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Reduce frustration of GPU/Console purchase process

Status: Acknowledged
by on ‎04-05-2021 03:03 PM

The combination of product shortages and scalping has made it nearly impossible for the average customer to purchase Graphics Cards and Next Gen Consoles from BestBuy. These items come in stock every so often but seem to be sold out within minutes (if not seconds). I have a few ideas that I believe can help reduce frustration for your customers and prevent scalpers from buying up all of the product that drops.

 

1. Pre-order options:

 

This would reduce customer frustration as they won't have to constantly monitor the product only do be disappointed when they aren't quick enough to snag their desired GPU/Console.

 

2. Link GPU/Console purchases to some form of photo ID (driver’s license):

 

This would more effectively allow BestBuy to limit the number of these high demand products that a person can purchase in a certain time frame. It prevents people from using multiple accounts and names to make these purchases. It would also make it much harder for bots to buy the stock within seconds.

 

3.  Make high demand items like these only available for purchase/preorder in store or on the phone:

 

As stores are now open for in person purchases, this would make it impossible for bots to buy all the stock. It would still provide people who cannot come into the store a way to purchase.

 

These are my suggestions, hope it can help.

 

*I am an employee. I know that BestBuy wants to be "customer obsessed" and help their customers in every way possible. I feel like these ideas can help BestBuy to assist our customers who are trying to obtain these hard-to-find items. 

Status: Acknowledged

Thanks for your thoughts on this! We truly do appreciate it!

Comments
by Emerging Expert
on ‎04-06-2021 07:05 AM

I seriously doubt it is a much scalping or bots as you may think.

 

The real issue is a microchip shortage and many thousands of people wanting them.  

 

If 100 consoles become available and 10000 people know about it who want one, then it stands to reason they are online and hitting it hard to get one.  And, granted, some of those people may opt to resell it instead of keeping it. 

 

Point 1.  You would end of with thousands and thousands of pre-orders. Would you be happy knowing your are number 4528 of 10021

 

Point 2 strictly speaking, that may not be legal. And if it is bots they would easily work around that. They should be able to string up a bunch of donkeys.

 

Point 3 a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. You may also end up with employees snatching up stock and reselling on their own.  On the phone. How is thousands of people with busy signals going to be any different than a trying to get in online. It would also result in more errors.

by Senior Social Media Specialist Senior Social Media Specialist
on ‎04-06-2021 09:44 AM
Status changed to: Acknowledged

Thanks for your thoughts on this! We truly do appreciate it!

by
on ‎04-06-2021 07:24 PM

 

You are right that I don't know how much of the problem is scalping or bots, but ebay and other 3rd party marketplaces are full of GPU's and Next Gen Consoles. Also, the speed at which they go out of stock when there is a drop is crazy. Looking online you can find that lots of scalpers are using bots to buy online the instant anything comes in stock. 

 

Currious to hear if you have any ideas to help the situation. Maybe early access for TTS or BestBuy Card members? I'm just brainstorming.

 

As for point 3: MicroCenter (a big competitor of BestBuy) has been doing this for a few months now. From what I've heard, it has become the most reliable way to get your hands on GPU's so far. I don't think it would violate the ADA, but maybe you could expalin further. 

 

Thanks for the input

by Emerging Expert
on ‎04-07-2021 07:01 AM

In regards to point 3.  Until the consoles can be developed in sufficient quantity it would not make sense to ship them to stores for purchase.  I don't know the quantities that are available when they are available. But there are 977 BB stores (as compared to 25 Microcenters) and if there are only 400 available then less than half the stores would get only one.  Your chances would be very slim to get one unless your a store employee and the manager agrees to let you have the one, instead of a customer. 

 

Bots: I have seen many places complaining of bots, but all of them are allegations and nobody has solid proof. If solid proof could be generated I would like to think that info could be used to help shut them down.

 

And the resellers on eBay.  Personally if I could get my hands on a PS5 for $400 I would be strongly tempted to auction it for more than double the price. I just looked and  people are bidding them to well over 2 x the price.

 

Perhaps BB should set up an auction in their web site and people can bid for a console. Make it a silent auction so you don't see other peoples bids.

 

I don't think there is a good answer, and certainly none that will make everyone happy.

by
on ‎04-07-2021 09:18 AM

Bidding isn't something I've ever seen a retail store do, thats a unique idea. 

 

Good point on the number of microcenter locations, they are a smaller retailer. Perhaps physically having the cards in store is unrealistic, but I think allowing customers to purchase only in store would make it easier to ensure bots don't purchase all of the stock. For example if you combine idea 1 and 3 somehow where customers can sign up for a pre-order in the store, then you don't have to have the stock in stores, still ship them as they come in stock. Point 2 may be hard to implement effectiviely but I think some way of limiting people who already have purchased one would make it harder for scalpers to get their hands on all of the stock. Like you said, its very tempting to just sell as you can make easy money because of the demand.

 

I'd also like to clarify, I'm not suggesting these ideas to make it easier for me or any other employee to get any of these products. At least not any easier than it is for the average customer. I simply see an issue that could be addressed and tried to think of a few ways we could more effecivley help customers who have expressed frustration with the process, I appreciate your imput. 

 

You're right, definantly can't please everyone haha.

 

 

by
on ‎04-07-2021 09:43 AM

Here are a few articles I read about bots:

 

https://uk.pcmag.com/graphic-cards/128682/how-a-bot-bought-dozens-of-rtx-3080-units-before-consumers...

 

https://www.wired.com/story/scalping-bots-buying-all-the-ps5s/

 

https://screenrant.com/scalper-bots-increasing-pc-component-prices-laws-countermeasures/

 

This one suggests lawmakers should make scalping illegal, not sure what ramifications that may have.

 

Newegg does something called a "shuffle" which is kindof a lottery system, could  be another idea for BestBuy to try.

 

by
on ‎04-07-2021 10:20 PM
Some way to mitigate concern with the ID verification is to partner with a third-party verification service who can perform the checks online, and link that verification to a single account. Sign up can occur in person or online.

Maybe the first few minutes of a release can go to verified users only, or those verified users have a window to pre-order ahead of the general unverified populace.

If using a long queue system (like EVGA does), transparency about queue position would be helpful. People can drop out if they choose to (send weekly e-mails about queue position).

For a hybrid solution, set certain percentage of allocation to the queue, a certain percentage shipped to stores for in store pickup only, and a certain percentage for the fastest clicking verified members for shipping.
by Emerging Expert
on ‎04-09-2021 07:18 AM

1. Pre-order options:

 

This would reduce customer frustration as they won't have to constantly monitor the product only do be disappointed when they aren't quick enough to snag their desired GPU/Console.

 

I think that would only increase customer frustration or divert it in a different direction.  I don't know how many people there are out there that want a PS5.  But I would expect that number to be in the hundreds of thousands. 

 

People who buy for reselling are still going to pre-order. The frustration would go up when you make your order and find out you are number 145932 of 356933.  And those people in line are still going to try and get one somewhere else. If they do they will probably not go back and cancel.  Also, the money people have a nightmare on many pre-orders when they go to charge the card for the item and the card has expired or there are insufficient funds. 

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