UPDATE: We received a call this morning from Best Buy's media relations. Three points were made which we are happy to pass on: First, Best Buy's stock price has rebounded quite soundly in the last year –we did not intend to represent otherwise. Second, our experience was not “routine” and senior staffers are reviewing. But Three: Best Buy's policy is not to price match over the Black Friday weekend, even in the name of customer service or customer retention. We maintain that while understandable from a “door buster” perspective, it's counter productive to Best Buy's turnaround when applied as a blanket policy to all merchandise.
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) in West Boca is a huge building that would be great as an iPic Theater, a large restaurant — like Dave and Busters — or even a massive, modern gym.
The future of the Best Buy building is something to consider if you consider the chain's financial problems, and the specific store's attitude towards customer service. In our opinion, we would be surprised if the West Boca Best Buy is still open come summer of 2014.
Our opinion is based on what we perceive to be the “feel” of the store, as well as an incident today that — in our opinion — is representative of a business culture that makes no sense in 2013.
Simply explained: we attempted to purchase a pair of headphones that Amazon.com is currently selling for $39. BestBuy, proving that it just can't compete with Amazon, is selling the identical unit for $79. Amazon's price wasn't a “Cyber Monday” deal. It was just Amazon being Amazon.
Best Buy advertises its “price match” program online and in store. In fact , store manager Chris Lopez stood in front of the “price match” sign as he condescendingly stated that Best Buy isn't honoring its price match program until Tuesday of this week. If we had questions, he said, we should call the store's General Manager.
We did, hoping to understand the logic in pushing away a customer over a low value price match, but neither GM Joseph Redler nor district manager Richard Parkos responded to our inquiries.
In our experience, issues like this never arise with Amazon. You order, the product arrives, if it's not what you thought you can ship it back for free. It's the sort of computer generated non-customer-service-service that many in 2013 seek.
Best Buy, however, has the potential to offer a level of local customer service that an online retailer can't. Sadly, it doesn't. And this will be what ultimately sends the company to the great beyond currently occupied by Circuit City and Incredible Universe. Lopez was rude, enforcing a policy that is not only absurd, but certainly something a store manager is empowered to override in the name of customer service.
Making the situation even more bizarre, Lopez instructed us to return on Tuesday. The assumption, he stated, is that Amazon will raise its price overnight (which it won't). Of course, any Amazon Prime subscriber would now move on — order the item from Amazon, avoid sales tax, and have it the next day anyway.
This is what Best Buy clearly doesn't understand. The chain needs to be invaluable. It needs to provide a service that Amazon can not. But as displayed by Chris Lopez, store level managers either are not empowered, or intelligent enough, to make smart decisions — solidifying the chain's inevitable fate.
Perhaps the Best Buy in West Boca Raton is better suited as a fulfillment center for Amazon.com. We believe it's unlikely to be Best Buy much longer.
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