Best Buy Struggles Against Online Merchants

It might be the most visible battle between the old and new retail business model. Best Buy has complained that its big box stores have literally become showrooms for Amazon and other online retailers. Customers come in to check out new electronics and other merchandise at their local Best Buy only to comparison shop and eventually buy the same item at a lower price online. All businesses face shifting markets and changing business models. Here are some looks at how companies of all sizes keep adapting.

The Way We Were

Showrooming. Analysts say the key to Best Buy’s future, if it has one, is to accept a reality in which smaller numbers of customers will buy products in their stores. Instead, those customers are more likely to use retail locations as a place to test drive and gain hands-on experience with products they will later buy online. The first step, the experts say, is to find a way to compete effectively online against rivals like Amazon, not to cling to a fading business model. Yahoo! Finance

Online evolution. Even businesses founded and operated online for their entire existence face ongoing challenges to their survival. As Small Business Trends founder and CEO Anita Campbell explains in this interview, online businesses, too, must constantly evolve to meet changing revenue models, for example, shifts from banner ads to sponsored posts, etc. No matter where you operate your business, always be prepared to make changes. Better Marketing

Full Speed Ahead

Brick and mortar. The evolution is occurring in the opposite direction too. Some brick and mortar businesses are not suffering, but are being enhanced by the low cost marketing possibilities provided by the Internet. Tamara Hudson, founder and owner of Encore Unique Boutique, a Kansas-based business specializing in women’s clothing and home decor, has expanded while businesses around her struggle, thanks largely to her innovative use of inexpensive online social media marketing. Social: IRL

Just do it. One key to success in the ever-changing marketplace may be to let go of the business conventions of the past completely. The best business models may not be based on following well-established paths. Instead, they may be on the road less taken, exploring unknown territory and doing things that we, as entrepreneurs, find terrifying. When creating his first book about online freelancing, Tom Ewer admits he had little idea where he was headed. In the end, the only thing he borrowed from a more successful business was a motto: “Just do it.”

Make sure they pay attention. Whether you do business online or in a storefront down town, the first step is to make sure you aren’t overlooked or ignored. In fact, competition for attention online is more intense than ever, but there are some easy ways to make sure your Website  isn’t passed over, says Sean Jackson, CFO of Copyblogger. Here are some of Jackson’s tips on how to avoid being ignored in the online world. Buzz Small Business Magazine

Out on a Limb

Stand out. But in the end you must be sure your company does more than simply grab attention. If your business is just the latest shiny object for customers, they will forget you when the next new thing comes along. Instead, make sure your business stands out from the competition below the surface too. Again, it doesn’t matter whether your business is operated online or off. These tips will help you set your company apart in a way customers find the most meaningful. The Big Red Tomato Company

Remember the obvious. We’ve talked a lot about making sure that you aren’t ignored and that your business stands out to customers. But, as motivational speaker Carol Ritter reminds us in this post, it’s very important that customers never feel ignored either. The key to business success is to pay attention to your customers. It’s the best way to make sure they keep coming back and that you continue evolving your business to meet their needs. The Voice of Business

2 Reactions
  1. Great roundup. There’s a lot of comparison shopping that goes on, and I must admit, I do it a lot myself.

  2. Yes. I’ve written about this phenomenon and how to combat it. Just some ideas that I’ve seen others using as I am not a retailer, but i care about the main street biz owners battling this type of thing. Best Buy has its own challenges, as Joel pointed out in his post that led me here.