How is Best Buy Mobile Doing?

Best Buy Mobile
The largest electronics US retailer in the world today announced earnings that Wall Street did not like and sent the stock tumbling 15% during market trading to $35 per share.  The company stated slow TV sales hurt the company's growth and didn't give a rosy outlook for sales in the future. However, it was very difficult to gain any information about how their mobile phone sales were going and how much this sector of their business is growing.

Best Buy Mobile is a partnership will Car Phone Warehouse based in Europe and was designed to provide a better shopping experience for the mobile phone customer.  You would think that with all of Best Buy's mobile phone deals with carriers that this sector of their business would start taking off with smartphone sales increasing and tablet PCs becoming the new craze.  If you do a search on Amazon Wireless you can find many 7" tablets and 10" tablets.  When I asked Best Buy Mobile how many tablets they carried it was only 3.  iPad & Verizon Galaxy and one other one I cannot remember.  This was quite disappointing to see and I immediately went down the street to Fry's Electronics to see what they had.  It's clear that Best Buy Mobile has an inventory and selection problem and can't decide what to recommend to its customers.  Too many phones and not enough recommendation value.

However, on my visits to Best Buy recently I typically see the mobile section of the store empty but see great deals.  So what is missing?  I think they are missing a hook to get consumers in the door and also provide real value to the shopping experience that cannot be done at a dedicated T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T or Verizon store. It's not just about pricing deals anymore and I know the management at Best Buy Mobile knows that.  However, they are lacking in their execution of helping their customers make better buying decisions.  How about rolling out your Best Buy Mobile coverage maps you have been working on for all of these years?  How about a closer partnership with Google Nexus S  like you did for the Nexus One?

The best deal I could find in the Best Buy Mobile store was their Verizon HTC Incredible for $0. Another thing I liked was their Google TV display but they should have rolled this out earlier in the Summer and it seemed late to get consumers excited about it for the Christmas shopping season in late October.  Another thing Best Buy is missing is the ability to get consumers excited about using apps on their TV just like their iPhones and smartphones?  They should be doing a deal with Pandora and other application companies to show customers how they can cut their cable cords and save money.

Many of these recommendations go "against the grain" of traditional marketing because some of the technologies that are hot are not necessarily good for big business.  Cable companies and wireless operators are about to get squeezed in a big way and I would suggest that Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile start to think about getting further in bed with the manufacturers of the hardware and think less about the cable and wireless operator dumb pipes that are dependent on them.  Consumers want to save money and reduce their dependency on cable and wireless subscriptions now that WiFI and the internet is a limitless marketplace of channels.

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