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05/27/2022

Best Buy Grows Digital Capabilities, Bets on Experience Stores

Liz Dominguez
Managing Editor
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Best Buy in store experience

Best Buy is taking a look at all areas of its business, looking to shift its approach amid consumers’ mass pivot toward the digital world. 

In the company’s latest earnings call, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry stated the brand is looking to optimize its workforce, reimagine its physical presence, and make investments to provide a better, more seamless shopping experience.

An area ripe for investment, Barry said, is video chat. 

“Early in the pandemic, the volume of customers interacting with us via phone and chat skyrocketed,” he said, adding that the company is looking to not only ensure virtual stores are staffed with sales experts who are knowledgeable, but also that offshore call center agents receive enhanced training so they can provide elevated experiences. 

Barry said the company is already seeing results — doubled revenue from these interactions compared to Q1 last year. 

“Enhancements to our technology platforms are in progress to further streamline our operations and enable these employees to chat, video, text, share their screens, and transact,” said Barry. “With this, we will be able to accelerate the productivity and sales opportunity further.”

More Workforce Changes

Best Buy now has a lower overall headcount than it did pre-pandemic, but Barry said it’s a comfortable place to be. 

“We feel like we are largely at the right number as it relates to the strategic evolution of our operating model, the demand we are seeing, and the nature of our customer interactions,” she said. “We will continue to learn, evaluate, and evolve the model in light of the way the business and shopping habits are changing.”

Part of this evolution is continuing to invest in flexibility, training, compensation, and benefits for its associates in order to maintain low field turnover rates. Barry noted on the Q1 2023 call that the rates are near pre-pandemic levels, with store general manager turnover at just 6%.

“It is clear that we have store managers who are invested in their employees, their career paths, their well-being, and their communities,” said Barry. 

Best Buy has recognized that consumer behavior has quickly changed, becoming more digitally focused. In response, it’s taking a look at not only its workforce, but also its physical stores in order to meet new demands. 

Interested in learning more about accelerated innovation within the workforce and retail spaces?

 

Analytics Unite kicks off with a bang this June with an opening keynote from Nicole Nelson, previously of Best Buy, on Accelerating Growth, Talent, and Innovation. Nelson will explore the main theme of the event and highlight how the organization has accelerated operations to meet changing market demands and where it is placing big future bets. She will address the need to put the proverbial pedal to the metal in regard to analytic talent attraction and nurturing, technology and product innovation, as well as how to turn this lightning-fast growth into a data-driven competitive advantage.

Reimagined Physical Stores

The company is also looking to continue reshaping its brick-and-mortar stores, looking at about 45 remodels for its store experience concept in order to bridge the gap between online sales and physical shopping. 

According to the company, digital engagement with customers remains very high, with online sales as a percentage of domestic sales being 31%, still twice as high as pre-pandemic levels. 

“We are excited about these remodels, as we continue to see higher revenue and NPS in the pilot locations compared to the control stores, especially as one of the pilots has been running almost two years,” said Barry.

“Every aspect of our lives has changed with technology, and we uniquely know how to make it human in our customers' homes right for their lives,” he added. 

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