The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in Seattle Tech (1)

Thursday
Feb022017

Why I Am All In With Best Buy (And You Should Be, Too.)

As the most senior leader at Best Buy’s Seattle Technology Development Center, I - and my team - have interviewed and hired more than 60 full time employees and contract workers over the past 12 months.

As someone who is proud to have previously worked at Apple during the Steve Jobs era, led the launch of the first Android phone with Andy Rubin’s Google team at T-Mobile, and delivered digital innovations to fans of Discovery Networks, I am frequently asked in interviews why I would choose to work at Best Buy, a 50 year old brick and mortar retailer many analysts predicted would be dead by now.

During more than a few interviews with candidates I have heard, “I’ve seen your profile on LinkedIn. Why are you here?” All of the talented folks we have hired in the last two years have asked themselves at some point, “Why would I want to work at Best Buy?”

It‘s easy for me to answer, and if you are approached to consider an opportunity with us, I ask you to consider the following:

1)   Brick and mortar stores are definitely not dead. In fact, Warby Parker has now opened more than 20 locations in the US and Canada. Amazon has opened three stores and announced five more locations. Blue Nile has opened its first five mall stores. That is because the physical world gives us a chance to touch, hear, see and experience a product, as well as talk to an expert. When you seamlessly marry the physical world with the capabilities of a consumer smartphone, magic happens. And pure play e-tailers now understand this, too. At Best Buy, our stores play a large role in our e-commerce growth as about half of our online orders are either picked up by a customer in a store or shipped directly from a store to a customer’s home or office.

2)   Best Buy’s renewal is a turnaround success story. The stock market had been rewarding the decisions made by our CEO, Hubert Joly, before I started back in 2015. Shortly after Hubert was hired in fall of 2012, the stock price was less than $12. By December 2016, the stock reached $49. The company has consistently beat Wall Street expectations for profit, has gained market share and our customer experience scores have improved. The results of the turnaround have been consistent, credible and foundational to fuel our growth opportunities in the coming years.

3)   Change is part of Best Buy’s DNA. Change in technology is certain - competitors, vendors and innovators can disrupt the status quo at any time. A core Best Buy value, “learn from challenge and change”, has proven foundational to its successful turnaround because it empowers everyone in the company to allocate their time, attention and creative capital to the transformation agenda.

4)   The agent of change is digital. Best Buy opened the Seattle Technology Development Center to hire thought leaders who can lead the digital transformation of the omnichannel experience for the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer, and amplify work already underway in the development center at corporate headquarters in Minneapolis.  Since that time the company has seen great growth. After seeing online sales in Q3 increase by 24 percent, Barclays analyst Matt McClintock told CNBC: "That's one of the best e-commerce growth rates for the entire retail industry. That actually says that Best Buy is relevant online, that Amazon potentially isn't as big of a threat as people think for Best Buy as maybe it is for a Target or a Wal-Mart."

5)   Our passion is technology. As the leading consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy has the imperative to deliver revolutionary customer experiences for fans of consumer electronics; so, who is more capable of ensuring that customers are able to effortlessly enjoy the technology that powers their everyday lives than those of us who love our gadgets, the Internet of Things and mobile?

The team that Best Buy now has driving the business forward at the Seattle Technology Development Center raises my game every day. There was no way that I could have known that would be true when I started, given the number of them I had yet to meet back then. But if asked today why I would choose Best Buy, the team of dedicated and creative technology professionals (and CE fans) we have assembled would definitely be at the top of my list. See for yourself:

Best Buy's Seattle Tech Center from Yellow Tag Productions on Vimeo.