Best Buy's new retail layout borrows heavily from the Apple Store

By on July 6, 2012, 1:00 PM

Best Buy is in the process of testing out a new in-store layout that looks and feels almost identical to an Apple Store. The idea is to focus on customer and employee interaction rather than showcasing every possible gadget and electronic component available, but some analysts are reserving doubt as to whether Best Buy can succeed with the proposed business model.

The company recently opened the test store near their headquarters. Best Buy 2.0, as interim CEO Mike Mikan calls it, is anchored by a large central help desk, known as Solution Central, staffed by the Geek Squad. Customers are allowed to check out here or at other locations throughout the shop, rather than being corralled through checkout lines at the front of the store.

Analyst Christopher Horvers from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. says that improving service is a big challenge for Best Buy, especially considering that their current in-store workforce consists largely of young part-time workers.

Others are also concerned that Best Buy isn’t doing enough to attract customers and deter them from comparing prices and ultimately shopping elsewhere. It’s a real concern as Best Buy says that half of their shoppers use mobile phones or tablets to check the competition’s prices before making a purchase.

The new format is part of Best Buy’s transformation plan announced earlier this year which will see 50 retail stores close and 400 employees lose their jobs. 60 stores will initially be converted to the new format which is about 20 percent smaller than a traditional Best Buy store. New stores will focus more on tablets, e-readers and smartphones and less on television sets and other products that have had declining sales as of late.

As the idiom goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

User Comments: 16

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Johnny Pappis Johnny Pappis said:

I honestly avoid that place like the plague, Poor selection, Poorly trained staff. On top of the fact they forget one major factor that is causing this "showroom" effect their prices are just too high!

Guest said:

Yaaay Apple will now sue Best Buy

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Won't you have to actually talk to people to follow the Apple model?

Cause that's where this transformation is going to break down at BB.

Guest said:

I am kind of disappointed myself. On the rare occasion that I have to go in there, I like seeing all the stuff and choosing what I want. Just because they are going to follow Apple's sales model, does not mean they will sell more kit.

Apple products can basically sell themselves anyway.

p51d007 said:

Prices too high

Staff most of the time has no clue what they are doing

Long wait in line most times

I avoid that place, unless it is a "needed" item I can't wait from Amazon, Newegg etc.

And when I go, I try to time it just after it opens in the morning. AVOID it like the plague

on Friday evening, Saturday or Sunday.

mrtraver said:

I like the idea of more checkout spread throughout the store, like our local circuit city used to do, but "The idea is to focus on customer and employee interaction" will scare me right out of the store. I already walk thru best buy with a phone glued to my ear while talking to myself, just so I don't have to tell every blue shirt I see "no, thanks, I'm just looking, and I don't care that you are not on commission."

I think these suggestions would be more effective than copying another store's layout:

Nothing personal against any BB employees, but I think they would be better served by training their young part-time personnel about the proper use and specs of actual products in the store. I still cringe when I think about the time a couple of years ago that I overheard an exchange between a woman shoping for a video card for her grandson and an employee who was probably the same age as the grandson. The employee was saying "You don't want AGP if he has a newer computer, it won't work. You need PCI instead." Not PCI Express, but PCI. I strolled over to take a closer look, and sure enough, he was trying to sell her a Radeon HD 6450 PCI card for over $100. She consulted a piece of paper and said "No, he said it has to be 'GTX460' or higher, whatever that means." I don't know if she heard me cough out "!"

Don't push $100 gold-plated HDMI cables on my un-knowledgeable parents. If you don't know that there is no discernible difference in picture quality between Monster cables and generics, you should not be selling electronics. If you DO know and you push the Monsters anyway, you shouldn't be selling ANYTHING.

Don't get pissy when you offer your worthless extended warranty and I respond "Are you saying that this product won't last 2 years? Cuz if it's so crappy that I need an additonal warranty, I'd rather buy a better-quality product that lasts longer."

Don't charge more to remove a virus than to reinstall the OS, which is faster, cleaner, and more secure anyway.

Don't charge $30 to pop in a disk to install new software.

Don't copy my pictures when I entrust you with my PC for repairs.

Don't bring up a fake website to show me that "no, it really is not cheaper online."

Don't sell me a "new" DVD player that has a porn DVD in it when I unbox it at home.

Don't have me arrested for paying with $2 bills.

Guest said:

Drop your prices by about 25% and 'they will come' !!

Gars Gars said:

the only post that make sense:

Won't you have to actually talk to people to follow the Apple model?

Cause that's where this transformation is going to break down at BB.

others are rants and cries

when its not appropriate to you - go elsewhere - you got an opinion

this belongs to me too, but I have to change the country

Guest said:

Tigerdirect/compusa = the new best buy...

Jillxz said:

I bought my computer from them. When I found this Work Station computer at Best Buy 4 years ago , the salesman told me that I did not need that computer. But , I told him that I would be the judge of that. It ws just what I had been looking for.

Renrew Renrew said:

We're in an era of increasing customer awareness. Coupled with the ever increasing prices of most goods, the consumer that doesn't watch his dollars is becoming as rare as hen's teeth.

The Best Buys of this world are still hoping the majority of consumers are uninformed and loyal. It ain't so no more and are the major reasons stores like Circuit City closed their doors.The heavy discounters survive I.e. Tiger, Frye etc., but only for the time being as they will eventually be replaced by the net.

The expenses of running a physical store are simply too great.

Marc Petersen Marc Petersen said:

Yaaay Apple will now sue Best Buy

As a best buy employee all I have to say to all you people and flamers Best Buy is about to flip your minds and is about to bring out the inner beast. You all Watch and see, The media is making us out to be losers and a bad company at that, I stick up for my company, When I say the power of our people will be much better the steps the company is taken in my eyes are the best since I started working for the company in 2006. So please enough of the flame post and just come in to the new stores and see what your missing because for one you have no idea what your talking about two, When you walk in our new stores your jaws will drop :)

So.... How about it lets unleash the power of our People and show you the consumers we are here to stay and we are here to kick butt and take the market by storm.

Store 227.

Evansville In

blackdragon1230 said:

im hoping you are right marc. im in central ohio and the best buys we have here leave much to be desired. if you are this encouraged by the new business model then you might be one of the good employee's and maybe I should have run into you when shopping at best buy. the employee's here locally just stand around and have their heads in the clouds not realizing that a customer approached them with a question. for me they never carried enough selection as it was but now our local has downsized and caries about half what they used too. so now the smaller selection has made it completely useless to walk into there. instead ive taken my business to the local microcenter which is 3 times bigger than best buy before the downsizing. also as a note the microcenter employees are much more knowledgeable of the products they sell. they do work on commission but even as such they provide great customer service. if best buy was more like them I think they would be much more profitable. just saying. these are facts here locally.

Marc Petersen Marc Petersen said:

I am sorry to here that here in Evansville In at store 227 we have a class A team that will help out anybody and I mean you do not wait more then 5 minutes if we are busy we let you know we will be with you on point. so I am sorry to here that news but store 227 rocks :)

Guest said:

From my personal experience, Best Buy employees know little to nothing at all about any of their products. They are only hired to SELL you items. Even in Best Buy's digital interview process for employment, they do not care if you are knowledgeable about computer products, etc. They only want aggressive sales people who will lie just to make a sale.

To top off this, Best Buy sells overpriced crap like Monster Cable. Do yourself a favor, do not buy Monster Cable products like it's HDMI cable. Just go buy a cheap one for like 20 to 30 bucks and it will work just as good.

RubinOnRye RubinOnRye said:

I am sorry to here that here in Evansville In at store 227 we have a class A team that will help out anybody and I mean you do not wait more then 5 minutes if we are busy we let you know we will be with you on point. so I am sorry to here that news but store 227 rocks

Be careful what you say on the internet. Best Buy policy dictates that any store information given over the internet, good or bad, by non authorized employees can suffer termination. Don't believe me or think I am wrong, ask your District Manager.

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