Today, some analysts think Best Buy may have turned the financial corner and the company should thank Apple for its improved fortunes. It’s Apple that has indirectly saved Best Buy from ruin (although there’s still time to snatch death from the jaws of life).
Store Within A Store
Why did Apple open their own retail stores, now over 400 strong? Because most computer and gadget retailers did a really crummy job selling Apple’s wares (and pretty much anything else).
For many years Apple has operated a store-within-a-store with Best Buy (and with other retailers in the past). The store-within-a-store provided an attractive array of working Apple products, and quite often an Apple employee or two to manage the area and help customers.
Not long ago Samsung announced a plan to copy Apple’s lead and install their own store-within-a-store at 1,400 Best Buy stores. That rollout is still underway, and the end results are unknown, but it’s been good for Best Buy.
Guess who’s coming to the store-within-a-store party? Microsoft. Their plan is to launch a Windows store-within-a-store at up to 600 Best Buy stores. What’s different is that Microsoft plans to control the entire computer department at each of the Best Buy stores, but obviously with a heavier focus on Microsoft products.
Why are Samsung and Microsoft doing this? After all, Microsoft has a few dozen of their own stores, usually near Apple stores. Apple exercises great control over the whole sales and service process in their 400-plus stores, and Microsoft and Samsung have nothing comparable.
The fastest way to get competitive is for Samsung and Microsoft to get deeply into bed with Best Buy. A ménage_à_trois of retail losers, so to speak. With the growth of mobile devices, the computing industry has changed rapidly, and that creates confusion among buyers. Apple’s stores make it easy to learn about new products and make a more comfortable decision.
Microsoft and Samsung need something similar and a deal with Best Buy is the best way to do it quickly. If Best Buy remains viable, it’s because of Apple’s success in retail, and the store-within-a-store opportunity at Best Buy.
On another note, that means Amazon, the online retail giant, is left out. I don’t expect to see Amazon open up a store-within-a-store but is sure makes sense for the company to buy out Radio Shack.