Best Buy Europe’s first UK site opened to the media for a preview on April 26 and officially opened to the public at 7am on April 30.
Based on the West Thurrock retail park, near the Lakeside Shopping centre in Essex, the Best Buy store is surrounded by some gnarly and experienced competitor retail brands – Currys Megastore, Maplin, PC World and Comet.
Best Buy reckons its point of differentiation is the services and additional products in store, provided by no other consumer electronic store currently.
All new Best Buy stores will be split into eight departments – GreenTech, home theatre, computing, home appliances, mobiles, entertainment (DVDs and music), portable sound and vision, and a services hub.
The stores offer an extensive range of electrical goods – 3D televisions through to electric cars. The Apple iPad will also be available from its sites when launched.
The Thurrock store offers customer support in its services hub, positioned in the middle of the store.
Services include ‘trade-in and save’, allowing customers to bring in old devices to get a discount on new purchases in store, ‘walk-out working’, where staff set up devices to be fully operational before leaving the store, ‘one-to-one help and tutorials’, allowing customers to pre-book by up to one hour to learn about new products, and, lastly, ‘Geek Squad’, the technical support personnel its European joint venture partner Carphone Warehouse co-opted two years ago.
All staff in store receive nine-week training during their induction, much more than Carphone store staff receive (two weeks, typically). Each staffer is designated a particular department within the store, but are able to sell any product on the shop floor.
Full article in Mobile News issue 463 (May 10, 2010).
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