June 09, 2009
| by Tom LeBlanc
Best Buy has made a move in its strategic battle with Walmart for electronics retail dominance. It plans to open 13 stores, each with “updated layouts” and “interactive displays.”
While Electronic House has closely followed the big box giants angling for former Circuit City customer’s business, our readers (or at least our posters) seem to be watching with mocking interest — kind of like a reality TV show that’s so bad it’s good.
A favorite post comes to mind (paraphrasing):
“The only interactive displays at Walmart are the greeters.”
Indeed, Walmart recently began equipping its 3,500 stores with “larger,” “more interactive” and “roomier” electronics displays. The goal seems to be to snag more Circuit City customers by dangling better products and resources in front of them before they migrate to the No. 1 U.S. electronics retailer, Best Buy.
Meanwhile, Best Buy, knowing that Walmart is upping its electronics emphasis, has indicated that it won’t enter a price battle with the biggest big-box retailer of them all. Instead it has said it will create differentiation by improving its display areas and in-store experience.
The messages coming out of Best Buy, though, are mixed at best. It recently closed several of its Magnolia stand-alone stores and took over leadership of that specialty division. That move seems juxtaposed with a goal of elevating its in-store experience.
Best Buy’s latest announcement, however, seems more in sync with that goal. In fact, it seems like a logical counter-move to Walmart’s electronics upgrades. In announcing plans to open 13 new U.S. stores in the next few months, it also promises “interactive displays [to] create a unique and engaging experience for customers.”
It must be Walmart’s move now.
The 13 new Best Buy stores include its first store in Wyoming and its second store in Alaska.
Here is a full list of Best Buy store openings:
- North Anchorage, Alaska (Saturday, June 13th at 10:00 a.m. local time)
- Miami Beach, Florida (August 8th at 10:00 a.m. local time)
- Hammond, Louisiana. (Friday, June 12th at 9:00 a.m. local time)
- Hunt Valley, Maryland (August 7th at 9:00 a.m. local time)
- Hutchinson, Minnesota (Saturday, July 11th at 10:00 a.m. local time)
- Bronx, New York (August 7th at 10:00 a.m. local time)
- Brier Creek, North Carolina (Thursday, June 11th at 6:00 p.m. local time)
- Pottstown, Pennsylvania (August 7th at 10:00 a.m. local time)
- Bastrop, Texas (Friday, June 12th at 10:00 a.m. local time)
- Laredo North, Texas (weekend of August 7 time TBD)
- Park City, Utah (Saturday, June 13th at 10:00 a.m. local time)
- Martinsburg, West Virginia (August 7th at 10:00 a.m. local time)
- Casper, Wyoming (Friday, July 10th at 10:00 a.m. local time)