Best Buy Reorganizes Car Audio Managers

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Best Buy to sell luggage, patio furniture

There’s a changing of the guard in car audio buyers and managers at Best Buy effective today.  Long time leaders at Best Buy will move out of the mobile electronics department, and a new group will replace them, some with appliance and computer backgrounds. Some will also have e-commerce experience, as e-commerce is a new focus of the department.

Former head of the car audio department, Roddy Hjort, has been moved to the Small Appliance team at Best Buy and Randall Schwartz, a Senior Merchant in car audio for more than six years is no longer part of the car audio team, according to memos sent to industry members.

Best Buy also changed work assignments within its car audio department to reflect the new focus on online sales and to allow more freedom to the managers. As we reported earlier, Best Buy’s online sales now account for over 40 percent of company sales, up from 19 percent last year. And that trend is expected to continue beyond the pandemic.

Kiersten Savoie has been named the new Category Lead who will interface with many of the vendors.  She is new to car audio and she comes from the Major Appliances section at Best Buy. Savoie was in the Computer department prior to that.

Cory Ehlers will serve as the car audio Category Portfolio Lead.  He has been a director of e-commerce at Best Buy for almost 7 years.

Chris Ekdahl will be the Senior e-Commerce Analyst.  He had been a buyer in car audio for almost two years.

Mindy Luecke will be the Merchant Analyst for car audio and Dan Groppoli will be the DP analyst.

Best Buy did not respond to our request for a comment on the changes.

Addition: We should add that many mass merchants switch around buyers between departments to prevent them from developing cozy relationships with suppliers that might influence their buying decisions.

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  1. Best Buy will abandon car audio within 18 months and use the space for small connected appliances and gadgets. The install bays will be converted to e-commerce pickup zones or overflow e-commerce stock rooms.

    Randall was the last car audio stronghold that Best Buy had.

    BBY will still sell car audio to consumers online and will partner with installer net or other installers for install. Long shot would be geek squad installs at your home.

  2. Well, good for the specialist dealer. Every time BBY has inserted non-12V people into the mix it has been an epic shatshow. Their retail presentation is poor at best. They will continue to lose core staff and just become another online fulfillment house. This move will cement their future, as in sink it.

    1. Actually it’s a smart move for BBY, they’ll convert the space for higher asp goods which increase units/sf in this space. Free Install was the last ditch effort to save the category…great idea by Randall, yet doomed as he could never fully recoup the costs from the vendors. This is actually what Amazon is doing when the buy (lease) up old closed down Sears stores to create pick up today hubs. This is the future of retail, hub and spoke…. Showrooms for best selling goods (and goods that vendors will pay to display), same day pick-up warehouse for best selling online skus. This will be the dagger in small and medium independent consumer electronics retailers, the death of traditional brick and mortar retail is imminent, another casualty of the pandemic. Evolution is survival.

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