Note to Best Buy: Get Car Audio Out of the Back Corner

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Why does Best Buy market smartphones in the front of the store?

Best Buy mobile departmentDoesn’t classic merchandising tell you to put the milk and eggs in the back of the convenience store so customers have to walk by the other goodies first?

A blog by Strategy Analytics analyst Roget Lanctot has a suggestion.  Put smartphones and tablets in the back.  And, since the car has become a 4-wheel smartphone accessory, place the car audio department somewhere nearby, mid-store.  We think that’s a great idea.

While we don’t agree with everything stated in the blog, Lanctot makes some interesting points:

First. Best Buy, now competes with Apple Stores (not just Walmart and Amazon).  Apple Stores are starting to merchandise car integration products for smartphones.  Suddenly products like the Escort SmartRadar are appearing behind the shiny glass doors at Apple and we know there are other suppliers clamoring for a spot on the Apple slat wall.

“If you have a mobile electronics product, do you want to be in Best Buy or the Apple Store?  Apple is number one in the world for revenue per square foot.  If I have a new integration product, I want to be in the Apple store,” said Lanctot, explaining that “Best Buy is just going to put my product  in the back of the store!”

Second, if you have a hot car integration product to sell, which department at Best Buy would you like to see it in—the smartphone section or car electronics– all the way in the back?  By moving the car electronics department to the middle of the store, and smartphones to the back, you can better cross merchandise integration products for the car.

Third, Best Buy may be missing the boat on working with car companies. Yes, they are starting to work with fleets and commercial vehicles but Apple is overshadowing Best Buy with its current program to work with 9 car companies to put Siri technology in new cars.

The car is the next big frontier for technology.  Best Buy can make a statement that it’s leading the charge by moving the mobile electronics department to where someone might actually see it.

Fourth, (this comes from CEoutlook rather than Lanctot’s blog) studies have shown that people want many of the integration products sold by the car audio aftermarket, but they don’t know they exist.  Best Buy can build recognition for the category by taking the above suggestions.

Best Buy told us that it wants to keep the car audio departments near the installation bays, which are in the back.   We understand.  But with everyone wishing to use their smartphone in the car, why not put the smartphones in the back corner next to the installation bays.  And drive home a point to the consumer!

Read Lanctot’s blog here.

Source: Strategy Analytics

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