In a conversation with National Retail Federation (NRF) President and CEO Matthew Shay at the trade association’s Big Show in New York City earlier this week, Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy, detailed five areas the consumer electronics retailer is investing time and resources to help it take friction out of the customer experience.

  1. Safety matters, and it will continue to matter. This applies to both Best Buy customers as well as its employees. Barry noted that Best Buy was one of the first retailers to require masks, both for customers and employees, in its stores, and expects this policy to continue for at least the near future.
  2. Offer convenience as defined by the customer, not what the retailer deems as convenient. For example, Barry cited Best Buy’s decision to roll out buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) service at the outset of the pandemic. Not only did the BOPIS service provide another convenient way for customers to shop with Best Buy, but it also offered another safe way to purchase during the pandemic.
  3. Acknowledge the juxtaposition between digital commerce and the comfort level of all customers, including older demographics. Digital is no longer solely the domain of digital-natives such as millennials and Gen Z. Everyone is now more comfortable shopping and engaging with brands online. With that in mind, Best Buy is focused on creating exceptional online experiences for all, including baby boomers and older shoppers.
  4. The employee is more in control than ever before. In order to attract and retain a talented workforce, Best Buy has invested in its employees, Barry noted. The retailer has elevated its pay structure, including raising its minimum wage to $15 and giving pandemic-related bonuses to hourly store associates and warehouse workers; composed a more attractive benefits package; and espoused the types of values necessary to keep its employees (and customers) happy and more likely to remain with Best Buy.
  5. Data is the new currency of the future. Best Buy is constantly leveraging data to optimize and personalize its customers’ experiences. “Pivot around the customer,” advised Barry. “There are a myriad of touchpoints — online, offline, mobile. All the experiences need to stitch together. It has to be a frictionless experience no matter how they interact. Build your omnichannel experiences around your customers’ expectations.” Data is foundational to retailers doing that effectively, including for Best Buy.

Barry and Best Buy are planning for more disruption and change in 2022. The retailer prides itself in being able to respond accordingly.

“We’re focused on having the agility to adapt to continually evolving conditions,” Barry said. “For example, protracted labor shortages. We’re not trying to solve for perfection; instead, we’re using resources and data to build flexibility and agility into the model. Embrace a constantly changing environment.”