Gilbert Fiorentino, chief executive of Systemax’s Technology Products Group, has more than a few strong opinions about brick-and-mortar and Internet retailing. And he knows whereof he speaks, as a principal in the company that bought the remains of CompUSA last year and Circuit City this year and has created a new retail model that leverages the strong points of both selling formats.
He has implemented his model, called “Retail 2.0,” online and in 29 retail storefronts of CompUSA and is two weeks into the acquisition of Circuit City’s brand name and the relaunch of its web site. “We’re already #9 in computers and electronics sales, and for the combined sales of CompUSA, Circuit City and TigerDirect.com, we’re #3,” he told an audience at a CEA Line Shows session Thursday.
“Is there a conceivable world where retail stores are replaced by the Internet? I don’t think so. People like to touch and feel products. And the event of unboxing is as satisfying as the event of ownership. The Internet doesn’t replace retail, but retail has to change.”