I read an article today about Best Buy wanting to sell electric vehicles. The company has already "won contracts to install home chargers for the Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i."


Dealers, how would you feel if Best Buy became a competitor, especially if it was able to sell electric vehicles from major car makers?

 

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Tags: Best Buy, electric vehicles

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Comment by Sheldon Wolff on May 9, 2011 at 9:47pm
This is America, free enterprise!  Many new car stores make their dealers to have specific style show rooms, stock parts etc. I doubt if Bbuy would convert part of their store for this. There are no secrets on profit margins now. Something like a smart car would do well but not a full line of vehicles.
Comment by Ron Terry on May 9, 2011 at 9:42pm

Jenny...

 

What a thought provoking post!

 

Many of the posts citing legal restrictions constraining Best Buy from selling electric vehicles are probably accurate. Though valid, they miss the point. If Best Buy were to enter the auto retail space, I would be very concerned for the following reasons.

 

1. Best Buy understands the meaning of the customer experience. They have sophisticated analytics that allow them to create personae for specific market segments. A persona is the collection of characteristics - interests, activities, wants, desires and values - of a particular customer group.

 

They have tightly segmented and narrowly defined their market. Traditionally, the car business takes the opposite approach. We say everyone is a customer without giving much thought about how these customers define value based on age, status, economics or aspirations.

 

2. Because they have a deep understanding of these market segments, they understand how value is uniquely defined by these distinct customer groups. This makes it easier to present a value proposition that resonates with the customer. Most Best Buy employees are not focused on 10 alternate closes to get the deal.

 

3. BB spends 5% of its budget on training. They conduct substantial training aimed at helping staff identify their core customer groups and the needs of individuals in those groups.

 

4. Best Buy leaders actively manage the process, seeking ways to continuously improve experience delivery which leads to more sales.

 

I would be very uncomfortable if Best Buy becomes a head-to-head competitor. BB is employing 21st century sales, marketing and employee development best practices. Not so for many auto retailers, putting several dealerships at a distinct disadvantage.

 

How do others see it?

Comment by Robert W. Linkonis Sr. on May 9, 2011 at 4:01pm

Yes, I think Best Buy will be relegated to selling "accessories" like the charging stations or the multitude of devices that are going to attach to the thing in some way. The future is coming faster than I thought, charging stations were just installed this week at VCU as per an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch.  

Comment by Donald Janssen on May 9, 2011 at 3:32pm

Sure, why not, can bet they will have fun with Door Buster ads. I can see the Black Friday tent camp lines now!

How about those qualifications, they install charging stations therefore they could represent the manufacturer as a retailer of the motor vehicle.

Comment by A Jay Gould on May 9, 2011 at 12:46pm
If it has a title and is labeled a "Motor Vehicle" I doubt if they can get this going in most states. For those of us old enough this is not the first time this has been tried- remember Sears-Roebuck and I believe Wal-mart tried this also in a few states some years back. 
Comment by Stanley Fleurissaint on May 9, 2011 at 12:45pm

Definitely a smart business move for Best Buy if they're doing it for sure!

 

Comment by Bob Bressi on May 9, 2011 at 12:43pm
The full force electric car market will not be in our lifetime. I would not be worried about Best Buy at all.
Comment by Bill Filippone on May 9, 2011 at 12:42pm
Interesting article, Jenny. As an auto-finance Banker, I wouldn't really mind it. But I imagine my "partners in crime", the tradional dealers would have a great issue with it.

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