Best Buy Sending ‘Agents’ Into Target Stores

Discussion
Aug 10, 2012
George Anderson

Best Buy sells consumer electronics and so does Target. That would make the two companies competitors, right? Maybe yes and maybe no, depending on whom you ask and when.

It was just over two years ago that we ran a report on this site on how Target, among others, was upping its game with the intention of grabbing share of the consumer electronics market. Heck, the headline read: "Target, Wal-Mart Say ‘Best Buys’ Are at Their Stores."

So, how is it that we now come across a report by The Denver Post that Target is bringing Geek Squad "agents" into its 28 stores in the Denver market?

"What we are looking to do is to really include all of the services that a typical guest could get at any Geek Squad in a Best Buy store," Scott Nygaard, Target’s vice president of electronics, told the Post. "These will be Geek Squad employees that are Geek Squad-trained and have all the same expertise."

Huh?

Okay, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, Target has worked with others that could be considered competitors. RadioShack began managing Target Mobile Centers across the country back in 2010. More recently Target made news when it was revealed the chain was testing Apple Stores within 25 of its stores.

But what about Best Buy? Wasn’t it just last month when management was making a big deal about its Connected concept and the central role that the Geek Squad was going to play in setting it apart from other retailers in the consumer electronics space? Did it mean others in the space with Target as the exception?

Discussion Questions: Does the Target and Geek Squad deal make sense to you? Which retailer, Best Buy or Target, do you think will benefit most should this deal be rolled out nationwide?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

25 Comments on "Best Buy Sending ‘Agents’ Into Target Stores"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Frank Riso
Guest
8 years 2 months ago

Sure it makes sense. Best Buy gets additional revenue and Target customers get a well known brand of service and support. Nothing different here than technology companies that license their technology to their competitors. It’s a win win for both retailers.

Max Goldberg
Guest
8 years 2 months ago

I get what’s in it for Target, but don’t understand what Best Best hopes to gain. Why would Best Buy cede a distinguishing brand asset to a competitor? It makes no sense. The Geek Squad is an essential point of differentiation between BB and the big box mass merchants. Big mistake on the part of BB, one which could, if rolled out nationwide, significantly hurt their brand.

David Livingston
Guest
8 years 2 months ago

Both of these Minneapolis companies are looking for a win-win solution. When I worked for a couple of grocer wholesalers, we often did real estate consulting for our competitors, for a fee, but only if it was a win win for both of us. Starbucks is in a lot of Safeway and Target stores, ooooh doesn’t that hurt the chain’s coffee sales? Probably makes up for it by bringing in more people. Who knows, maybe this is the beginning of a long-term relationship that will end in marriage.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
8 years 2 months ago

To be honest the, “Can I please borrow a cup of brand,” approach rarely makes sense to me. If Target wanted a Geek Squad-like service they should have created their own.

At best the importation of Geek Squad agents is an homage to Best Buy’s service superiority. At worst the sometimes not-so-pleasant feelings some people have after a Geek Squad experience will be transferred over to Target.

I assume Best Buy comes out ahead on the deal — but not by much since any gains have to be divided by the effect of deleting a proprietary offering.

Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
8 years 2 months ago

Makes sense to me if I’m Target, with a minor name and weaker price position in the market. If I’m Best Buy, don’t know what they are thinking except that it would only be worse if they teamed with Walmart.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
8 years 2 months ago

Best Buy is a company at sea. It’s starting to remind me of Blockbuster a couple of years ago. Trolling around for revenue and expense reductions without much of a discernible strategy.

I can see why the founder wants to buy it back.

This is a good deal for Target. For Best Buy, not so much.

Charles P. Walsh
Guest
Charles P. Walsh
8 years 2 months ago

Difficult to say what the benefits are for each without knowing “the rest of the story.”

Is it possible that Target has determined that the best way to grow its consumer electronics is to effectively “lease” this area to Best Buy whose technical, sourcing and buying ability exceeds their own?

Best Buy could effectively make recommendations on the most effective mix given space and customer demographics for Target and with its superior supplier base and technical ability, supply and staff the area to improve sales against competitors like Walmart.

While this is pure speculation on my part, in this dynamic retail environment where you’re competing with brick and mortar, Amazon, Groupon and every other old and new format; if you’re sitting still you’re dead.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
8 years 2 months ago

Seems like a win/semi win situation. Target will certainly be the big winner with this. They are promoting the same product probably for less money and giving the customer the benefit of better service. What’s in it for Best Buy, more revenue? What else can it be? This is not going to drive business to Best Buy.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
8 years 2 months ago
Blurring brands will be a problem for Best Buy. Right now the Geek Squad is associated with Best Buy because that is the only retailer through which they can be accessed. Other than the location there is nothing that associates the black and white Geek Squad employees with the “blue shirts.” As a result the Geek Squad could just as easily become associated with Target as Best Buy or as its own company that works with both Best Buy and Target. If Best Buy wants to make the Geek Squad a separate brand and source of revenue, this can work for them. If Best Buy wants to use this strategy as a way to strengthen the Best Buy brand, it will not work. It should work for Target in terms of providing a service that will benefit their consumers. Target is becoming a store that knows how to find and provide services but those services are necessarily their own. It does help their reputation as a service provider, but not as a brand creating the… Read more »
Steve Montgomery
Guest
8 years 2 months ago

This deal doesn’t make sense from Best Buy’s point of view. They have a unique, widely recognized service that is available only at BB’s locations and then decide to allow Target to utilize it to help Target sell more products?

If the test is successful, will Best Buy roll this out to more Target locations and further erode their competitive edge? If it is not successful from Best Buy’s point of view, but is from Target’s, do they expect Target will just forget what they learned from the test? I would expect that if Target views this as successful then they will find a way to offer similar services to their customers perhaps using the same employees that have worked in their stores for the past six months.