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Best Buy Uses TiVo, Twitter to Take on Walmart
Partnership allows Best Buy to promote directly on special TiVo DVRs; plans to use Twitter to seek out customers.
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Best Buy is taking its battle with Walmart outside the store, using Twitter and in-home advertising.
July 09, 2009 by Tom LeBlanc

If you’re keeping score of the ongoing battle between Best Buy and Walmart for electronics retail supremacy, award Best Buy a few points.

Best Buy is announcing a partnership with TiVo today, by which a special version of TiVo’s DVR will be heavily promoted in Best Buy’s 1,100 U.S. stores, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, Best Buy will be promoted directly on customers’ TVs through that special TiVo DVR.

Also, Best Buy is about to launch a campaign aimed at garnering customers through Twitter.

Meanwhile, a recent Best Buy TV commercial doesn’t pull any punches, directly attacking Walmart.

Best Buy and TiVo
The TiVo partnership seems like a win-win for Best Buy. Its efforts to move TiVo products are doubly rewarded with custom advertising for other Best Buy products. 

Financial details of the multi-year commitment to promote TiVo devices haven’t been disclosed, according to the New York Times. The companies do say that Best Buy will finance an effort to bring TiVo’s software and search tools to other Best Buy products, like its Insignia HDTVs.

Best Buy and TiVo also plan to leverage Napster’s music subscription service, which Best Buy recently acquired. TiVo plans to make the service available to TiVo subscribers on TVs, according to the New York Times.

The big-box retailer’s efforts appear at least partially fueled by Walmart’s recent efforts to gain more of an electronics market share. When Circuit City closed its doors in March, its hoards of customers became up for grabs.

Walmart kicked up its merchandising (and advertising) by emphasizing 1080p and Blu-ray products. It also rolled out “larger,” “more interactive” and “roomier” electronics displays for all its U.S. stores.

Best Buy responded by announcing plans to open 13 stores, each with “updated layouts” and “interactive displays.”

Best Buy and Twitter
The TiVo alliance, however, reflects Best Buy’s efforts to take the battle outside of the actual stores and into customers’ devices — in this case, their home TVs.

Best Buy is also taking its messages to customers mobile devices and computers. The company is launching a Twitter campaign, called Twelpforce, according to Bloomberg.com.

Twelpforce is a customer service team dedicated to using Twitter to answer product questions and stimulate sales. Twelpforce will search Twitter posts to find people looking for information about electronics.

The report has Best Buy chief marketing officer Barry Judge explaining:

“The old paradigm is you open your doors and hope someone comes in. In the new world, you can go out and find people that are talking about technology and what they’re interested in buying, and be generous with your knowledge. And hopefully if you’re generous and knowledgeable, people will come and buy.”

Best Buy and TV Ads
Clearly, Best Buy sees product knowledge as a differentiator between Walmart and itself. A recent TV commercial directly takes on Walmart while positioning Best Buy as having more knowledgeable salespeople.

Your move, Walmart.

Check out the Best Buy commercial taking on Walmart here:

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