Best Buy says it is not afraid of showrooming, the practice of testing products at a physical retailer and then buying it online. Best Buy says it is confident it can convert visitors into buyers, even if their intent was to buy online.
Well, that is a brave front. And I wish them luck -- I certainly like having bricks and mortar retailers around when I need something fast and can't wait for the UPS truck. But it probably was no accident that the article was illustrated with this picture:
What don't you see there? CD's, DVD's, speakers, DVD players, computer games and most of the other stuff that used to make up a lot of Best Buy's floor space. Because they have already been demolished by online retailers in those categories. The picture above is of appliances, one of the few high dollar categories that has not migrated to the web. Go to Best Buy and you will see appliances, health equipment, and TV's, all categories where bricks and mortar stores have some advantages over online.
This makes perfect sense, but don't tell me Best Buy is ready to take on the online retailers. They are bobbing and weaving, ducking this competition wherever they can.
Postscript: Best Buy is hoping that having "trained" sales people to help customers will garner business. There are two problems with this. One, the training of their sales staff has always been spotty, and likely will not get better as their financials go south. And two, I find that Amazon.com reviews are far more helpful, and often more knowledgeable, than most in-store sales staff. But on the positive side, who doesn't enjoy getting hassled for an extended warranty at checkout?