Becoming a Full-Service Retailer
During the last holiday sales season, Jim O’Neil would visit the seven Electronics Expos in New Jersey, stand on the sales floor and look on with admiration. The displays and vignettes looked beautiful. Throngs of customers scooped up thousands of products. But the more he looked, the more he realized something was missing.
“I didn’t think we were putting the right emphasis in the right area,” O’Neil, Expo’s divisional merchandise manager, recently said from company headquarters in Caldwell, N.J. “I thought we had do something more than move boxes. Face it, Best Buy and Circuit City have done a good job with the Geek Squad and Fire Dog. I wanted us to focus our core competencies on other things.”
That other thing turned out to be Xtecs, Expo’s branded installation crew and services. Started early this spring, Xtecs is fully established but still a work in progress. Its current and planned developments provide a strong case study on the successes and challenges a regional retailer faces as it strives to differentiate its offerings, adjust its business model and increase its competitive edge through a value-added services division.