Battle of the Brains: Best Buy vs. Walmart?

Okay, I may be biased because I work with consumer electronics manufacturers who (mostly) distribute their products through trained and certified custom integrators. I’ve drank the juice. I believe that if you want to speak with a knowledgeable, trained and engaged professional for advice, you seek out a specialist. Whether shopping for electronics, or a special occasion dress, I follow the same retail rules. My job is certainly one reason that I remain an avid supporter of our custom CE professionals. The other being that I have shopped at mass retailers for electronics, it is underwhelming and downright disappointing!

Now I read that in the battle for Circuit City’s share of the market, Best Buy is challenging Walmart on “employee smarts”. Are you serious? This is almost as inane as Jessica Simpson and a Hills character battling it out. Best Buy’s aggressive new advertising campaign is calling out Walmart by name in recent TV spots. Well, in my opinion, you both fail. Sure, both retailers offer competitive price points, but in my recent visits to the store, there is a severe disparity in employee knowledge of consumer electronics (if your shopping for a step-up system, forget about it), customer service (!), and let’s not even get into the state of the store itself complete with broken displays. My last visit to Best Buy took the cake with not 1 gaming system display working at noon on a Saturday afternoon. No Wii for me, and none of my money for them.

I single out these two companies only because they were the focus of the article I stumbled upon, however many other retailers suffer from the same symptoms. I, like every other shopper with a budget,  am thrilled about “getting a deal”. But, I, and other educated consumers, will also forgo the “deal” and readily bring my money elsewhere to be valued  as a patron. Even with budgets strapped, poor service and a disheartening retail experience is not acceptable. 

Just a thought, but maybe some of this advertising expenditure could be better allocated to employee training and store clean-up.

 Posted by: Katie


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