Best Buy’s Comeback. The Retailer to Work for in 2014?

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If you’re working in retail and your career has hit a dead end, it might be time to switch companies. Best Buy was in a nosedive last year. Everyone thought the electronics retailer would go the route of Circuit City. It’s stock just kept sinking from over $50 in 2010 to $11.29 last Dec. 28. Brick-and-mortar retailers were taking it on the chin from Internet retail giants like Amazon. But Best Buy fought back. And the stock leapfrogged nearly 240% so far this year. How did they do it?

Ask Hubert Joly, Best Buy’s new chief executive. When the French-born hotel and travel CEO analyzed Best Buy’s strengths and weaknesses, he discovered that Best Buy was not being perceived as the low-price leader, falling behind Walmart, Amazon and Target. This caused shoppers to “showroom” at Best Buy, then run over to the competition to buy. The only way to beat the price game was to excel in advice, convenience, and service. This would keep the “showroomers” from leaving.

Best Buy’s new goal was simple: once they’re in the store, get them to buy by selling the Best Buy difference. After all, their stores never really had a shortage of traffic. Their major problem was conversion. The retailer also went big on price matching, offsetting lost margins by shaving costs and boosting volume. Best Buy even agreed to match its own lower price within 15 days of purchase or, during the holiday season, through Dec. 24. That said, Joly attributes Best Buy’s comeback to basically taking price out of the equation.

Boosting sales even further was Best Buy’s new “store within a store” concept. This is where brand experts from Apple or Microsoft provide in-depth tech advice to consumers inundated in specs, models and options. Then there’s the Geek Squad, which few electronics retailers have. These tech teams are just what the doctor ordered for tech weary consumers who take today’s advanced TV and entertainment systems home and try to figure out which plug goes where.

So is Best Buy a good place to work? According to Glassdoor, 64% of employees recommend the company to a friend and 77% approve of CEO Hubert Joly. Employees say the pay and training are good. Moving up is not hard if you do your assigned tasks. On the downside, once you move into management, you’re expected to work long hours, especially during the holidays.

What types of jobs are available at Best Buy? Openings run the gamut.  Here’s a sampling:

  • Retail Manager. Manages store operations, analyzes retail performance and trends, hires staff, develops promotional campaigns.?
  • Customer Service Rep. Answers all customer questions, recommends products, and suggests tech solutions.
  • Geek Squad Repair Tech. Repairs computers, media players, TVs and appliances in-store or on location.
  • Sales Associate. Helps in-store customers, stocks shelves, fills-in wherever needed.
  • Consumer Research Specialist. Acquires and analyzes data about consumer preferences and buying habits. Assists in developing more effective marketing strategies
  • IT Specialist. Helps improve Best Buy’s information processing and storage practices and capacities.

If you’re considering a retail career, you might want to take a look at Best Buy. They’re the new “turnaround kid” and they could just turn your career around.


Image courtesy of hin255/



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