Consumers Just Want to Have Fun
"Stores do need to create a merchandising solution that makes it easy for consumers to navigate and figure a bit out on their own," says Smith. "[Best Buy] tries to balance a bit of service with great selection and prices." However, he notes, there are lots of other things brands can do to set themselves apart from the competition.
Smith points to Best Buy's Geek Squad as an example. "(The Geek Squad) is very notable, very differentiated, and pokes fun at what everyone feels intimidates consumers. Because technology changes so quickly, everyone feels uncomfortable around it. The Geek Squad has done a terrific job in terms of owning this authority and creating a comfort level for its customers, and in return, customers feel (the store) has got their back."
Smith also suggested that remembering what you sell and designing accordingly can be a key part of the equation. "We often forget that [consumer electronics/imaging] is the most fun stuff you can buy," states Smith. "Retailers need to create fun for their customers. They need to give them permission to play, to learn, and then to be validated that they are buying the right thing. There are still a lot of retailers who are presenting product as a commodity, or in boxes. They need to let customers try products and see how easy it is. Customers need to feel they're going to get something out of [the product] and enjoy it." Finally, says Smith, "You want customers to be fans of your brand and not have to shop with you, but want to shop with you."