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The 2013 Retail Excellence Awards: Best Buy, Pflanz Electronics and Friedmans Appliance

August 14, 2013
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One is the largest consumer electronics and appliance retailer in the country, accounting for roughly 30 percent of the market. Another is a pure consumer electronics dealer with a single store in a tertiary market. And the third is an appliance dealer (that recently added bedding and other home categories) in a densely populated West Coast city.

The winners of this year’s Retail Excellence Awards are different from each other in a variety of ways, but they do have one very important thing in common: The CE and appliance industry would not be the same without them or their leaders.

The importance of Best Buy is obvious. The retailer sold close to $50 billion in CE and appliances in its 2013 fiscal year. Sales are down for the first quarter of its 2014 fiscal year but the industry, as well as Wall Street, believes the company is in turnaround mode.

The jury is still out on its CEO, Hubert Joly, who has been at the helm for less than a year. But industry insiders say his early initiatives–cutting costs, online investments, reallocating sales floor space, and more sales training, to name a few—are what’s needed to stabilize the company for future growth.

It’s safe to say that Pflanz Electronics in Sioux City, Iowa, is a vendor’s best friend. During its 55-year history, the CE retailer, under the leadership of one of the industry’s most active participants, Vance Pflanz, has prided itself on introducing consumers to the latest technologies the way they’re supposed to be introduced: via hands-on demonstrations conducted in solutions-oriented lifestyle environments by knowledgeable sales associates.

Pflanz Electronics continued that mission during the last year, serving as an important launch point for 4K UHD TVs and projectors, the latest Bluetooth speakers and countless other product categories that consumers should see, hear and touch before making purchasing decision. It’s worth noting that one of the main reasons the company remains on the forefront of new technologies is because Pflanz is constantly out in the field, attending trade shows, buying group summits and industry forums to learn about the latest products and business strategies. Here’s to another 55 years!

Every CE and appliance dealer, big and small, can learn a lesson from the initiatives Friedmans Appliance Kitchen Bed and Bath in Long Beach, Calif., put in place during the last few years to improve the customer experience. Lead by general manager Chris Ybarra, every effort—new ways of treating company employees, revamped sales floor processes, deployment of tablets and much more—was designed to put the customer first. By doing so, sales, profits and foot traffic increased during the last 12 months.

 

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