Best Buy stores makeover: Expect the size of the retail giant's stores to shrink considerably in the near future. In an effort to combat the shrinking revenue from their numerous oversized locations, Best Buy is building a new prototype store near its Minnesota headquarters that will pull a page straight out of the Apple playbook. Instead of carrying every possible electronic gadget under the proverbial sun, the company will think smaller, carrying a more concentrated selection of devices in an effort to turn the tide of their floundering business.
In addition to scaling down the number of items in their showroom, Best Buy will also feature something called Solution Central, which is essentially their version of Apple's Genius Bar. Staffed by Geek Squad employees, customers can, in theory, bring their electronic problems to the location and have them apply their endless knowledge to the issues at-hand. However, despite their plan to implement a solution center for consumers, the company is rumored to be laying off over 650 Geek Squad employees across the nation.
Since the company is saying goodbye to some of its technicians, does that mean Best Buy is getting out of of the at-home support business? According to company, "Best Buy 2.0" will still offer these service to its customers, though it, too, will become more streamlined. "We know that clients will always need us to come to their homes, and increasingly their needs are more complex. That’s why we’re evolving in-home support for a more specific customer segment," the company said in a statement.
According to the Wall Street Journal, all of these significant changes are a concentrated effort to save the company nearly $800 million over the next three years. And if they manage to regain some marketshare, that would be a positive, as well. In addition to possibly rolling out smaller versions of their stores, Best Buy will close nearly 50 underperforming locations.
Smaller stores, less Geek Squad employees, limited in-home support -- the Best Buy as its currently known may become a thing of the past. As brick-and-mortar retailers continue to struggle against their online counterparts, implementing such changes are the only way these companies can compete. Although I'll miss the days of mindlessly browsing the store's seemingly endless selection of movies, DVDs, and computer games, that time has admittedly come and gone. Best Buy is dead; long live Best Buy 2.0.