MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the busiest holiday retail season just days away, Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) is shaking things up - thanks to its customers. By creating a real-time research tool called VOCE (Voices of Consumers Through Employees), the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer has been quietly listening to consumers, reacting to feedback and making near immediate change.
“Our ability to have more than a billion conversations with consumers annually gives Best Buy a leading advantage in the retail landscape,” said Bill Hoffman, senior vice president, consumer insights for Best Buy. “Keeping a pulse on the consumer mindset allows us make effective decisions to improve the customer experience and the company’s bottom line unlike any other retailer. Real-time data allows us to make modifications in a matter of days versus months. ”
VOCE also enables Best Buy to pose specific questions to thousands of its employees in its stores nationwide. Key findings into the consumer mindset during the critical holiday shopping season include:
- 41 percent of female consumers seek an improved shopping experience; 31 percent would like a female-friendly environment and 29 percent would like to see an increase in female driven products such as accessories
- Consumers say they plan to spend an average of $1,342 for a spouse, $390 for children
- Top four categories consumers are specifically asking about in stores are gaming, computing, TVs and cell phones. Products include gaming (i.e., Xbox Kinect, Playstation Move), games, iPad, computer accessories (i.e., wireless printers, wireless cards, portable hard drives, 3D TVs, big screen TVs, portable TVs, iPhone 4 and android mobile phones.
“Really understanding the consumer psyche is what drove VOCE’s development as part of Best Buy’s connected world strategy,” said Steve Wallin, senior director and the driver of VOCE’s success. “Our ability to listen and learn from our customers in real time allows Best Buy to lead the industry, helping people bridge gaps in selection, service and convenience. The promise of the connected world comes together at Best Buy every day.”
VOCE feedback, which is logged in real-time into an intranet system is able to track verbatim and directional insights into consumer sentiment, including reactions to products, services, policies, store layout or displays. It’s these employee and consumer insights that inform thinking at Best Buy, lead to more robust conversations between its employees and corporate leaders, helps to flag key patterns and take corrective steps – some of which have already been implemented.
VOCE is an important element Best Buy uses to factor into local and national decision making. Recent examples of local change include:
- Streamlining mobile phone pickup orders so consumers go to one desk for pick up and set up
- Separating the Customer Service and Geek Squad counters so consumers aren’t confused about where to go for specific services
- Understanding customers want to know how to work their technology before leaving the store
- Creating a “Geek Squad Lounge” allowing people to get one-on-one help prior to leaving
Best Buy’s customer insights unit is responsible for analyzing consumer data and trends to generate actionable consumer insight. Its goal is to provide an integrated view of the consumer mindset through VOCE, research, analytics and competitive insights. Best Buy launched VOCE to all its stores nationwide this fall.
About Best Buy Co., Inc.
With operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, China, Mexico and Turkey, Best Buy is a multinational retailer of technology and entertainment products and services with a commitment to growth and innovation. The Best Buy family of brands and partnerships collectively generates more than $49 billion in annual revenue and includes brands such as Best Buy; Best Buy Mobile; Audiovisions; The Carphone Warehouse; Future Shop; Geek Squad; Jiangsu Five Star; Magnolia Audio Video; Napster; Pacific Sales; and The Phone House. Approximately 180,000 employees apply their talents to help bring the benefits of these brands to life for customers through retail locations, multiple call centers and Web sites, in-home solutions, product delivery and activities in our communities. Community partnership is central to the way Best Buy does business. In fiscal 2010, the company donated a combined $25.2 million to improve the vitality of the communities where best Buy employees and customers live and work.
For more information about Best Buy, visit www.bby.com.