Thursday, March 11, 2010

Best Buy's Physical and Virtual Customer Immersion - Part Two


I hope you're well and (emotionally) preparing for a pre Spring weekend.  We finally had some sun yesterday and the city is starting to wake up from its slumber and stretch.

Speaking of stretch, yesterday we talked about Best Buy's expansion into developing a mobile platform for its customers -- really a Best Buy branded service portal.  We also looked at a video from a recent National Retail Federation conference.  I've embedded it again as a refresher.

So let's chat about the implications for a spell.  I think we should be in agreement that this is a massive opportunity for Best Buy, the customer and, truly, all of retail.  I've come up with a few more that I think are basic conversation starters in no particular order (and not at all exhaustive):

Pic and Pay: As I mentioned previously (here), ScanLife allows you to snap a photo of an item and complete the transaction - all on your phone.  It's a conceivable application for Best Buy: take pictures of the TV you want, get information sent to your phone, complete your purchase, receive a bar code confirmation on your phone which can be scanned on your way out -- all the while bypassing lines.

Gentle Nudge: An interesting extension would be suggestions for the customer while completing a mobile purchase.  So, if you're buying a TV, you could be gently nudged to purchase new cable or a new game for your Wii.  Best Buy could also sign affiliate partners.  To stick with the TV example, either during or just after the transaction, perhaps the customer can be presented with a Crate & Barrel offer to purchase a new TV stand.  Or if it's around dinner time, maybe local restaurants can offer discount with Best Buy mobile purchase.

Subliminal Messages: There was a hint at the end about how they could package their technology suite and sell it as a product/service to other models or possibly other retail partners thereby creating an additional revenue stream.  Best Buy B2B!

Segmented Smartphones: Because this is Best Buy, it's conceivable they can overlay their retail segmentation we discussed yesterday to tailor the offers better.  So, if you're a Mr. Storefront, you could be offered Geek Squad business services bundled with the purchase of a new laptop.  If you're a Buzz, maybe you'd be offered wireless devices to accompany that same laptop.  It's all in the spirit of personalized service to cement the relationship between the customer and Best Buy.  Bundled with "Subliminal Messages" and this becomes a very powerful tool for affiliate retail marketing partnerships.

Location Based: That same post I mentioned in "Pic and Play" also covered Socialight and Foursquare, which are nifty little location based apps.  One wonders if you can "unlock" Best Buy loyalty badges and "just because" offers (maybe by segment, even) for frequent visits just like Foursquare rewards someone for frequent check ins.  That would be a great "surprise and delight" tactic.  Focus Group of One: Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised by my Super User badge that came with a frozen yogurt offer.   And, again, their application would be exportable.

GPS: Similarly, Cisco Systems has Mobile Concierge.  As well designed and well lit the stores are, I do admit sometimes getting a bit turned around and it would be great for my phone to help.  Hey, I'm human.  If I'm walking by an affinity category, "Gentle Nudge" could apply here, too!

Location Based - Part Deux: I listened to a webinar today presented by Nicole Nunn Walker, VP of Marketing at Metrosplash.  A neat feature of FuelLinks, their fuel loyalty program, is a "heads up" to the customer that he/she is near a favorite gas station and spells out the savings per gallon (based on their loyalty level).  This could be customizable for Best Buy's purposes.  Based on location, a customer can get a text with offers based on transaction history with a pointer to the closest Best Buy store.

Buyer Rejoice: Since Best Buy wants to be a branded product/service portal, a potential application is consumers creating a global wish list housed on the Best Buy portal but open to any product out there.  Better put, some sort of centralized RedLaser concept that tracks all prices all the time would be kind of neat.  Send a message and let me complete the transaction on my phone based on stored credit card data.

Again, this list isn't exhaustible and frankly, I don't know if any of these are good ideas.  The point in putting this list here for your review is to show you that the four minute video stimulates the imagination which is exactly the direction in which Best Buy is open and willing to go.  It is embracing a role beyond traditional retailer in its drive to always stay relevant regardless of the sales channel the customer chooses. 

That's it for me...  I hope you have a great rest of the day!  Send me your thoughts when you've a moment!

Until Next Time,

Parissa Behnia

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing. I like Best Buy's move, but I got the message early in the video, thus went on to other tasks, like the definition of life line. One individual indicated their smartphone is their life line. Scary thought. Definition:
    A lifeline is a line or rope used to support a person who is in physical difficulty, or to prevent someone from getting into physical difficulty. For example, a lifeline may protect a person who is at risk of drowning.

    Or maybe we are drowning in information.