Posted on 05. Jan, 2012 by jtheim
Amazon had another record holiday season as Best Buy and Sears did not. It might be easy to explain this away on convenience or tax advantages, but there are equally valid disadvantages to online only retail. Amazon is a winner because they get the customer perspective and have innovated around the obstacles to an online only retail model. In short, they have built their business, systems and processes to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
On the other hand, Best Buy has never gotten the customer perspective. For a time it was enough to have all of the shiny new tech products under one roof for people to come in and play with, choose from a wide selection and walk out with a new favorite toy in hand. But, Best Buy has always put its perspective first and they are paying for it now. They talk about their competitive disadvantage to companies like Amazon, but in reality no one was in a better position to deliver an incredible customer experience. If being brick and mortar is such a disadvantage how do you explain the sardine can like crowds over at the Apple store?
As the customer enjoys an ever expanding range of options for how they learn about, shop for, buy and receive product, one strategy is sure to fail: whining. If you want to compete, you better figure out how to give the customer a great experience. One built from the customer point of view.