Saturday, April 20, 2024

Best Buy Opens in Lakeside

PILE it high, sell it cheap and give the customer what they want.

That seems to be the idea behind BEST BUY which finally opened to the public in the UK today.

The American electrical giant’s first store here is at Lakeside shopping complex in Thurrock, Essex, and its opening was greeted by a queue of more than 1,000 eager shoppers.

Mind you, that’s no real surprise when opening weekend deals on offer included a Toshiba 32 inch LCD TV slashed by £150 to just £179.99 and Nintendo’s popular Wii console with £80 cut from its price to just £99.99.

Rival games machines the Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 were both dropped by £50. These deals and many more continue across the Bank Holiday weekend with bosses promising plenty of stock to meet demand.

In America, Best Buy prides itself on low prices alongside excellent customer service from staff known as Blueshirts, who do not earn any commission. That means they should only be selling you what you want, assuming you know what that is.

If you don’t then each employee has undergone nine weeks of intensive training to ensure they can advise shoppers on the best gadgets and kit to meet their needs.

The 50,000 sq ft store also houses the chain’s famous Geek Squad Agents who repair, set-up and install products.

Speaking to the Blueshirts and Agents, you can tell instantly how passionate they are about the products they sell. Which makes a change in stores such as these because often when you need advice, the knowledge just isn’t there.

But only time will tell how successful it is because while the prices were competitive, many were very similar to rivals such as Currys and Comet and more expensive compared to some online retailers. So whether good customer service is enough for hard-pressed Brits to flock there when the opening offers end, remains to be seen.

Best Buy Europe chief Paul Antoniadis is upbeat though about the future. He said: “We spent a year studying the consumer to find out what they really liked, hated and wanted to be better. We believe we have a proposition that can demonstrate the latest technology with unparalled service.

“When UK customers come to a store and buy these gadgets, there’s nothing cooler. So they want colleagues who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and resourceful to ask them questions and understand what they want and find the best value for them in an unbiased way.”

Best Buy’s entry to the UK market is certainly a significant one when it comes to technology. A fifth of all electronics bought in America come from one of its stores.

The Thurrock one is designed to be very easy to spot what you want. Various zones are filled with items relating to specific gadget types and pretty much everything sold there is on display to fiddle with. That’s also a refreshing change so there are no hidden surprises when you get home and open a box.


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