up on "loss leaders,"
severely discounted merchandise designed to boost store traffic, then
flip the goods at a profit on eBay. They slap down rock-bottom price
quotes from Web sites and demand that Best Buy make good on its
lowest-price pledge. "They can wreak enormous economic havoc," says
Mr. Anderson.

Best Buy estimates that as many as 100 million of its 500 million
customer visits each year are undesirable. And the 54-year-old chief
executive wants to be rid of these customers.

Mr. Anderson's new approach upends what has long been standard
practice for mass merchants. Most chains use their marketing budgets
chiefly to maximize customer traffic, in the belief that more visitors
will lift revenue and profit. Shunning customers -- unprofitable or
not -- is rare and risky.

Mr. Anderson says the new tack is based on a business-school theory
that advocates rating customers according to profitability, then
dumping the up to 20% that are unprofitable. The financial-services
industry has used a variation of that approach for years, lavishing
attention on its best customers and penalizing its unprofitable
customers with fees for using ATMs or tellers or for obtaining bank
records.

Best Buy seems an unlikely candidate for a radical makeover. With
$24.5 billion in sales last year, the Richfield, Minn., company is the
nation's top seller of consumer electronics. Its big, airy stores and
wide inventory have helped it increase market share, even as rivals
such as Circuit City Stores Inc. and Sears, Roebuck & Co., have
struggled. In the 2004 fiscal year that ended in February, Best Buy
reported net income of $570 million, up from $99 million during the
year-earlier period marred by an unsuccessful acquisition, but still
below the $705 million it earned in fiscal 2002.

But Mr. Anderson spies a hurricane on the horizon. Wal-Mart Stores
Inc., the world's largest retailer, and Dell Inc., the largest
personal-computer maker, have moved rapidly into high-definition
televisions and portable electronics, two of Best Buy's most
profitable areas. Today, they rank respectively as the nation's
second- and fourth-largest consumer-electronics sellers.

Mr. Anderson worries that his two rivals "are larger than us, have a
lower [overhead], and are more profitable." In five years, he fears,
Best Buy could wind up like Toys 'R' Us Inc., trapped in what
consultants call the "unprofitable middle," unable to match Wal-Mart's
sheer buying power, while low-cost online sellers like Dell pick off
its most affluent customers. Toys 'R' Us recently announced it was
considering exiting the toy business.

This year, Best Buy has rolled out its new angel-devil strategy in
about 100 of its 670 stores. It is examining sales records and
demographic data and sleuthing through computer databases to identify
good and bad customers. To lure the high-spenders, it is stocking more
merchandise and providing more appealing service. To deter the
undesirables, it is cutting back on promotions and sales tactics that
tend to draw them, and culling them from marketing lists.

As he prepares to roll out the unconventional strategy throughout the
chain, Mr. Anderson faces significant risks. The pilot stores have
proven more costly to operate. Because different pilot stores target
different types of customers, they threaten to scramble the chain's
historic economies of scale. The trickiest challenge may be to deter
bad customers without turning off good ones.

"Culturally I want to be very careful," says Mr. Anderson. "The most
dangerous image I can think of is a retailer that wants to fire
customers."

Mr. Anderson's campaign against devil customers pits Best Buy against
an underground of bargain-hungry shoppers intent on wringing every
nickel of savings out of big retailers. At dozens of Web sites like
FatWallet.com, SlickDeals.net and TechBargains.com, they trade
electronic coupons and tips from former clerks and insiders, hoping to
gain extra advantages against the stores.

At SlickDeals.net, whose subscribers boast about techniques for
gaining hefty discounts, a visitor recently bragged about his practice
of shopping at Best Buy only when he thinks he can buy at below the
retailer's cost. He claimed to purchase only steeply discounted loss
leaders, except when forcing Best Buy to match rock-bottom prices
advertised elsewhere. "I started only shopping there if I can [price
match] to where they take a loss," he wrote, claiming he was motivated
by an unspecified bad experience with the chain. In an e-mail
exchange, he declined to identify himself or discuss his tactics, lest
his targets be forewarned.

Mr. Anderson's makeover plan began taking shape two years ago when the
company retained as a consultant Larry Selden, a professor at Columbia
University's Graduate School of Business. Mr. Selden has produced
research tying a company's stock-market value to its ability to
identify and cater to profitable customers better than its rivals do.
At many companies, Mr. Selden argues, losses produced by devil
customers wipe out profits generated by angels.

Best Buy's troubled acquisitions of MusicLand Stores Corp. and two
other retailers had caused its share price and price-to-earnings ratio
to tumble. Mr. Selden recalls advising Mr. Anderson: "The best time to
fix something is when you're still making great money but your
[price-to-earnings ratio] is going down."

Mr. Selden had never applied his angel-devil theories to a retailer as
large as Best Buy, whose executives were skeptical that 20% of
customers could be unprofitable. In mid-2002, Mr. Selden outlined his
theories during several weekend meetings in Mr. Anderson's Trump Tower
apartment. Mr. Anderson was intrigued by Mr. Selden's insistence that
a company should view itself as a portfolio of customers, not product
lines.

Mr. Anderson put his chief operating officer in charge of a task force
to analyze the purchasing histories of several groups of customers,
with an eye toward identifying bad customers who purchase loss-leading
merchandise and return purchases. The group discovered it could
distinguish the angels from the devils, and that 20% of Best Buy's
customers accounted for the bulk of profits.

In October 2002, Mr. Anderson instructed the president of Best Buy's
U.S. stores, Michael P. Keskey, to develop a plan to realign stores to
target distinct groups of customers rather than to push a uniform mix
of merchandise. Already deep into a cost-cutting program involving
hundreds of employees, Mr. Keskey balked, thinking his boss had fallen
for a business-school fad. He recalls telling Mr. Anderson, "You've
lost touch with what's happening in your business."

Mr. Anderson was furious, and Mr. Keskey says he wondered whether it
was time to leave the company. But after meeting with the chief
operating officer and with Mr. Selden, Mr. Keskey realized there was
no turning back, he says.

Best Buy concluded that its most desirable customers fell into five
distinct groups: upper-income men, suburban mothers, small-business
owners, young family men, and technology enthusiasts. Mr. Anderson
decided that each store should analyze the demographics of its local
market, then focus on two of these groups and stock merchandise
accordingly.

Best Buy began working on ways to deter the customers who drove
profits down. It couldn't bar them from its stores. But this summer it
began taking steps to put a stop to their most damaging practices. It
began enforcing a restocking fee of 15% of the purchase price on
returned merchandise. To discourage customers who return items with
the intention of repurchasing them at an "open-box" discount, it is
experimenting with reselling them over the Internet, so the goods
don't reappear in the store where they were originally purchased.

"In some cases, we can solve the problem by tightening up procedures
so people can't take advantage of the system," explains Mr. Anderson.

In July, Best Buy cut ties to FatWallet.com, an online "affiliate"
that had collected referral fees for delivering customers to Best
Buy's Web site. At FatWallet.com, shoppers swap details of
loss-leading merchandise and rebate strategies. Last October, the site
posted Best Buy's secret list of planned Thanksgiving weekend loss
leaders, incurring the retailer's ire. Timothy C. Storm, president of
Roscoe, Ill.-based FatWallet, said the information may have leaked
from someone who had an early look at advertisements scheduled to run
the day after Thanksgiving.

In a letter to Mr. Storm, Best Buy explained it was cutting the online
link between FatWallet and BestBuy.com because the referrals were
unprofitable. The letter said it was terminating all sites that
"consistently and historically have put us in a negative business
position."

Mr. Storm defends FatWallet.com's posters as savvy shoppers.
"Consumers don't set the prices. The merchants have complete control
over what their prices and policies are," he says.

Shunning customers can be a delicate business. Two years ago, retailer
Filene's Basement was vilified on television and in newspaper columns
for asking two Massachusetts customers not to shop at its stores
because of what it said were frequent returns and complaints. Earlier
this year, Mr. Anderson apologized in writing to students at a
Washington, D.C., school after employees at one store barred a group
of black students while admitting a group of white students.

Mr. Anderson says the incident in Washington was inappropriate and not
a part of any customer culling. He maintains that Best Buy will first
try to turn its bad customers into profitable ones by inducing them to
buy warranties or more profitable services. "In most cases, customers
wouldn't recognize the options we've tried so far," he says.

Store clerks receive hours of training in identifying desirable
customers according to their shopping preferences and behavior.
High-income men, referred to internally as Barrys, tend to be
enthusiasts of action movies and cameras. Suburban moms, called Jills,
are busy but usually willing to talk about helping their families.
Male technology enthusiasts, nicknamed Buzzes, are early adopters,
interested in buying and showing off the latest gadgets.

Staffers use quick interviews to pigeonhole shoppers. A customer who
says his family has a regular "movie night," for example, is pegged a
prime candidate for home-theater equipment. Shoppers with large
families are steered toward larger appliances and time-saving
products.

The company hopes to lure the Barrys and Jills by helping them save
time with services like a "personal shopper" to help them hunt for
unusual items, alert them to sales on preferred items, and coordinate
service calls.

Best Buy's decade-old Westminster, Calif., store is one of 100 now
using the new approach. It targets upper-income men with an array of
pricey home-theater systems, and small-business owners with network
servers, which connect office PCs, and technical help unavailable to
other customers.

On Tuesdays, when new movie releases hit the shelves, blue-shirted
sales clerks prowl the DVD aisles looking for promising candidates.
The goal is to steer them into a back room that showcases $12,000
high-definition home-theater systems. Unlike the television sections
at most Best Buy stores, the room has easy chairs, a leather couch,
and a basket of popcorn to mimic the media rooms popular with
home-theater fans.

At stores popular with young Buzzes, Best Buy is setting up videogame
areas with leather chairs and game players hooked to mammoth,
plasma-screen televisions. The games are conveniently stacked outside
the playing area, the glitzy new TVs a short stroll away.

Mr. Anderson says early results indicate that the pilot stores "are
clobbering" the conventional stores. Through the quarter ended Aug.
28, sales gains posted by pilot stores were double those of
traditional stores. In October, the company began converting another
70 stores.

Best Buy intends to customize the remainder of its stores over the
next three years. As it does, it will lose the economies and
efficiencies of look-alike stores. With each variation, it could
become more difficult to keep the right items in stock, a critical
issue in a business where a shortage of a hot-selling big-screen TV
can wreak havoc on sales and customer goodwill.

Overhead costs at the pilot stores have run one to two percentage
points higher than traditional stores. Sales specialists cost more, as
do periodic design changes. Mr. Anderson says the average cost per
store should fall as stores share winning ideas for targeting
customers.
Old 11-08-04, 09:30 AM
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"The devils are its worst customers. They buy products, apply for
rebates, return the purchases, then buy them back at
returned-merchandise discounts. They load up on "loss leaders,"
severely discounted merchandise designed to boost store traffic, then
flip the goods at a profit on eBay. They slap down rock-bottom price
quotes from Web sites and demand that Best Buy make good on its
lowest-price pledge. "They can wreak enormous economic havoc," says
Mr. Anderson.



Amazing how accurately they described the average DVD Talker!
Old 11-08-04, 09:32 AM
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They've stopped advertising the price on some big-title DVD's, which means for most consumers you have to go into the store to see the price. Makes it harder to compare and price match, and people are likely to just go and buy it.
Old 11-08-04, 09:39 AM
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I'm somewhat insulted by the linking of customers who 'apply for rebates' [which half the time are manufacturer's rebates, and you're lucky if you ever get it anyway], and people who do the buy/return/rebuy or price-match website things. Those are not at all the same thing. I don't have a problem with stores not pricematching websites, or barring resellers [of course, if I go in there and buy one copy of each of 5 loss leaders, well, that's my business].

Groucho: Do you think people are more likely to go in and buy a dvd, for example, that says 'Low Price! ' I personally am less likely to do so. If it's a new release, it'll be available everywhere, and if they're going to waste the paper and energy to print a circular, they should include the prices, so I'm more likely to go somewhere else who actually tells me the price of the item they're advertising.

It seems like he's focusing on the two extremes, the angels and devils, and not the wide middle: honest consumers who comparison shop and try to get the best deals.
Old 11-08-04, 09:42 AM
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dtcarson, I'm with you. Of course, we here at DVDTalk can find the price easily enough. But if somebody justs sits and compares the ads, they might risk going into Best Buy "just to see the price." If it's only a buck or two above the lowest price, they might buy it anyway, since they're already there. Impulse shopping.
Old 11-08-04, 09:47 AM
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This will backfire.
Old 11-08-04, 10:51 AM
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Personally, I buy nearly all my DVDs at Best Buy as I have the easiest time getting to that store (and finding what I'm looking for in there) than the CC's, Walmarts and Targets nearby.

The prices are usually within $2 among all the stores release week, and I don't care enough about saving a couple bucks to drive out of my way to go to one of the other stores, so just having "low price" doesn't matter to me.
Old 11-08-04, 11:51 AM
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Gives me one more reason to take my business elsewhere. They are no closer or farther than CC WallyMart. Sams, Costco and certainly harder to get to than DDD & DVDSoon so only if they have the VERY BEST price will I spend any more money there.

There is not much there (if anything at all) I can't get a better price someplace else.

With an attitude like that, they can be THEIR OWN best customers.
Old 11-08-04, 12:07 PM
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Can't say I blame them. What they're doing actually makes good business sense. Why would a store willingly continue to lose money to a handful of customers who try to take advantage of their policies?
I was never one to take advantage of them. If they advertised a great deal, I'll be there. However, I rarely ever go there for anything except those rare great deals. The employees are usually uneducated (in their products), or so indifferent, that I would much rather purchase online and have it delivered to my door. Much less hassle than trying to find a salesperson, and arguing about extended warranties
Old 11-08-04, 12:24 PM
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"The devils are its worst customers. They buy products, apply for rebates, return the purchases, then buy them back at returned-merchandise discounts. They load up on "loss leaders," severely discounted merchandise designed to boost store traffic, then flip the goods at a profit on eBay. They slap down rock-bottom price quotes from Web sites and demand that Best Buy make good on its lowest-price pledge. "They can wreak enormous economic havoc," says Mr. Anderson.
Oh puh-leeeeeeeeeeeease! Best Worst Buy is too lame to compete with Walmart, so they're hunkering down and still not lowering their prices? They richly deserve their fate.


PEACH
Old 11-08-04, 01:16 PM
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The Best Buy in Sterling, VA is one of those 'pilot' stores I think. They have many, many areas with leather couches and Plasma TV's hooked up to home theater equipment and video game systems. The store is clearly designed to sell large TVs. The DVD isles are very narrow and not very browser-friendly. It was almost claustrophobic.

If Best Buy is going to offer a hit DVD at below cost, and then call me a 'devil customer' for buying it, then maybe I will take my business elsewhere. Actually, I'll take my high profit margin item business elsewhere and continue to buy loss-leaders at Best Buy.
Old 11-08-04, 01:46 PM
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Like ToysRUs mentioned in the article, in my view Best Buy is already a "middle ware" store with future prospects and sales spiraling downward.

They really can't compete with high end specialty audio stores that offer elite brands and quality sales technical expertise for the discriminating and wealthy buyer.

On the other hand their everyday prices are often beatable on the Internet or at warehouse stores, so they don't really effectively compete at the mass merchandising bargain level either.

DVDs and much audio/video gear are commodities that are obtainable from many sources so that price becomes the primary factor. Often mail order sources offer more selection and even some hard to find items that are hit and miss at Best Buy.

For sure there is a convenience factor in being able to work out a problem on a purchase with a neighborhood Best Buy store across town rather than a mail order retailer across the country. But that only goes so far.

When you can save $50, $100 or more on a purchase that still pays for a lot of return postage should the worst come to pass and the mail order item has to be returned. A lot of folks are willing to take that chance and the potential hassle.

I recently went to audition some speakers I had in mind at Best Buy. Well they had the speakers on display but they weren't hooked up and made no effort to do so to help me. Their price was about $100 more than I could get them for over the Internet and what little advantage they offered in convenience was lost by their inability to demo the speakers.

So I went by the speaker reviews, the brand name reputation, the etailer reviews, and bought the speakers unheard from the Internet. At least on a blind buy I would save money. The speakers were excellent and more than I hoped for.

At this point Best Buy reminds me a lot of Montgomery Ward in the 1980s and 1990s. Wards was a general department store including electonics that had been around nearly a 100 years.

They offered middle of the road brands and models at average prices which were often out of stock or in limited supply. They weren't particularly distinguished in selling anything.

Wards spent a lot of money continually remodeling their stores but they did not understand what customers wanted was not store ambience but good quality even superior goods at attractive prices that were actually in-stock.

Competitor Sears had better quality merchandise that was usually in-stock, while Wal-Mart usually had consistently better prices for the value conscious.

Caught in the middle as a dull compromise for what consumers really wanted, Wards went belly up a few years ago as customers stayed away in droves.

No one missed them then or since. The cruel realities of the marketplace and consumer desires took their toll

That's where Best Buy is headed because the "angels" will find better options elsewhere for quality and selection and so will the "devils" for price leaving Best Buy with an ever decreasing share of the highly competitive middle market.

My 2 cents. Feel free to disagree.

Last edited by 3Js; 11-08-04 at 01:52 PM.
Old 11-08-04, 02:23 PM
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I don't mind Best Buy trying to get rid of customers trying to screw them ... that makes perfect sense.
Old 11-08-04, 05:09 PM
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OK, Abob's Random Thoughts:

First, I am not villifying BB for tying to make the most money that it can . . . that is business. What I do villify them for is acting like it is right for them to try to squeeze every penny out of a customer possible while it is inherently EVIL for a customer to try and do the same. H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E!!

Next, I do not condone the buy-return-buy practice or mailing in rebates and returning the product (both practices that Best Buy has been more than equipped to handle but has chosen not to). In fact, I think mail-in-rebates should be outlawed in consumer protection laws. Instant rebate or no rebate.

However . . . to lambaste customers for using YOUR policies (key example: price matching) is just wrong and childish. If Best Buy does not want to price match online retailers, then they need to re-write THEIR policy and TRAIN their employees to specify that said practice will not be allowed. If you don't want to price match, then don't. Nobody says you have to . . . until you write a policy and blast it on your wall in huge letters and then refuse to follow the policy the way that you wrote it!

Some good . . . the article says that the "one-size fits all" store concept will be done away with. Kudos! I have always despised this practice when companies that I worked for have said that "the french fry should taste the same." I will agree that you must have a level of quality/consitency in your product. However, to make all of your stores Stepfors Wife Clones of eachother gives shoppers NO incenctive to visit your store when in new areas. I enjoy "local flavors" when shopping and these encourage me to visit stores when I travel. Why should I go into a BB in Tuscawalla, Idaho when it is a carbon copy of the one I live by? Answer: because I might find a movie/product that I can't get at home!

Next good thing . . . Though I'm not holding my breath, could we actually see a return of trained QUALITY employees that provide actual GUEST SERVICE? It sounds like it, but I'm betting I'll look like a Smurf from holding my breath before it happens.

Mixed reaction . . . "Mini interviews" with the customer to determine their needs/wants -- GOOD THING! Failing to listen to those needs and wants, classifying me, and still trying to sell me the extended warranty, AOL, Netflix, Entertainment Weekly, and and extra long gold plated penis extension -- BAD THING!!!

All in all . . . I liked the Monkey Wards . . . I mean Montgomery Wards comparison. Best Buy has become a victim of the culture it spawned (as are Walmart and Blockbuster, keep watching) and will ultimately be done in by their "OUR WAY" mentality. The Toys R Us comparison is a great one as well . . . in the early-mid eighties and into the nineties, TRU undercut and destroyed all of its competition until it was a virtual monopoly . . . remember COMPETITION IS A GOOD THING!
Old 11-08-04, 07:14 PM
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I don't like how Bestbuy is essentially singling out the "rich guy" or "suburban mom" and especially the "tech savy guy", it seems like they just want to take advantage of the people who fall into these demographics and forget about the "average gamer" or "Movie affincando" or "Music Junkie". I think most DVDtalkers care about getting their money's worth but the people who milk Bestbuy's return policy shouldn't really be able to do so in the first place, I like their plan of selling the returned stock online and somewhat agree with the restocking fee but labeling all of their customers as "angels" (ala SUCKERS) or "devils" (ala EVERYONE ELSE) is pretty dirty. As an ex- BlockBuster employee it seems pretty obvious once you step into their stores what their employees are trained to do, this seems contrary to what your average customer WANTS from a salesperson...
Old 11-08-04, 07:40 PM
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Originally posted by dtcarson
I'm somewhat insulted by the linking of customers who 'apply for rebates' [which half the time are manufacturer's rebates, and you're lucky if you ever get it anyway], and people who do the buy/return/rebuy or price-match website things. Those are not at all the same thing. I don't have a problem with stores not pricematching websites, or barring resellers [of course, if I go in there and buy one copy of each of 5 loss leaders, well, that's my business].

I don't think he was making a direct correlation between those that apply for rebates and thiefs (although his wording could've been better). He's apparently linking it in one big chain: people that apply for rebates, return the merchandise, still get the rebate and then buy the merchandise back as open box.

What I don't understand is this: every rebate I've ever applied for has required the UPC symbol, and no store will accept a return with the UPC symbol removed. Also, I was under the impression that the 6-8 weeks of processing was so that they could check if the purchase was valid and make sure that it was NOT returned...

In any case, I'm all for weeding out those that abuse the system, but not people who use their programs legitimately and happen to not get sucked in to buying a service plan or extraneous accessories.
Old 11-08-04, 08:22 PM
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Originally posted by MrSneis
I don't like how Bestbuy is essentially singling out the "rich guy" or "suburban mom" and especially the "tech savy guy", it seems like they just want to take advantage of the people who fall into these demographics and forget about the "average gamer" or "Movie affincando" or "Music Junkie". I think most DVDtalkers care about getting their money's worth but the people who milk Bestbuy's return policy shouldn't really be able to do so in the first place, I like their plan of selling the returned stock online and somewhat agree with the restocking fee but labeling all of their customers as "angels" (ala SUCKERS) or "devils" (ala EVERYONE ELSE) is pretty dirty. As an ex- BlockBuster employee it seems pretty obvious once you step into their stores what their employees are trained to do, this seems contrary to what your average customer WANTS from a salesperson...
you have to look at it from BB"s CEO point of view. In the last few years Wal Mart has gone from 0% market share in the grocery business to around 50%. Wal Mart is so big in the CD and DVD business that they can tell studios and record companies what content they don't want.

The one thing about wal mart is that they only compete on price. If you look at the electronics on their website, it's mostly off brand stuff that they can get cheap. It used to be that CC had the best sales people and BB competed on price by having the lowest paid sales people. Now things are changing and BB needs to build a reputation as a place where people can get good service. Only thing is that to keep costs down they need to provide service only to their profitable customers.

It's like a person's dream come true. All the complaints about BB having poor service are solved. BB is going to a good service model and now the people who were complaining will get a chance to pay for that good service.
Old 11-08-04, 08:30 PM
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Originally posted by MISS PEACH
Oh puh-leeeeeeeeeeeease! Best Worst Buy is too lame to compete with Walmart, so they're hunkering down and still not lowering their prices? They richly deserve their fate.


PEACH
wal mart is 20% of retail sales in the US. No one can compete with them on price. If you want to compete with wal mart you need to find another niche, like good service.
Old 11-08-04, 08:36 PM
  #19  
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Originally posted by fujishig
I don't think he was making a direct correlation between those that apply for rebates and thiefs (although his wording could've been better). He's apparently linking it in one big chain: people that apply for rebates, return the merchandise, still get the rebate and then buy the merchandise back as open box.

What I don't understand is this: every rebate I've ever applied for has required the UPC symbol, and no store will accept a return with the UPC symbol removed. Also, I was under the impression that the 6-8 weeks of processing was so that they could check if the purchase was valid and make sure that it was NOT returned...

In any case, I'm all for weeding out those that abuse the system, but not people who use their programs legitimately and happen to not get sucked in to buying a service plan or extraneous accessories.
Upon rereading the article, I think you're right. And people should not do that, I have no problem trying to eliminate those outright scammers [not accepting the item without a UPC would help.]
I also agree that mail-in rebates are a crock, and should be discounted immediately at the store. It could be done very simply, even a manufacturer's rebate.

But it sounds like 90% of the things they're complaining about, could be fixed by simply tightening up and following their own policies, rather than making this big anti-consumer deal out of things.

I never really complained about BB's service. Open a register, don't harass me in the store, but be there if I need help finding something; be somewhat educated about the big ticket items, that's all I'd want.
Old 11-08-04, 08:50 PM
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They dig their own graves with rebates because it looks better on the bottom line. They can report greater revenue and then classifyrebate costs as marketing costs. Looks better for Wall Street.
Its lame to attack customers who just take what Best Buy gives it.
Old 11-08-04, 09:30 PM
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This makes me want to go out of my way and buy all my loss leaders from them from now on
Old 11-08-04, 09:32 PM
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I also love how they try to make us look like the villains by ebaying their stuff for profits/....their stuff aint that friggin cheap
Old 11-09-04, 02:30 AM
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Originally posted by fujishig
In any case, I'm all for weeding out those that abuse the system, but not people who use their programs legitimately and happen to not get sucked in to buying a service plan or extraneous accessories.
Agreed.

In regards to rebates, if it's a Best Buy rebate, I know for a fact that Best Buy's in-house rebate house will check the receipt to see if the item was returned or not (Circuit City does this as well). However, they can't do this with manufacturer's rebates.

There are tons of customers, esp. at Bargain sites, that will buy stuff that's only on sale (hek, 90% of the time, I'm that type of customer).

I have no problem with Best Buy not sending certain unprofitable customers coupons or not renewing their reward zone card for free. If this deters those customers from their stores, then I'm sure that Best Buy or other stores wouldn't want those customers to begin with.
Old 11-09-04, 08:18 AM
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Originally posted by 3Js
Caught in the middle as a dull compromise for what consumers really wanted, [Montgomery] Wards went belly up a few years ago as customers stayed away in droves.

No one missed them then or since. The cruel realities of the marketplace and consumer desires took their toll.
I absolutely loved Montgomery Wards but not for electronics; for clothes. Here in the (East) Bay Area, CA where I live we had our last Monky Wards close down . . . but not before I got one last awesome Wards deal: Two lined suede leather vests, for 14.99 each. I could go on! King-Size Down comforters for $50. Silk blouses for $7.99. Thick, beefy, floor-length 100% cotton terry cloth robes for 14.99 selling anywhere else for $40 up.

As a woman, I tell you that store was just a wonder. Now . . . you did have to wade through alot of rayon and polyester crap LOL.

No 3Js, the reason Montgomery Wards went out of business is that discriminating shoppers, like myself, came in to their stores when they ran loss-leader sales on all of their high-quality items . . . and bought only those items, skipping the jewelry, passing the shoddy stuff.

A heavy, lined, suede leather vest hooded! for 14.99 is insane. I almost cried when the news was announced, and I miss them terribly, but I understand that people like me are the reason they went out of business.

As for Worst Buy . . .
I remember when they first introduced yet another national chain selling the same merchandise as every other national chain the hit was out for Circuit City. I remember reading in the Wall Street Journal that CC was shakin' in their boots at the competition, and didn't know if they would survive. They didn't have much to fear after all, because the only thing BB did differently was introduce a store design that was (at the time) hipper than CC's Son-Of-Target Red scheme.

Everyone here who has pointed out that the only market remaining is one in which you get exceptional service trained sales reps who are intimately acquainted with not just their products, but also the manufacturers. Case in point: Some years ago I was in the market for a gas stove. Sure, I went to both CC and BB and saw almost exactly the same selection of stoves at each but then I visited a smaller, "niche" store that specialized in nothing but large applicances. The first tip off that I would get better selection here than at any of the nationals came when my sales rep led me to his desk that's right, a desk, with a chair for his customer to sit in and on that desk were literally 10 or more fat binders listing every single mfgr. of gas stoves. He said, "There's a stove I want you to have a look at. We don't have it in yet because it's a brand-new GE model, but it's hugely popular with my customers and we're taking orders for it." He pulled out one of the binders and here were all the technical specs for a gorgeous 5-burner GE gas stove. Hell yeah!! He smiled at me and said, "Nice, huh? It turns the entire stove top into one big gas-fired range, and it comes with a griddle that fits into the center but can be removed."

SERVICE. TRAINED PROFESSIONAL SALES PEOPLE. And the best part of all, I got this stove for little more than what I would have paid for the so-called best model not at Worst Buy.

You can count me one of the people who show up only on Black Friday cruise their 5-FOR-25 DVD's and either read my latest mystery novel while I stand in line or clock out of there. There isn't room for both CC and Worst Buy, and one of them is going to bite it. I could care less which it is.

PEACH
Old 11-09-04, 09:24 AM
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I love DVDtalk and have been a long time member....but what turns my stomach are those members who are trying to scam the retailer, whether it be an outright scam like that detailed in the artical (return item to then buy as open box) or those returning DVD's bought on- line and/or from other stores to Best Buy.

In a recent thread, someone admitted ruining a dvd, then taking advantage of BB's return policy. These are the consumers that are ruining it for the rest of us.....is it 20% of BB clients, I doubt it. But go through the recent threads here and you see some of the "devils" are among us.

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