Oh hi. Yes I know I've been away from the blog for a while and with good reason. With Black Market Billions off to an awesome start, I've been asked to write more books (3 to be exact). I've also been soul searching. Details for all projects including my "summer of Hitha" TK, but first let's get to Best Buy. This is a retailer I've been following closely since 2010. Why? Because it was once the star of the S&P and one of the bellwether retail stock. Um, not any more. Former Best Buy CEO, Brian Dunn made some pretty crap choices in the merchandising, product mix and overall sales strategy of the store. The result? Shoppers now go to Best Buy (which was once a destination to PURCHASE all things electronic and tech) to price compare. Sales have been slowly dropping off. And internet superstore Amazon is taking market share away from Best Buy. So here's a question- do you go to Best Buy only to price compare? If you do you aren't alone and Best Buy executives are finally cluing in. Here's the thing- they don't think there is anything WRONG with the idea of "showrooming." In fact, when new CEO Hubert Joly presented his five step plan to get the company back on track at the investor day, showrooming was one area he wanted to focus on. Question is-- will it help or is it a case of "too little, too late?" The awesome Jeff Macke host of Yahoo! Finance show Breakout and I agree- the concept of a showroom is quickly becoming a thing of the past. And Best Buy better realize that-- FAST.
I find it strange how 99% of retailers are scrambling to get the consumer to start spending and build customer loyalty through rewards programs, etc., (Eye on you Amazon (AMZN), Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY)) meanwhile they have some of the worst return policies on the planet! This morning I discussed the best and worst return policies on NPR's "The Takeaway." Really JCrew (JCG)? Are you REALLY not going to let me return a sale item for a full refund? Ugh. Here are my notes from the interview:
What do you think is the ideal/fair return policy? I think a full refund (which very few stores rarely do) is fair, OR return/exchange a gift without a reciept which is what H&M is doing. Target (TGT) is also sort of doing that just as long as the price of gift does not exceed $70 in one year.
What do you think is an unfair policy?
Definitely "final sale" at J Crew (JCG) on sale items. What is that all about? Also,
Amazon (AMZN) has 29 different product-specific return policies in addition to it's regular one for example: -most unopened items can be returned within 30 days -items they do not accept back: Hazardous materials, Kindles (after 30 days), downloadable software products, gourmet baskets, health and beauty products, some jewelry AND If the value is $75 must have a tracking method, items at $500 must be insured. If you are missing orgininal documentation, there will be a 15% re-stocking fee. Annoying!
JC Penny (JCP) requires special occasion dresses to be returned with the "return tag" still in place which prevents people from wardrobing i.e., buying wearing once, and then returning it.
Overstock.com has a 60% restocking fee for some open used or late items.
Office Max will not accept returns of opened cameras and software unless it is defective.
I don't think a lot of people are fully aware of these return policies at these stores.
What kind of the hardest items to return? Undergarments, swimsuits, software, electronics (due to restocking fees, shorter time to return the item and sometimes stores won't take them back at all).
If I have to retun a gift for a store online do you have suggestions on how to make this return as EASY as possible? Do your research- most stores do not post their return policies for example, Best Buy lengthened its holiday return period for most items by one to three weeks (until Jan. 31st) but computers still have their 14 day return policy so computer bought on Black Friday can not be returned.
Ask about re-stocking fees: If an item is open add the fee, 30% from Overstock.com, Macys, 15%
Be aware of the tier method (what Amazon and Best Buy (BBY) are doing) : apparel that might have a different date you can return at vs. different than electronics
Buy things on your credit card in case you lose your reciepts: I tend to have about 1,000 slips of paper in my wallet/handbag and the most important reciepts get lost in the tsunami of paper. If you put purchases on your credit card the retailer can pull it up your purchase more quickly.
I have my own method to my madness for Black Friday shopping tonight (I have the most amazing assistant ever who created a map for me, Seth and Sarah Mary plus a KEY for each store we are hitting) but I came across these Black Friday shopping tips on the Best Buy web site and I love them. If you are venturing out tonight- these are incredible FYIs.
Aw yea it's that time of year again! While most of you are gearing up for the Olympics of cooking in yer kitchens, I am gearing up for the Olympics of shopping both off and online. Instead of feeding you a bunch of nonsense deals on stuff you really don't care about, I've decided to ONLY give you the heads up on items I am interested in, i.e., flatscreens, cameras, computers and awesome luxe items. Just a little FYI, these prices go into effect in some cases on Thursday (Wal-Mart has it's stores open for 24 hours starting ON Thanksgiving) so be sure to check on line, etc., and I will try my best to give you a heads up on store hours via Twitter. Black Friday 2009! Let's go! (prices aggregated via www.blackfriday.become.com)
BEST BUY: Dynex 19" 720p LCD HDTV (Model # DX-L19-10A) - $149.99 Dynex 32" 720p LCD HDTV (Model # DX-L321-10A) - $299.99 * Dynex 40" 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV (Model # DX-L40-10A) - $499.99 Insignia 42" 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV (Model # NS-L42Q120-10A) - $699.99 * LG 32" 1080p LCD HDTV (Model # 32LH30-UA) - $439.99 Panasonic Viera 50" 1080p Plasma HDTV (Model # TC-P50U1) w/Blu-ray Disc Player (Model # DMP-BD60K) - $999.98 Samsung 32" 1080p LCD HDTV (Model # LN32B530P7F) - $497.99 Samsung 32" 720p LCD HDTV (Model # LN32B360C5D) - $397.99 Samsung 40" 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV (Model # LN40B500P3FXZA) - $597.99 Samsung 42" 720p Plasma HDTV (Model # PN42B400P3DXZA) - $547.99 Samsung 46" 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV (Model # UN4686000VF) - $1599.99 * Samsung 46" 1080p LCD HDTV (LN46B500P3FXZA) - $847.99 Samsung 50" 1080p Plasma HDTV (Model # PN50B530S2F) - $897.99 Samsung 50" 720p Plasma HDTV (Model # PN50B430P2D) - $697.99 Sony 32" 720p 60Hz LCD HDTV (Model # KDL32L504) - $377.99 Sony 40" 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV (Model # KDL40S504) - $662.99 Sony 46" 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV (Model # KDL465504) - $852.99
Sharp 42" 1080p LCD HDTV A2863297 - $599.00 Vizio 55" LCD HDTV With Blu-Ray Player Bundle Sony BRAVIA 40" LCD HDTV A2543748
K-MART Element 26" LCD HDTV (Model # 26LE30Q) - $249.99 Panasonic 42" 720p Plasma HDTV (Model # TC-P42C1) - $549.99 Sony Bravia L Series 32" Class 720p LCD HDTV (Model # KDL32L504) - $379.99 *
KOHL'S 19" LCD HDTV w/Built-in DVD Player - $199.99 * Digital Labs 7 Inch Portable LCD TV - $69.99 *
MEIJER: Sylvania 19" Class LCD HDTV - $129.99 * Sylvania 42" 1080p LCD HDTV - $499.99 *
OFFICE DEPOT: Digital Prism 7" Portable LCD TV ATSC710 - $84.99 Samsung 19" Widescreen LCD HDTV 933HD - $199.99 Samsung 23" Widescreen LCD HDTV 2333HD - $249.99 Samsung 26" Widescreen LCD HDTV T260HD - $299.99
RADIO SHACK: AOC 22" 720P LCD HDTV - $199.99 Auvio 3.5" Pocket Digital TV - $79.99 Auvio 7" Portable TV - $119.99 Samsung 32" LCD HDTV - $399.99
SEARS: AOC 32" Full HD LCD TV - $379.99 Audiovox Under Cabinet Kitchen 7" LCD DVD Clock Radio - $179.99 Eviant 7" Hand Held TV - $89.99 LG 55" LCD HDTV (Model 55LH40) - $1499.99 Panasonic 42" Class Plasma HDTV - $649.99 -Doorbuster! Panasonic 54" Plasma HDTV (Model #TC-P54G10) - $1499.99 Proscan 40" Class LCD HDTV (Model #40LC45Q) - $539.99 -Doorbuster! Samsung 22" Class LCD HDTV (Model #LN22B350) - $249.99 -Doorbuster! Samsung 40" Class 1080p LCD HDTV (Model #LN40B500) - $599.99 -Doorbuster! Samsung 40" LED HDTV UN40B6000 - $1399.99 Samsung 42" Plasma HDTV PN42B400 - $549.99 Samsung 46" 1080P Class LCD HDTV (Model LN46B500) - $899.99 -Doorbuster! Samsung 46" Class LCD HDTV (Model LN46B650) - $1309.99 -Doorbuster! Samsung 46" LED HDTV (Model UN46B6000) - $1599.99 Samsung 50" Class Plasma HDTV (Model PN50B430) - $699.99 -Doorbuster! Samsung 50" Plasma HDTV (Model PN50B530) - $899.99 Samsung 52" LN52B530 LCD HDTV - $1299.99 Samsung 55" LED HDTV (Model UN55B6000) - $2469.99 Sharp 19" Class LCD HDTV (Model LC19SB27UT) - $179.99 -Doorbuster! Sony 32" Class LCD HDTV (Model KDL-32L504) - $379.99 -Doorbuster! Sony 40" Class LCD HDTV (Model KDL40S504) - $664.99 -Doorbuster! Sony 46" Class LCD HDTV (Model KDL-46S504) - $854.99 -Doorbuster! Sony 46" LCD HDTV (Model KDL46V5100) - $1239.99 Sony 52" LCD HDTV (Model KDL52V5100) - $1599.99 Toshiba 40" 1080P Class LCD HDTV (Model 40RV525U/R) - $589.99 -Doorbuster! VIZIO 32" ECO HDTV (Model VO320E) - $349.99 Zenith 42" Class Plasma HDTV (Model #Z42PO2) - $499.99 -Doorbuster!
STAPLES: Samsung 23" 2333HD TV/Monitor Combo - $249.98
TARGET: Apex 40" Full HD LCD TV - $449.00 * Haier 7 Inch Portable Digital TV - $79.99 Westinghouse 32" LCD HDTV - $246.00
WALMART: Emerson 32" LC320EMFX LCD 720P HDTV - $248.00 * Emerson 42" PL-P42W-10A Plasma 720P HDTV - $448.00 * Flat-Panel TV Stand - $89.00 Philips Large Fixed TV Mount - $69.00 RCA 46" L46FHD37R LCD 1080p HDTV (Online Only) - $688.00 Samsung 32" LN32B360 LCD 720P HDTV (Saturday) - $398.00 Samsung 40" LN40B500 LCD 1080P HDTV (Saturday) - $598.00 Samsung 42" PN42B400 Plasma 720P HDTV (Saturday) - $548.00 Samsung 46" LN46B500 LCD 1080P HDTV (Saturday) - $848.00 Samsung 50" PN50B400 Plasma 720P HDTV (Saturday) - $698.00 Sansui 19" HDLCD1909 LCD HDTV - $128.00 Sanyo 50" DP50719 Plasma HDTV - $598.00 Sony Bravia 32" KDL32L504 LCD 720P HDTV - $378.00 Sony Bravia 40" KDL40S504 LCD 1080P HDTV - $598.00 Sony Bravia 46" KDL46S504 LCD 1080P HDTV - $798.00 *