Consumers Just Want to Have Fun
Best Buy is also testing a new concept store on Twin Cities' shoppers called eq-life, which focuses on health, wellness and technology. The store is meant to function as a resource center for consumers, providing them with a wide variety of products and services to address their health needs, which explains the salon and spa. The store's technology offerings are geared toward this same philosophy, and so, DVD players and laptop computers share shelf space with herbal supplements and diabetes monitors.
In addition, the sales staff—called Qs—guide customers in their search to find answers and options that meet their individual needs—in other words, to find "equilibrium." The new store is designed to attract more female customers and also encourage them to shop at Best Buy's traditional electronics stores. "As we roll these out, the retail component may shrink a bit," states Denniston. "We're trying new concepts to see if they're valid. It's doing well enough now that three more eq-life stores are in the works."
Circuit City's new spin-off is called Iris, which is now being test-marketed in Georgia and Massachusetts. Denniston says Iris is specifically designed as a solution-oriented space for women. The concept store allows Circuit City to target a female demographic and set it self apart from other big-box stores. According to Denniston, the company wants Iris to tap into shoppers' emotions and to address lifestyles and solutions, as opposed to being feature-oriented, calling the store "a little less male."