How did Best Buy upgrade its stores to trick people into buying more product?

“Best Buy has spent heavily on store layout upgrades to encourage more spending”

So what exactly did Best Buy do in order to trick its customers into spending more money, especially considering it appeared to spend $600 million dollars to do so?

Is there some secret, high-cost display trick that only retailers know?

I don’t have a factual answer, but I do have ideas.

A lot of it can be as simple as product placement. I noticed a few years ago that Best Buy had started putting some DVDs over in the DVD player department. This is the equivalent of putting dip near the chips in a grocery store: hey, if you’re looking for one, you might be more easily persuaded to consider the other as an add-on. Scale that up a bit to put the high-end speaker wire right next to the speakers, the expensive surge protectors next to the TVs, and you can up-sell folks pretty quick.

Check out this book if you want to know how layout changes buyer behavior:

This isn’t a cite or anything, but I noticed in the last several months that various Best Buy locations had changed their layout. Merchandise was moved to a slightly different area. More shelves in the big middle section of the store (typically the CD/DVD/software/phones/cameras section) were positioned on angles such that you wouldn’t get smooth, straight lines through that section. They were staggered so when you came to the end of a line of shelves, you’d “jog” one way or the other to go to a different set. Also, little tables of merchandise were set up in the “aisles” between sets of shelves. This way if you moved down an aisle, when you came out you’d be presented with an endcap displaying some merchandise and have to move left or right to get to another aisle if you were still trying to cut across the section and get out, or you’d find yourself in front of a table with various specials and featured merchandise on it, and have to go around it to get out.

These all seemed to slow down movement through the store, to make you look around to find where the section you were looking for had been moved to, and to set you up so that you were looking at new/featured merchandise when you exited an aisle.

They also have baskets and shopping carts pre-loaded with packages… laptop, wireless mouse, power supply, printer, pack of paper, spare ink cartridge, anti-virus… you might be there just to buy the laptop, but you see the rest of the stuff in the basket and think “hey, I need that stuff anyway…”

I noticed the changes last time I was at Best Buy. But what I noticed more was how long it took to check out. The poor sap in front of me had three or four items and the sales drone had to make the ‘extended warranty’ pitch for each and every one. A simple ‘no’ didn’t seem to satisfy the sales droid, several were required. When it came to my turn, I added quite a bit of growl to my ‘no’.

I’ve never tried this, but I have read in “frugal shopper” columns that a good way to reduce your grocery bill is to move through the store backwards…not facing backwards… but start your trek at the point where the store designers are expecting you to finish and end up at their starting point.

Sounds like a good way to wind up with some half-thawed frozen foods to me. :slight_smile:

I did a “cattle call” job interview at Macy’s a couple of years ago and one of the items expected of a sales clerk was to push a Macy’s credit card. 3 refusals were required by management.

They implemented the “racetrack” store design (see also, Target for an example of the racetrack layout) The racetrack consists of a single, extra-wide and well marked aisle that takes you from department to department, usually by means of a track more towards the perimeter of the store than the center. Inside departments, aisles are normally wide – you exit the racetrack to browse “locally” and get back on it to go to the registers as fast as possible. the idea is to speed you to the department you are interested in, then hold you in the "local zone of interest " there as long as possible – not, as it used to be, “trap” you in the store trying to figure out how to get to Home Audio as you got more and more annoyed.

For stores whose layout makes the racetrack impossible, (like the strangely triangular Best Buy ion 23rd st & 6th in NYC) they still use a “mainstreet” layout with particular, wider aisles intended to take you quickly between departments.

Alot of places have the “Ask 3 times rule”. I understand the clerk doesn’t have choice, but I hate it. :mad: It’s incredibly rude. I meet the 1st with a polite “No thank you,” the 2nd with an annoyed “I said no,” and the 3rd with “Please get a manager”. I’ll then complain to the manager and leave without buying anything.

That’s not what the article said. What it said is that the savings of $600 million is projected to come from canceling those store reconfigurations, plus canceling new store openings and reducing the Administrative expense growth. 7% of $120 M is $8.4 M. How much came from new store openings is not stated.

At my local Best Buy they built a maze around the cash registers so you have to go through a couple of aisles of doo-dads before you reach a register. This includes gift cards, batteries, and a lot of crap that you would more likely find in a drugstore, like candy.

I understand the reason behind these, but God, you can buy beef jerky at Best Buy, gum at Home Depot, and soda at Pep Boys. Where will end, hot dogs at your dry cleaners?

More like ketchup. They have to drum up business somehow . . .

Years ago, my roommate was buying an Xbox at Best Buy and the cashier went through the extended warranty pitch to him. He had to refuse three times, getting angrier and angrier each time. Then a manager that was observing nearby stepped in and continued to try to sell him the extended warranty. Finally, my roommate–normally a very polite guy but also pretty intimidating in size and not afraid of speaking his mind–exploded with, “LOOK, I’VE TOLD YOU FIVE FUCKING TIMES ALREADY THAT I DON’T WANT THE GODDAMN WARRANTY!” He said it got real quiet for a moment and the cashier apologized. And a couple of dudes behind him in line applauded.