The classic car dealer cliché of "They don't walk on the lot if they are not here to buy" is still relevant today in the world of consumer electronics, especially for Best Buy. The company is successfully doing the hard part of the sales process, which is creating the consumer demand as the stores sell the must-have items that consumers want and are even willing to freak out over, as proven by this 2011 Black Friday melee in a Porter Ranch, California Wal-Mart
. But without closers who can share in the good fortunes (meaning profits) of the store when it's packed, Best Buy is literally walking people out the front door. The company can match Amazon's prices all it wants, but for years, Best Buy has trained consumers that it wouldn't match prices from online stores. Moreover, retailers like Apple stores don't have to match prices with online stores because their highly-trained and even cult-like employees believe in their product like a religion. They are trained well and motivated even better. They are backed up by tech geniuses, educational classes and so much more. Even without commissions for its salespeople, Apple has found a way to be the highest-grossing retail store per square foot, beating uber-jeweler Tiffany's, according to a report in USA Today
I am not suggesting that Best Buy could somehow build the zealous following that Apple has, or the high-end appeal that Tiffany's has. What I am saying is that, if the company wants to survive long-term, it needs to understand that its success on Wall Street comes from showing the people who work for it on Main Street that there is a way to make some real money working at a Best Buy. Years ago, when in college, I made close to $100,000 per year working 20 hours per week in an audiophile boutique, purely on commission. I didn't have floor traffic like Best Buy does, but for 25 cents of every profit dollar, I found a way to put up big numbers to fund what was at the time a pretty nice lifestyle for a college kid. Show the clerks at Best Buy how to become salespeople with real upside and showrooming will not be a problem. Counting up all of the money at the end of the day will be the issue, and that's a good problem to have.
More about Best Buy: