Best Buy and Future Shop offer new price beat that’s hard to beat

July 09, 2012  |  Alicia Androich  |  Comments

Best Buy Canada and Future Shop are making a bold price guarantee that will stop deal-hunting consumers in their tracks, whether they’re strolling or scrolling.

Not only will the retailers guarantee the lowest price on their products, they will now also beat any price—be it online or anywhere else. The offering launched in the stores’ flyers, websites and in-store signage on Friday.

In an exclusive interview with Marketing at a downtown Toronto Best Buy store, Best Buy Canada and Future Shop president and chief operating officer Mike Pratt said the effort to beat the prices of both bricks and mortar and web competitors is a first for a retailer.

He said customers want a unique combination of both in-store and online shopping experiences, which is why Best Buy and Future Shop give a lot of attention to both.

So while the penetration of online shopping is increasing and Pratt said and are already a big part of the companies’ business, they have also installed in-store elements that are linked to the web experience.

For example, some Best Buy stores now feature “ Experience Areas” that are manned by a supervisor and team that help web customers. If a customer has, say, purchased an item online, they can then pick it up in-store if they don’t want to stay glued to their home all day waiting for a delivery. Pratt (pictured with one of the web order kiosks) said the in-store staff will have the item ready quickly; the average time between when a customer orders a product online and when it’s ready for pick-up is between seven and 12 minutes.

This infrastructure, paired with the new price beating offering is “to make sure that people know ‘Look, we’re nobody’s showroom. Quite frankly the websites are our showroom,” said Pratt.

He added that the in-store experience also allows for more of a personal approach. Customers can return anything they bought on the web to the stores without having to deal with return fees.

This is all part of Best Buy and Future Shop’s multichannel approach, said Pratt. “It’s bringing the web and the stores together in a very unique way for the customer where it adds extra value beyond just one or the other.”

The executives are putting serious money into setting these initiatives up properly. “Over the last two years we’ve spent over $180 million on web infrastructure and on logistics infrastructure,” he said. That includes fulfillment delivery on in-store infrastructure such as the Experience Areas. “The winning retail operating model of the future is combining the web with retail,” said Pratt.

On the mobile front, Best Buy and Future Shop launched their mobile sites last year and have now launched a mobile site that works with any device, be it iOS, PC-based or Android. The mobile site, as Pratt said, acts “like an actual website, not just an app.”

He added that in June there were two million unique visitors on the mobile apps. “Almost 20% of our web business is being driven through the mobile platform right now,” he said. “It’s increasing fast.”

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