Under a Car Toys/Best Buy test trial, employees in some Pennsylvania Best Buy stores are undergoing training by Car Toys–the 50-store Seattle chain– to improve Best Buy sales and installation of mobile electronics products, said industry sources.
The trial, however, does not including shifting the product mix in car electronics at Best Buy, at present.
Best Buy employees in mobile electronics are being schooled to better handle product fulfillment and supply chain management and are receiving training in salesmanship and installation support, sources said.
Best Buy and Car Toys did not wish to comment on the trial.
Two sources called the training successful, although no plans have been revealed to expand the trial as of yet, they said.
An employee at one PA store confirmed that he and others at the store had undergone many training sessions from Car Toys and said the departments’ sales have improved.
“Best Buy realized there’s still money to be made in mobile electronics. It partnered with Car Toys to find out,” he said. Displays at the store have been revamped and “the way we sell and install has changed.”
Another industry member said, “Best Buy felt they had category excellence in areas like cameras and flat panel TVs, but they didn’t feel that way in mobile, and they felt there was an untapped potential…and it was a way to bring the category up.”
The industry members we polled said Best Buy’s success in car electronics will help the entire car electronics aftermarket. Even small specialty retailers expressed this view.
“I absolutely, positively do not want Best Buy to give up on the category. They have too much volume,” said Mark Miller of Westminster Speed & Sound. “It would raise the price of the products for us from our Japanese vendors. It would not allow some of our vendors to come out with key technologies as fast….If a person goes into Best Buy to buy a computer and walks by the mobile audio department, at least they are being exposed to the category.”
He added, “Best Buy doesn’t sell the $1,200 navigation.”
Sound of Tri-State’s Mehdi Narimanian said of the Best Buy alliance with Car Toys, “Hopefully it will get them to do more advertising…we’re all for it. Consumer awareness is the biggest issue that we have right now. The Amazons of the world have not helped us. They haven’t done a good job getting the consumer awareness. I think with Car Toys going in there, hopefully, as long as it increases consumer awareness, it’s a win win for everyone.”
See our original story on Best Buy and Car Toys here.
I should clarify my remarks regarding 12 volt suppliers and their desire to create new technologies and market same. These traditional suppliers and the new suppliers of 12 volt technology for the automobile will develop new stuff and invest their marketing resources at consumers through new card sales as opposed to aftermarket channels.
Indeed unless I am mistaken, this is a trend that may already be in progress…
Garwood, Prudence suggests that one should never rule out specific retail business relationships. That being said German Maestro believes in delivering Profit, Identity and Predictability in all of its business relationships with all of its customers and suppliers. We seek business relationships with brick & mortar installing specialty retailers who understand the “value add” concept and can successfully practice superior consumer service. I am not certain if Best Buy fits now or would ever fit such a profile. That being said…
Best Buy it seems to me is considering and testing lots of product and service categories that they have no previous expertise with. I am not certain if that is good or bad or if Best Buy will be successful or not in these tests. For sure: Challenged they are and adjust they must. Regarding 12 volt… Such a visibale and international failure in 12 volt will not inspire many 12 volt suppliers to continue to take measurable risk in new technologies and marketing same. It may not prevent such activity but such a failure will not inspire this activity. New technologies and the marketing of same helps to create demand and therefore potentially to drive traffic in our stores.
We should all wish for success in their 12 volt test.
Pay attention 12V industry! While retailers and manufacturers are sitting on their hands and wondering what miracle will create consumer demand again, Best Buy and Car Toys are actually doing something. I applaud the effort and I hope that it proves profitable and succesful. Perhaps then our industry will wake up and yake positive action to revive itself.
sounds like you are jockeying to get into BB, ray. the bb near me has all of ten sq feet of car audio. there is not enough talent around to train or that is trainable. my shop has five installers, the payroll for the installers is over $200,000 per year. i doubt if they can afford the costs. stick to the home products that you are good at discounting. good luck best buy.
(hit the wrong button) business environment that allows Best Buy to avoid being seen as the showroom for the Internet resellers. We all should want success for Best Buy in this endeavor.
I would like to add my voice to the idea that A Best Buy successful in the 12 volt category is a good thing for all. It seems to me that Best Buy faces many of the same challenges of the independent brick & mortar specialty retailer, how to compete with Internet resellers and the growing level of comfort the consumer has with Internet purchases. Therefore Best Buy should seek to become profecient in those products and services which are more cumbersome for straight Internet resellers. Observation: Best Buy will have to find a way to make such product and service categories specifically 12 volt, pay off in profit significant enough to warrant the floor space, install space and skills investment. Best Buy must also judge the value of the 12 volt consumer to the balance of their product and service categories against the cost of attracting the 12 volt consumer in suffieient quantities. Then of course Best Buy must take into account the 12 volt supplier community’s collective management ability to provide an environment
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