Best Buy to Enter Expeditor Market

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By Amy Gilroy
Updated! It appears Best Buy has its eye on selling car radios and electronics not just to retail consumers but through car dealerships; and it will team up with Seattle, WA-based Car Toys to do so.
The big box retailer will join forces with Car Toys to test market Best Buy’s entry into expeditor sales (selling car radios, etc. at car dealerships) according to three high level industry sources. Best Buy will test market the program in Boise, ID and Minneapolis, MN with at least one of the markets to launch possibly this month, said two of the sources. It’s possible that the Geek Squad will eventually perform the installs.
Car Toys said it had no comment on the story and Best Buy also said it “does not have a comment for your story at this time.”
For its part, Car Toys, a 52-store car audio/mobile phone store with locations in four states, does a significant business in expeditor sales, say industry members. It employs over 1,200 people, claims sales of $130 million annually, and is a member of the PRO Group buying group. Car Toys recently said it was positioning the company for change by hiring Jim Warren as its head merchandiser. Warren was recently VP Mobile Audio at Audiovox (a company with a significant expeditor presence) for a few months before rejoining Car Toys.
Lest anyone underestimate the prowess of Car Toys’ legendary CEO Dan Brettler…don’t. He started yet another company called Wireless Advocates, which operates the mobile phone kiosks within Costco stores.
From here there’s lots of speculation. Why would Best Buy need Car Toys if it wanted to enter the national expeditor market? Perhaps Best Buy wants Car Toys to run an expediter car sales department within Best Buy. The CE chain has created many store-within-a-store departments including the Geek Squad, Magnolia Home Theater and Pacific Sales, although in these cases, Best Buy purchased an outside company and co-opted it into a Best Buy department. We’ll have to wait for a formal announcement from Best Buy to find out.
Then there’s the impact Best Buy would have on the thousands of car stereo shops around the country that have forged their own expeditor deals with local car dealers. Many 12-volt shops strike arrangements with a few nearby car dealers so that a GM dealer, for example, might offer its customers the option of adding a rear seat TV or navigation system to their new car (usually at a lower cost than the factory option). Then the 12-volt shop provides the equipment and installs it. To the car stereo shop, this is an important side business, especially in trying times such as these. A national Best Buy expeditor network could pose yet another challenge to already challenge-weary specialists.

Source: CEoutlook

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  1. nick and mark are right, there are way more good independent shops than good best buy install shops, way more!

  2. There is a BB here that hired two of my customers as installer . One of which got head installer age 21 (one of my installer is 40 the other is 30 something my son is 20 and learning from them and me 48 . They both got asked what experience they had, one said he worked for me, he got head installer with that answer. They never called me to confirm. The other ( graduated last year) Both have ZERO experience. If there installers are so good why are they after the independent specialist installer? And other speciality shops say much the same. Oh yeah, they aren’t allowed to build custom boxes, what BB scared they gonna cut there fingers ? I would be too.

  3. Well I can tell you Best Buy is more than capable of handling any installation a dealer would need completed. Many of the installers that are working for Best Buy came from specialty car audio shops than either have closed their doors, don’t pay their employees on time or have little to no employee benefits. Many of those installers left those companies in search for stable employement and many small companies just can’t offer that especially over the past few years. I would much rather have an installer work on my car that is a long term employee with a company than some kid out of high school just insterest and building subsystems and fiberglass work. I ran specialty car audio shops in my past and damage claims were much more frequent in those enviroments than at Best Buy.

  4. the largest problem with mobile installs these days is the lack of information flow from the owner (who has his mind set on numbers) down to sales then to the installer. best buy is the largest offender of this problem. “owning” the market just isn’t a likely thing to go well for bb. installation of all the product will only be installed by skilled techs, not big business.

  5. I have to agree with the sales and no installs for this company. There is a Best Buy in our town and I cannot tell you how many people I know that have had their cars messed up by them. I actually have a picture of a Lexus getting flat bedded out of the install bay there. I would never want my brand new car worked on by them.

  6. best buy does not belong to car audio .the installation aspect of car audio is beyond a general merchendiser like bb.they can sell the merchendise ,but to install it they have a big issue on their hands.

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