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My last rant of the night (I promise). I've never really understood the point of the Microsoft Consultants program. On paper, we rant and rave about how it's to tell the Microsoft story and yada yada yada but it would seem to me like a majority of computer users ARE Microsoft users, so this should just be a general requirement of being hired / working in the computers department. In this regard, I've always felt as the Microsoft Consultant was a me-too kind of effort on Microsoft's part (to the Apple Expert program which makes more sense seeing as it's a specialized product that a lot of employees usually don't know about), but the latest changes to the Microsoft Consultant program are just absurd. Case in point: a customer was actually told that they could not be assisted because the only employee that was available to assist a customer was the Microsoft Consultant and he was told he cannot ring up non-Microsoft products. Keep in mind, the store was slammed and this "MS Consultant" is literally standing there watch this poor lady wait with his hands in his pocket like "what do you expect me to do?" This is not the experience that Best Buy should be striving to create nor should they be letting this happen in their stores. Whatever Microsoft is funding you is not worth the dissatisfaction and potential lost business and this should really be re-examined and re-considered expecially as you enter two of the busiest times of the year for Computing: Back to School and the Holidays.
This issue involves the new 12" Apple MacBooks in particular. These computers are impossible to find and get and a lot of the DCs have them in stock but they are not shipping them to stores. I would completely understand this mentality if they were orderable thru OMS but OMS is still turned off on these. This means the only other way to get these is to find another brick & mortar location that has them in stock and initiate a physical transfer. The common problems I run into here are (1) stores don't answer the phone at all or answer and place you on extended holds, (2) stores answer the phone and take forever to locate the product and/or (3) stores find the product citing that it's their only 1 in stock and they refuse to sell it stating that their manager or supervisor is denying the transfer request.
So in other words, they would rather WALK a sell that is going thru (because it's not at their location) than take care of a customer and create a positive shopping experience and what's really silly to me is most of the time the store's aren't selling this item as referenced thru their weekly sell-thru. There should be a system in place, similar to OMS or ExpressLane that's strictly for store to store transfers that makes it easy to initate a transfer and if that item is physically not being sold at the time the transfer is created, the store MUST transfer it out (provided its to take care of a customer and not just to sit on a shelf in a new location) and it should integrate with Campus Ship to make it easier to flow thru this process and also CC all the leaders in the store that the transfer is coming from/going to with the customer information and tracking information.
I know in this example I'm talking about MacBooks, but I've seen this issue in other departments too, like in Home Theater on popular 4K models, etc. etc.
A common issue that is occuring with the new student deals site, is that a student's school won't appear on the list and seeing as that is a required deal, this makes them ineligble for the savings. A few schools I have seen this with so far: Texas Southmost College, The Art Institute of San Antonio and Houston Baptist University.
There should be a backdoor process where if the school is not on the list, they can still go to the Sheer ID verification site and upload the requested documentation to qualify for the promotion; Otherwise, you risk walking these students to their local campus stores which are also offering student deals and promotions or the OEM's who have also been known to offer Back to School targeted offers to students.
I use IFTTT to monitor price changes on certain items that I'm looking to purchase and more recently something has changed on hte back end where it's generating an erorr "Couldn't verify with Best Buy." IFTTT has no way of contacting them to report issues like this but I figured they're probably using some sort of Best Buy API that may have undergone changes recently that is causing this error to occur. Best Buy's developers should partner with IFTTT to get this corrected because A LOT of people use this free service.
I was searching for an item on BestBuy.com and found what I was looking for on sale. I added it to my cart and checked out and somehow I ended up on a page where it was recommending products to me (based on my purchase history?) and the exact thing I had just purchased they had a similar item on clearance for 1/2 off. So I tried to go thru and cancel my order because I figured the order was still "pending" and the rewards would go back to me like on competitor sites. This was not the case. Instead I unmasked a huge deficiency in Best Buy's online ordering system that you should fix sooner than later. If an order hasn't even been processed, it should be an instant cancellation so that customer can move on and get what they want. Instead this is now going to drag on over the next few days as I wait for them to cancel the order and (hopefully if they're still available) order the items at the much better price point.
I would like to start this rant by acknowledging that Best Buy does not have to offer a rewards program and I appreciate the fact that they do, but they have all but removed all of the value out of the rewards program over the years. Before MyBestBuy, you would receive 2% back for top spenders (this has now been reduced down to 1.25% back in rewards); 60-day returns and price matches (this has now been reduced to 45 days); and you had other perks like a free home theater consultation or calibration, online backup and even rewards members only event nights. Most of the latter have been discontinued or are non-existent. Yet the amount you have to spend to be in the top tier increased $1,000/year.
Best Buy could really add some value to the top tier of the rewards program by making the 10% back in rewards promotion an everyday promotion for Elite Plus members purchases totaling $599 and up on a My Best Buy credit card or 5% back for any other form of payment with non-credit rewards account. In my experience working for Best Buy a few years ago, these kind of promotions would spark a lot of people to impulse buy and it also indirectly is a way for Best Buy to compete with places like the Army & Air Force Exchange where customers don't pay taxes (which is equivalent to a 8-9% savings in my state) or even Employee Purchase Programs offered thru various manufacturer's directly to certain employers. It also led to increased attachments because people will spend more if they know they're going to get more back in return (that's the whole value prompt in financing in the first place if you're just going to pay it off).
The Best Buy price match guarantee should be updated to include products shipped from and sold by Mac Mall and Adorama. Both Mac Mall and Adorama have aggresssive prices on Apple computers and accessories. Adorama has a sales alliance with Amazon.com in a deal to broaden Amazon's selection of camera products and accessories and both are two growing segments of Best Buy's business (considering the recent influx in installs of new Apple and Camera Experience Shops in local area stores).
Best Buy should get the Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (MFR # KU3CGBT) into its stores as soon as possible. Here are some arguments FOR this:
(1) Demand for the new MacBooks is at an all-time high. A check for availability of these are various Best Buy stores shows them unavilable with extended backorder times. I know from people that work at Best Buy that as soon as stores are receiving these they're selling either by online purchase or in-store pickup.
(2) Apple does not make a competiting adapter and the price ($29.99) of this adapter is in-line with other third-party (Belkin, Insignia) adapters.
(3) It is an essential adapter for business custmoers and students alike. My local store is located near a University and I can tell you that they do not allow students to have ANY wireless devices enabled in on-campus housing. This means that the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter and this adapter are both going to be in VERY high demand. Judging from last year, you could not find a Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter within a 150-mile radius of where I live because neither Best Buy or Apple Store was prepared for the increase in demand on this SKU and were both consequently sold out.
(4) Kanex accessories generally have 4-5 star reviews which shows they are of sufficient quality and are well-received by customers.
(5) You will see USB-C showing up in other non-Apple devices like Chromebooks and PCs as adoption picks up later on this year and next year (example: Google's new flagship Chromebook, the Pixel, is already supporting it so I don't anticipate other OEMs being far behind on adding it to their newer models too).
I just realized that the BestBuy email for marketing/advertisements in your email is the same email used for actual information such as, when your order is ready to be downloaded in your digital library, order confirmations, etc.
I would like to suggest two different emails the reason for this is very significant. People are lazy and are going to sweep important emails unintentionally cause it's the same email. below is the email I am referring to.
i came in-store today to look at the new MacBooks (which the store did not have) so I started to ask questions about what accessories the store was going to be stocking for it. They didn't have any of the new USB-C accessories either and when I asked about cases, the employee became noticeably uncomfortable. Come to find out, it's because the stores don't really carry ANY cases for the smaller MacBooks in-store except a Thule bumper case. The employee began showing me Surface and Chromebook cases and a lot of them didn't look all that great.
Interesting enough, I jumped online tonight, navigated over to BestBuy.com > Computers > Laptops > All Laptops and sorted them by "Best Selling." The 11.6" MacBook Air came up within the top 45 results and the other 11.6" MacBook model, the top 60 results. So you have two 11" Apple MacBook Pros that, by your own admission, BOTH rank within the top 60 in regards to sales and you carry a whopping 1 case that is actually for them. I point that out because while you can use a Surface Case for an Air, most don't have pockets to accommodate a MagSafe adapter, for example, because the charger for the Surface is much smaller. You're now (with the new MacBooks) adding TWELVE new sub 13-inch laptops to your inventory which would officially mean you have 14 notebooks with a screen smaller than 13" inches, 6 notebooks with a screen 13" inches and 2 notebooks with a 15" screen. 90% of your in-store case inventory are for 13" MacBooks, 9% are for 15" and 1% (being very modest here) are for the 11.6." Now, I was not a math major, but I was a marketing and management minor and I can tell you that I see a huge problem with this picture that is begging to be solved. This problem only becomes more compounded when you consider that May-September, laptops take center stage in electronics/office stores for sales as students began to shop for laptops for back-to-school.
I think there's an opportunity for Best Buy to both create value for it's Elite+ members AND increase attachments on it's protection plans on laptops if it were to offer Elite+ members of it's rewards programs that purchase laptops over $999 with Total Assurance plans a loaner laptop in the event that something were to go wrong with their computer that would require it to be checked in over a 24-hour period. The program would NOT have an additional cost, you'd just have to meet the criteria.
The hows and whys:
(1) The person would need to be Elite+ (spends over $3500 in a calendar year. These are your customers that have proven themselves "loyal" to Best Buy and are less likely to try to defraud or abuse the system.
(2) The customer must have purchased a computer $999 and up with Total Assurance. This would mean the cusotmer spent at least $1200 on the computer purchase alone which would warrant the argument for a loaner in the first place. Someone spending that much on a computer probably can't afford downtime. Average turn around times for repairs are usually WEEKS not days for computers.
(3) You could require a credit card hold for the amount of the loaner computer to cover any possible "incidents" - similar to what a hotel does when they loan you a room. The loaner computers can be generated out of open box computers versus reselling or sending them back to the manufacturer. You don't have to have a ton of but maybe keep half a dozen of each model on hand and make them available on a first come first serve basis. Like a car dealership, you're not expecting 4 dozen defective same models in a day, but you're pacing yourself for the rainy days and the loaners are only out until the computer returns from service in which the customer has 24-48 hours to return the loaner or pay a per day rental fee (extra revenue for Best Buy and encouragement to return these on-time to the benefit of other customers). These loaner computers could be previous generation models (i.e. Surface Pro 2, Lenovo Yoga 2, 2014 MacBooks, etc.). In most cases, if you're using a protection plan your computer is 1-3 years older anyway. The unique situation that came out of this for me at Fry's is the loaner computer was faster than MY computer. The more time I spent with it, the more I realized I've had plenty of issues with my machine (it had been in for service for over-heating 3 tiems) and this new ones faster, lighter, better battery and I'd be hard pressed to hear the fan ever come on (veruss mine which could give your leg a farmer's tan with how hot it got) etc. etc. and all of a sudden I went from waiting for my computer to come back from service to considering a new one (DEFINITELY a win).
I understand that there's some risk and liability involved with the My Best Buy rewards program around issuing points without a grace period, but I think for your Elite Plus customers - your top spenders - you should post points faster so that they can get back into the stores and spend more money quicker - it just seems logical. I made a rather hefty purchase and we're at almost two weeks and I'm still waiting for points to post. I think if there was a policy where points would post within 72 hours - THAT would add value to the Elite Plus program and make more people strive to be a part of it (and let's face it, your Elite Plus members are probably not in the top percentage of returns generated either).
I would love to see Best Buy take on a more proactive approach to encouraging people to recycle used ink & toner. I understand that, as of now, Best Buy currently does offer a recycling program, but I would love to see them roll it into their rewards program to really encourage people to take advantage of it. This could implemented in a few different ways:
(1) Offer a coupon for an extra 5% off ink and toner for recycling. This would be the easiest to implement because if one is recycling ink or toner one would most likely be looking to purchase replacements, so for Best Buy this would offer the quickest ROI on this type of program.
(2) Offer 250 points for each toner or 50 points for each ink cartridge. This is based on the fact that ink cartridges need to be replaced quite a bit more frequently than toners and in most cases, people are replacing sets of 2 or 4 on ink cartridges, depending on if the machine is a tri-color or individual ink model. At the end of the day, every toner or 5th ink cartridge would equate to a $5 rewards certificate, which for most inks or toners is a very small discount, but it's still something to encourage people to do the right thing when it comes to disposing of used ink/toner.
Lastly, the largest benefit to either method you decided to implement would be that you would lock the customer into buying ink/toner from Best Buy and handily pull customers from office store competitors.
This is probably a long shot, but here goes:
Best Buy is the leader in consumer electronics but the technologies that Best Buy utilizes in its stores suggest anything but. If Best Buy wants to be the leader in technology and showcasing it to customers you need to commit to it fully by investing in supporting infrastructure:
(1) Better WiFi bandwidth and infrastructure in-stores. My closest Best Buy is located in a rock quarry. Simply put, cell phone signals don't exist. When employees activate phones, they have to go outside and up the side walk to get reception so you rely heavily on WiFi, which is atrociously slow in this store. Whether it be mobility, home automation, home theater, etc. Everything that is big in technology right now requires significant WiFi to work and as such, Best Buy should provide significant WiFi bandwidth to give its' employees the capabilities to demo these solutions to customers, effectively.
(2) Update/refresh kiosks and registers. It still amazes me to see these clunky registers all over Best Buy (my local Best Buy store still has beige registers to give you an idea) - meanwhile, I go to the local mall and every other store has eliminated the register space in favor of tablet or phone-based point of sale solutions. I would love to see Best Buy consider giving each department several tablet-based point of sale units and maybe keep registers up front only for cash-based transactions. This would create a better shopping experience for customers and employees alike and force Best Buy to update their antiquated POS software - if you've ever been in a Best Buy store when a register goes down, I need to say no more, but it takes an embarrassingly long amount of time for the systems to restore and they do go down quite a bit. Yes, this would be a sizable investment, but if help desk tickets went down as low as even 25%, there's a significant ROI on this too.
Back in January, Apple announced a "SIM-free" unlocked model that their retail stores would be the sole, exclusive carrier of. I think there's a large opportunity (especially in the southern U.S. markets) for Best Buy to sell Verizon iPhones without a contract. Verizon iPhones are shipped unlocked and can be used in countries where carriers use GSM-based SIM cards. At present, most Best Buy stores will refuse to sell iPhones without a contract or comparable NEXT, Edge, EasyPay plan because the stores don't profit as much on the back-end; However, I'd be willing to bet that Best Buy is leaving a lot of money on the table in terms of revenue from customers that would otherwise shop at Apple to get this device. Another plus for Best Buy is that Best Buy easily outnumbers the total number of Apple Stores by at least 3x the volume. If you put this in markets where there are no Apple stores, you fend off online sales of this model and redirect those customers into your stores (especially if you take into consideration that on a large purchase like this you get rewards at Best Buy whereas at Apple you don't).
Here is yet another collectors edition that needs to be on Bestbuy.com for pre-order. I know I want this along with many other customers. I hope this comes through as a pre-order sooner rather than later!