In the midst of the resignation of its CEO, faltering consumer electronics giant Best Buy just closed 50 of its biggest retail stores. By all accounts, the company that overtook Circuit City, CompUSA, and RadioShack as the go-to place for televisions, MP3 players, and even refrigerators looks like it’s on the verge of either collapse, or at least a major overhaul.
However, all is not doom and gloom for Best Buy, and that’s mostly thanks to its in-home services department, known as “Geek Squad.” The GeekSquad arm of Best Buy already enjoys great brand recognition, a good reputation, and offers the retailer an edge on most of its biggest competition — both online and off.
“Best Buy needs to become the thing that Amazon can’t,” said Motley Fool consumer goods editor Austin Smith in a video interview on Daily Finance. “They need to get into your home. Amazon can’t physically repair your laptop. So Best Buy needs to become a service-centric company again. They need to do TV installations, in-home theater installations, computer repair.”
As Smith says, Best Buy really can’t compete with companies like Amazon on price alone. But by refocusing their company around the service department (which, according to Business Insider is already expanding to push partnerships with third-party IT partners), Best Buy can offer something no one else does: A local, reputable, brand-name field service operation.
“[Best Buy] can have a location close to you,” Smith says. “You can bring in your computer, they can fix it, and you can come pick it up the next day. Amazon can’t do that.”
More and more, we’re seeing customer service and field service become a major priority in sales. And by giving the geeks the keys to the car, Best Buy might yet drive its way back to profitability.