For Best Buy, this holiday season will be all about
The practice -- where consumers visit a store to check out an
item in person and then buy it online from another retailer, often
at a lower price -- has become a major concern for
bricks-and-mortar retailers. In early 2012, Target famously sent a
letter to vendors asking for help to thwart showrooming. Yet, less
than two years later, Best Buy is using showrooming as a rallying
Scott Moore, Best Buy
"What a difference a year makes. … The press couldn't
have been more negative about what was going to happen to Best Buy
this time last year," said Scott Moore, senior VP-marketing. "At
the root of it there was a theme around how showrooming would be
the final straw, the thing that just knocked us out."
Best Buy did endure a rough fourth quarter of 2012, ultimately
reporting a $1.7 billion loss for the period, compared to net
income of $651 million the year prior. But Best Buy is now showing
improvement, with the retailer recently reporting its first
quarterly profit in a year. Earnings rose to $266 million in second
quarter while sales slipped 0.4%.
Best Buy executives thought long and hard about showrooming,
meanwhile, as the new holiday season approached, Mr. Moore
explained. "The thing about showrooming is it's not the ideal
experience to do research at home, go to the store, do more
research, then hit pause, go home and order and hope it arrives on
time," he said. "There's a better way."
The brand plans to show consumers just that with its new
campaign, "Your Ultimate Holiday Showroom." Eleven spots highlight
the experience consumers get at Best Buy -- online and in-store --
while touting things like its "low price guarantee" and the ability
to order online and pick up in store. A group of celebrities,
including Will Arnett, Maya Rudolph, LL Cool J and Jason
Schwartzman bring "wit" to the campaign, Mr. Moore said. Crispin Porter & Bogusky handles creative
for Best Buy, while Starcom MediaVest handles media planning and
Mr. Moore declined to disclose the investment in the holiday
campaign, though he noted digital spending would be up by double
digits. Best Buy spent $129 million on measured media during the
fourth quarter of last year, according to Kantar Media.
Best Buy plans to "launch early and often" this holiday season,
with the first TV ad airing this past Sunday night. In prior years,
the retailer has toyed with varied launch times, ranging from early
to late November. This year, starting in late October "seemed to be
the right competitive thing to do," Mr. Moore said.
Indeed, most retailers are expected to begin holiday campaigns
in late October and early November this year. The electronics
category is also fiercely competitive this time of year, with
players like Amazon, Walmart and Target all looking to compete with
Best Buy. This year, even Kohl's plans to add TVs to its offerings,
in a bid to attract shoppers.
"For many years, lots of people have been adding electronics to
the mix to attract customers to their core proposition," Mr. Moore
said. "This is our core proposition, and it's our job to convince
people this is the place to come, with a tremendous assortment,
informed and well-trained sales associates and our low price
Natalie Zmuda oversees the CMO Strategy section and is responsible for identifying and analyzing the latest trends impacting chief marketers. Natalie also covers the retail and non-alcoholic beverage categories. She joined Advertising Age in 2008, following five years covering the retail and fashion industries for Conde Nast Publications.