Best Buy announced today
that they were shutting 50 of their US big box stores and replacing them with up to 100 smaller mobile stores and k
iosks in an effort to trim costs and return to profitability.
Big Box retailers are known for deep discounts and the problem with that in a hyper-connected eCommerce world is that there will only ever be one best deal and price shoppers are only a smartphone away from knowing if your price is the right price.
An increase in "showrooming" is a huge challenge for retailers too. Shoppers research online, go to a local retailer to check out the merchandise, then head home to purchase online at a better price. The Big Box stores did this to the independent retailers decades ago so they should have seen this coming. Just ask the former owner of my local hardware store.
With most online retailers also offering free shipping on big ticket items and everyone having the same stuff, why go to a store unless you absolutely need to have the item today? When you need it today, price does not matter as much.
The saving grace for Best Buy though is that their eCommerce site is well integrated with their retail channel. I can find out which store has my product and order for pick up at the store closest to my house with no shipping charges. Sometimes it takes a day or two to get there but I can usually wait. I expect Best Buy to continue to innovate and leverage their logistics and inventory management expertise to grow their eCommerce in the coming years.