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Best Buy's Best Business Solution: Boomers

To compete with online shopping, to appeal to the 50+ buyer and to cater to its strength — technology help — the retailer offers Geek Squad Solutions Central as business model

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Another way in which Best Buy is hoping to win our loyalty is with the introduction of targeted products.

For example, Best Buy is now the exclusive marketer of the Narrator HD radio by Insignia with Reader Service. That’s a nationwide group of radio stations available on the HD channels that provide audio versions of books and periodicals. The radio is designed with voice menus and big buttons to make it easy to navigate.

Best Buy already works with vendors to custom design mainstream products for its stores. With the change in emphasis, we might expect to see more products tailored to the needs of an aging population

But Best Buy hopes to change in more subtle ways that will help us as well. For example finding out how a customer intends to use a product before he walks out of the store.

If you are buying a desktop computer, how are you going to use it? Will it be for email, for Web surfing, to look at pictures? If so, you might be asked if you need to install or learn the software you’ll need. Do you have an Internet provider? Do you need a wireless router, a printer, a digital camera?

These are opportunities not only to become more valuable to the customer, but obviously to increase sales as well.

Will put it this way, "What are the products or education you need to get it working — in many cases we’ll help you get it up and working before you leave the store. If we can get consumers to use technology, the more technology they are likely to buy, and buy from Best Buy. We’re trying to develop an environment so our (sales staffers) understand the needs of our customers. We will provide classes and clinics where we can get customers together who face the same problems, whether it’s learning the basics of digital photography, to getting the most out of a cellphone."

All of this is going to take time. At the current rate it would take Best Buy years to revamp all its stores, though it can certainly implement things like "Geek Squad Solutions Central" far more quickly. In the final analysis, it may well be the value that Best Buy can add to its interaction with customers that can prevent it from going the way of the late Circuit City.

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