“Mobile is bringing the best the web has to offer into the physical space,” said Chap Achen, Senior Director of Multichannel Order Management for Best Buy U.S., in a recent webinar. One of the primary ways Best Buy has integrated web site functions into its mobile site is by offering in-store pickup from the mobile application. More than half of Best Buy customers currently take advantage of order-online, pick up in-store and Achen expects an even larger customer base to use the mobile capability.
Achen joined executives from IBM and Sterling Commerce recently to discuss these and other Best Buy strategies around the idea of Smarter Commerce, in a webinar titled “The Connected Consumer.”
Embracing the idea that consumers are bringing a wealth of information into stores via their smartphones, Best Buy has designed its mobile site to provide “information as a resource for the customer.” To that end, Best Buy is developing and implementing applications designed to provide information to customers through BBYOpen. For example, through the BBYOpen Products API, customers have access to information about more than one million Best Buy products, including pricing, specifications, descriptions and images; the Stores API provides location information and product availability at the more than 1,100 Best Buy locations; and the Reviews API offers all product ratings and reviews on bestbuy.com.
Consumers Insights Drive ‘Smarter’ Strategies
Knowing that customers have product review and pricing information in-hand, retailers must find new ways to anticipate shoppers’ wants and needs. “We have a unit charged with understanding customers’ unmet needs,” said Achen. Today, for example, shoppers can purchase any phone from any carrier in a Best Buy store. “Five years ago that was an unmet problem,” he noted.
By tapping into multichannel customer insight data in real time, “We can now spot a trend in a week versus three months later,” Achen explained. Using customer insight data, Best Buy introduced “Friends and Family Pickup” last year. “Over 10% of all in-store pickup is now happening through that program,” said Achen. “Three years ago we didn’t have that insight.”
Best Buy also depends on its employees to deliver customer insights to headquarters. Through a program called “The Voice of the Customer Through the Employee,” Best Buy employees share customer feedback, then on a weekly basis that feedback is shared with the business owners. From this program, Best Buy learned that customers want more Apple Mac mini-stores within the larger Best Buy store.
“It really becomes an ingrained process – collecting deep customer insight,” said Achen, and retailers must have a mechanism in place to listen to and act on that information.
Additionally, Best Buy shares customer insight with suppliers, who in turn can help solve customer issues and provide the best product selection. “We are now number-one in terms of Netflix activation because we listened to our customers who were overwhelmed by the different services they could choose from,” said Achen.
IBM’s Smarter Commerce Initiative
During the webinar executives from both IBM and Sterling Commerce shared their insights on Smarter Commerce initiatives. John Mesberg, Vice President, Commerce Solutions at IBM, explained that today’s consumers are “instrumented, interconnected and intelligent,” and often consumers’ expectations exceed retailers’ capabilities. To resolve that disconnect, retailers must collect, understand and respond to customer insights.
Mesberg and Jim Bengier, Global Retail Executive for Sterling Commerce, also explained how Smarter Commerce initiatives are helping retailers including Advance Auto Parts, Petco, Crocs and True Value Hardware.
For more on insights on these retailer success stories, Smarter Commerce and Best Buy’s strategies, click here to download the presentation.