Why Best Buy Will NOT Win the Mobile Phone Battle

Visual Pollution: Mobile Phones at Best Buy

In an earlier blog post on “What is Visual Pollution?” I talked about the overload of signs and information being “Visual Pollution.”  For customers it becomes so overwhelming that a customer simply stops processing the information blaring everywhere.  It is the same as reading the small print at the bottom of a sweepstakes offer.  There is so much there and it contains so much minutiae that no one actually bothers to read it.

Well, take a look at a roughly 14 X 24 inch section of the latest Best Buy mobile station at their newest “Connected Store” prototype.  (This awful product presentation went on for at least 12 feet BTW.) Those signs are about 4″ X 8″ and absolutely crammed with detail, offers, a QR code and multiple pricing depending on the plan.  Oh, and did I mention THE PHONES DO NOT WORK.  Yep, those hunks of plastic are all dummies that are set up to look like demonstration phones but are, in fact, graphics applied to a plastic mold of the phone.  Yet another reason, I guess, to have a Best Buy “blue shirt” walk over and start yammering away about packages and plans.

Here’s the thing, Best Buy.  You say you want to stop the “show rooming” effect of people visiting your stores and then purchasing the product online.  So you talk up the ability for customers to interact with the devices and get excellent customer service.  But let’s say the weight of the phone mattered to you.  Or the screen brightness.  Or the volume.  Or any of a dozen different factors that holding THE ACTUAL PHONE in your hand helps you make a purchase decision.  How can you do that with this hunk of plastic and the chapter of information crammed into that fact tag under it?

There is NO BENEFIT in going to the store to buy the mobile phone at Best Buy rather than going online.  At least online, customers can use tools like comparison charts to evaluate different models and plans.  Best Buy cannot win the mobile phone battle against great retailers like Apple (who have working models of their phones in the stores) or online competitors who present information about each handset  in a uniform way that allows customers to prioritize options when making their purchase choice.

This author continues to shake her head at Best Buy who claims to know how to get to the future and yet cannot keep up with the recent past.

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