Saturday, July 7, 2012

Best (way to) Buy?

In the same edition as a story on President Obama's woes about stagnant job growth, and a story on the irony of social sites not offering personal customer support by phone, The NY Times had a small piece today about Best Buy laying off 1.4% of its job force.

The reason is what I find interesting:
"Best Buy is trying to combat showrooming at its stores, as consumers test out products there, then go home and buy them cheaper online or at discounters."

 What are the options for keeping the customer satisfied, and competing in a groupon-tinged bargain-based world? Seems to me that we all want to still see and touch the goods. And we all want customer service to understand the goods. And we all want a bargain...and are empowered to find one or risk buyers remorse.

So where does that leave a retailer like Best Buy? What's in it for them for providing the venue and the service and missing out on the sale if the cost of bricks and mortar means not competing on price with online retailers?

Well, we could look at Horn and Hardart... If you could browse the goods on a basic display level and buy at a competitive price...but to touch and feel and actually get customer support and interaction you paid an up charge would you do it? Think of the automat with people. Insert a little more and the helping comes out. Make it easy to comparison shop, too.
Maybe add the virtual mall touch that the Japanese have created, where we all go to a wall of online images and select from there?

All I know is something's gotta give.  There has to be a happy medium for a better way to buy.