Fernando Silva
President
Best Buy México
/
View from the Top

The Best Buy Approach to the Omnichannel

By Jan Hogewoning | Wed, 04/08/2020 - 13:13

Q: What lessons have you learned here in Mexico?

A: Technology is always changing. That is partly why we love working in this segment. You have to be adaptable and ready to reinvent yourself. Thirty years ago, we were selling very different products and services than today. Our company has really moved through the digital transformation. In Mexico, we have a good idea of what the future will bring, as the US and Canada are a bit ahead of the country in technology adoption. Some of the solutions we have used there can also be applied here.

What we have learned in Mexico is that we are making a difference for employees, customers and communities. We have more than 2,600 employees who work according to an ethical culture rooted in values and empowerment. Our goal is to really understand and meet the customer’s needs. Obviously, our model started with a physical approach to touch, feel and experience technology. But we have been moving into an omnichannel strategy, integrating our stores with a digital platform. We now provide a stage that is very different than when we came into Mexico. It allows us to showcase technology better.

Q: What strategies are you implementing to grow your physical and digital sales channels?

A: We do not think of the digital and physical channels as separate entities because customers use both all day long. They may research online but buy offline. The challenge is to use our stores as assets in the digital transformation. Stores should be the site of unique customer interactions and not just a place for transactional operations. We want to provide a richer technology experience. How, for example, do we show customers features of a cellphone that can improve their lives? How do we demonstrate that TVs are actually connected? Or how can they use technology to make their homes more secure? Ensuring that the customer leaves the store with the cellphone and with all the apps already working is what creates a personal relationship, almost a friendship. This motivates people to come back. We try to give people advice but keep from pushing customers to buy things. We want them to have a really positive experience and the products that they really need

Another asset of stores is their role in the logistics of the supply chain. We basically use them as warehouses. Over 40 percent of the customers who go online choose to pick up their product at a store. Our goal is to ensure that these stores are closer to our clients. We would rather have many small stores that store products, than one large warehouse outside the city.

We are the only company in Mexico that can have a product ready for pick up at a store within one hour of online order. We can provide installation at home and if there is any problem, clients can come to our store to use our repair services. This is part of our migration into services, such as in-home consultation/advisor on security systems. Using our stores as strategic locations means you need to ensure you have the right inventory available close to the customer when they need it. This strategy demands dynamic control to anticipate and fulfill customer needs, which requires significant investment but is central to our operation.

Q: What obstacles have you faced in developing an omnichannel presence?

A: We do not really focus on obstacles. We make mistakes and recover from them quickly. The platform we are using right now is the same as that in the US where we have grown our market share dramatically. One challenge in Mexico is the population density in cities. We have experimented by rolling out different-sized stores to adapt to the local ecosystem. Some stores play a big role as pick-up locations and they have seen double-digit growth in sales. Their smaller size fits well in high-density areas with a lot of offices and apartments, where they can be part of malls, for example. We also have Best Buy Express stores, designed to provide high-demand items and serve as a pick-up center .

In the current economic climate, many retailers have been less assertive, stopping their expansion or closing locations. This has given us a great opportunity. Consumer electronics is a segment in which we have seen continued growth. Direct delivery to homes will continue to increase, which is why we are using our stores to get products closer to our customers’ homes. We will expand our fast delivery to other cities in the country. We are now in 17 states. We opened 14 stores last year, arriving to 3 new states, which was a historic investment in Mexico. 

Q: What is the status of your Best Buy for Business division?

A: This is an important division for us, and it has been growing at a double-digit rate. We have close relationships with our customers in the US who are also in Mexico, which has helped us to grow quickly here too. We are authorized sellers for major tech companies and provide advanced expertise to small, medium and large clients when setting up their technology infrastructure. We are opening up special service-dedicated centers. In Cancun, we are opening one customer service center for the hospitality sector. This will ensure that a hotel does not have a TV down for more than a couple of hours. Our extensive customer service before and after purchase allows our clients to focus on their own business. The expertise of our Blue Shirts is essential, which is why employee training is probably our biggest company investment.

Q: What is Best Buy’s contribution to social causes?

A: Last year Best Buy probably made the biggest donations in its history. In Mexico, through our partnership with Roku, we donated more than 1,100 TVs to 21 nonprofit institutions in the country, most of these focused-on children. We also received recognition from the FORGE foundation for providing opportunities to people from underprivileged backgrounds to work and grow in our company. Lastly, we have a certification from the Human Rights Campaign recognizing our efforts to create an inclusive, diverse and non-discriminatory environment in the company and the LGBTI+ community. We are very proud of these achievements because every day we want to enrich Mexican life through technology.

 

Best Buy is a retailer focused on consumer electronics. It is the biggest in this niche in Mexico, with a presence in 17 states. It also has a business-oriented division that provides technology and services for corporate clients

Photo by:   Best Buy
Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst