Electricals group Best Buy took its offer to shoppers nationwide for the first time yesterday with the launch of its transactional website.
The retailer’s reach in this country was previously limited by its small number of stores. The site launch, which will replicate Best Buy’s service-led positioning in what bosses believe is a revolutionary online approach, will give it greater leverage against rivals Dixons Retail, owner of Currys and PC World, and Comet.
Best Buy online managing director DeVere Forster said Best Buy’s intention was to create a content-rich, online community as well as to sell, and the former would be key to the success of the latter.
Product reviews, articles and the recruitment of gadget and gizmo enthusiasts as blogging ‘techxperts’, will all feature to make the site a destination and not an “electronic version of a paper catalogue”.
Because of the infrequent nature of consumers’ purchases of electrical goods, Forster said it was essential to make the site a frequent destination. He said: “We have tried to build a portal where people can come every week to find out what’s going on in technology and there’s nothing better than user-generated content [to do that].
“When they are ready to buy that bit of technology, consumers will look to us, because they’ll have that trust.”
Best Buy intends to exploit its reputation for service online. Instead of the more usual product comparison approach, involving box-ticking, there will be “guided selling” using videos of blueshirts - the retailer’s staff, famous for their knowledge, service and ability to cut through the technical jargon.
By clicking where appropriate, shoppers will be talked through prospective purchases and given options to access more in-depth explanations and hone suitable product choices.
Forster said: “We’ve taken the in-store experience and put it online. It’s the first time a multichannel retailer has done that in our space.”
He added that “at present websites do a pretty bad job of selling a solution to the consumer” and Best Buy’s guided selling could change that.
Dixons-owned Currys unveiled an overhauled website this week, offering shoppers an improved experience.