By Sean Wargo
The face of retail is clearly changing. With Wal-Mart's solid showing in the CE space, many of the other players are moving up stream to get out of the giant's way. Witness: Best Buy's addition of the Geek Squad and a broader integration of the Magnolia HiFi division into its stores. Witness also much more solutions-oriented concept stores from a number of other specialty retailers, such as RadioShack in Fort Worth and Tweeter in Las Vegas.
The key theme here is service. Consumers hopefully want and need more of it as product complexity increases and ease of self-integration declines. In fact, a whole channel of the specialty high-end electronics (SPHE) retailers is built around it, but the question is: How do these retailers get in front of the wave of demand as consumers move up market?